SAGKEENG FIRST NATION – On May 6 and 7, 2013, individuals from the Anishnaabe, Siksi kai’ tsi tapi (Blackfoot), Nehiyaw (Cree), Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Nisga’a, and Mi’kmaw Nations, and from a number of Indigenous educational institutions, gathered inside the Turtle Lodge in Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba, for discussion and ceremony to make a sacred promise to each other in the presence of the Creator.
Turtle Lodge Treaty Re-Establishment of Relationships
In a profoundly historic event, the relationship of Treaty amongst our own peoples and Nations was re-established.
Our ancestors practiced the purest form of democracy, one in which every individual had the opportunity to express themselves, women, men and children.
The Turtle Lodge Treaty: “Our Way of Life” (Indigenous Education) was signed, as an expression of Indigenous jurisdiction over education, by sovereign individuals – women, men, youth, and leadership – from a number of Indigenous Nations.
“Our Indigenous Knowledge is based on our spiritual connection to Creator, the relationship to the land we inherit and how we survive within our ecosystems: medicines, plants, animals, land, sky, water, and all of Creation,” states the Treaty.
The Turtle Lodge Treaty was named at the request of the Elders, to acknowledge the host Lodge of the gathering. The Turtle Lodge is also situated near the recognized geographic centre of the continent of North America, very close to the sacred site of Manitou Api, “Where the Creator Sits”.
It was agreed that the Treaty be shared with all the people, to give everyone the opportunity to sign their name either as
a) sovereign individuals,
b) as representatives of Indigenous educational institutions, or
c) as representatives of Nations.
The Turtle Lodge Treaty was made a living document through spiritual ceremony. Pipe ceremonies and water ceremonies were conducted, and special songs were sung on the sacred drums by women and men, to carry the message of the Treaty around the world. The Treaty document was placed in the water at the mouth of Lake Winnipeg, where the river water systems all the way from the west coast, the south and the east, converge into the Winnipeg River at Sagkeeng First Nation. Sagkeeng means “mouth of the river.” From there the waters flow into Lake Winnipeg, which in turn pours into the Hudson Bay and the major Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Ocean systems.
A gift of a carved stone bear was presented to the Turtle Lodge to acknowledge the Lodge’s role in hosting the gathering.
The Turtle Lodge Treaty will be shared shortly with everyone, to give all an opportunity to offer their commitment and support to the spirit of its principles.