SIOUX LOOKOUT, TREATY 3 TERRITORY — Sol Mamakwa, NDP Deputy Leader and critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, issued the following statement marking this year’s Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario:
“As we come to the close of another Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario, I am calling on the provincial and federal governments to honour the treaties.
Treaties are binding, nation-to-nation agreements. They were signed so that the Crown could gain access to land and resources in exchange for meeting the needs of First Nations people: access to healthy food, education, health care, housing, and infrastructure. We were meant to share the resources with the Crown.
First Nations are still Nations. We never gave up our sovereignty or jurisdiction. As far as I can tell, our Nations have held up our end of the treaties. However, the provincial and federal governments have never honoured theirs.
There is no resource sharing and the little support that First Nations receive does not cover basic human needs. Far too many First Nation communities still do not have clean drinking water. The education and health care systems are sub-standard. Homes are overcrowded.
It is time for Ontario and Canada to honour the treaties. It is time to remember our commitments to one another. It is time to respect and honour our sovereignty. It is time to make a change.”