We are all treaty people, and it is important that we understand the role and significance of treaties and our responsibility to these important agreements. Across Canada, treaty days offer opportunities for celebration, teaching and improving our understanding of treaties. In Ontario, this takes place during the week of November 1-5.
In preparation for this week, we have worked with educator Andrew McConnell (Anishinaabe/English, member of Nipissing First Nation) to publish a list of resources to support you with your learning and planning.
Be sure to review these important Pedagogical Considerations For Treaty Education from First Nations, Métis, & Inuit Education Association of Ontario.
- First Nations Relationship to the Land: Since time immemorial, First Nations have had an intricate, respectful, spiritually and physically dependent, grateful, and protective tie to the land. The nature of this tie is not so much one of ownership but one of stewardship.
As quoted from the article: “Traditional knowledge, languages, cultural practices and oral traditions built up over the millennia are all connected to the land. If that connection, that umbilical cord, is severed then the spiritual well-being of the affected First Nation is at stake.”
- Learn more about the Two Row Wampum, a living treaty between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy nations and settlers that represents living together peacefully, respectfully and in communication.
- Learn more about the 46 treaties that cover what is now the province of Ontario through this CBC article.
- Modern day treaties: Learn about current land claims that have been accepted for negotiation or are being researched and assessed, and settlement agreements that are being implemented in Ontario. These current land claims are a reminder that treaties are ongoing, adaptable and unique for each nation.
This map shows the largest land claim currently being negotiated and the province’s first modern-day treaty.
Learn about the Huron Robinson Treaty negotiations and case through Robinson Huron Treaty Litigation Fund and their litigation timeline. Canada has accepted the ruling while Ontario appeals. The Ontario government has more work to do to honour and respect treaties.
- Learn more about the Toronto Purchase with these resources via Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, The Canadian Encyclopedia and Toronto Public Library.
- Gakina Gidagwi'igoomin Anishinaabewiyang: We Are All Treaty People by Dr. Karine Duhamel focuses on the importance of understanding the spirit and intent of Treaties: "The intent of Treaties at the time of their negotiation was the protection and retention of rights to languages, ways of life, and existing belief systems. This undertaking is part of the original understanding of Treaty processes as ongoing relationships that are dynamic and adaptable."
Student-facing lesson: Explore the purpose & importance of territorial acknowledgements.
- Lesson idea: Learn about the treaties that cover where you live, go to school or work in Ontario using this interactive map and Native-Land.ca.
Student-facing lesson: Learn about The Dish With One Spoon Wampum and the role and significance of nation to nation agreement.
- Online Course: Many people think of treaty rights as “special” Indigenous rights however, all people living in Canada are treaty people with their own set of rights and responsibilities. Learn more about treaties through We Are All Treaty People.
Mini-activity: What is the role of an apology after harm and wrongdoing? Read this article on the Williams Treaties and the Government of Canada’s 2018 apology regarding the 1923 Williams Treaties. Have students consider: What can an apology accomplish as a means of moving toward justice and reconciliation? What else needs to happen?
Explore this Historica Canada educator guide that includes a timeline, images, activities and a case study for students to engage with.
- Hear Indigenous speakers share their knowledge about the importance of treaties, treaty relationships and rights in Ontario.
- K-8 educators: Use this interactive learning resource from Anishinabek Nation for students to better understand & discuss treaties, agreements and promises.
- Treaty 9: Learn more about the making of Treaty 9 from the perspective of historical witness George Spence, an 18-year-old Cree hunter from Albany, James Bay.
Learn more about how Idle No More resists unfair treaty terms and calls on all people to join a peaceful revolution to honour Indigenous sovereignty and to protect the land, water and sky.
We hope these resources help in your learning and planning. What resources are missing from this list? Share them in the comment section.