Treaty Recognition Week in Ontario

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In July of 1764 near what the Anishinabek called “the crooked place” – Niagara Falls – Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British North America, met with some 2500 Chiefs and headmen to create an alliance that would be key to they creation of Canada. – illustration by Charles Hebert
In July of 1764 near what the Anishinabek called “the crooked place” – Niagara Falls – Sir William Johnson, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British North America, met with some 2500 Chiefs and headmen to create an alliance that would be key to they creation of Canada. – illustration by Charles Hebert

Thunder Bay – NEWS – Thunder Bay is situated on the traditional lands of the people of what is now Fort William First Nation. This is covered under the Robertson Superior Treaty of 1850. Treaty #3 and Treaty #9 and Treaty #5 are all parts of the Treaties in our region of Ontario.

All of our region, covered under a number of treaties is on the traditional lands of Indigenous people.

This week is Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario.

The treaties with Indigenous peoples are likely more misunderstood than they are understood in Canada.

Did you know that there are still many outstanding land claims in our region, many which date back decades? Lands which were wrongfully taken and for which compensation is now required.

We also have First Nation communities in Canada, and in Ontario on unceded lands. The Parliament in Ottawa is on Unceded Lands of the Algonquin peoples.

Whitesand First Nation is on unceded lands too.

Ontario is not alone in this. In British Columbia if all the land claims are added up they total more than the total land area of the province.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation on Treaty Recognition Week

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) encourages people to learn more about Treaties during Treaties Awareness Week (Nov. 1-5) with the launch of a Treaty educational video and visual display at Lakehead University.

“Canada became a nation because Treaties were signed between First Nations Peoples and the Crown. Our ancestors entered into Treaty with the understanding that both sides would benefit. This has not happened, and people need to be educated about the true history of this country,” said Grand Chief Derek Fox. “Our Treaties are sacred documents that shape our relationship with our federal and provincial Treaty partners. Canada and Ontario have an obligation to honour our Treaties and live up to their commitments to our people. There is a lot of work to do in this country before true reconciliation can be achieved, and our Treaties must be our guide.”

Narrated by award-winning Anishinaabe journalist and speaker Tanya Talaga, the video walks the viewer through the NAN Education Department’s large-scale interactive display developed this year to educate the public about Treaty relationships and to dispel commonly held myths about Indigenous Peoples.

“This project was developed to address racism experienced by students attending school in Thunder Bay. There are many false and derogatory statements that promote racism against our people, and our goal is to promote understanding and encourage conversations in a respectful way,” said Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse. “We are encouraged with the positive reception this display has had at events around the community, and we hope this creates awareness about the harsh realities faced by our people. Chi-miigwetch to Lakehead University for displaying these panels and helping us begin these conversations.”

This community-building project was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education as part of recommendations identified through the 2016 Seven Youth Inquest to address racism experienced by students attending school in Thunder Bay. The display consists of 16 panels covering approximately 1,500 square feet.

In 1905, as Canada was expanding, the Crown came to Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory to enter into Treaty. Treaty No. 9 (The James Bay Treaty) was agreed to by the Ojibway (Anishinaabe), Cree (Omushkegowuk) and other Indigenous Nations and the Crown (now represented by the Government of Canada).

First entered into in 1905-1906, Treaty No. 9 covers the watersheds of James Bay and Hudson Bay, about two thirds of the landmass of the Province of Ontario. Treaty No. 9 established the nationhood of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. It is the only Treaty in Ontario signed by both Canada and Ontario.

Treaty No. 5 was signed in 1875, and an adhesion was signed in 1910 to include several NAN First Nations near the Manitoba border.

The video, panel display page-turner, and historical information on Treaty No. 9 and Treaty No. 5 are available at https://www.nan.ca/treaties/