We Are All Treaty People

Celebrating the work of Commissioner Mary R. Musqua-Culbertson

  • Published - 29/01/2024
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The Office of the Treaty Commissioner celebrates the work of Commissioner Mary R. Musqua-Culbertson as she completes her term as the first female Indigenous Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan.

Throughout her tenure, the Commissioner believed that the truth of Indigenous People in Canada must be honoured and cannot be ignored.

“We must understand the intergenerational impact and harms of residential schools and other breaches of Treaty. Our hearts must always be seeking compassionate understanding of what Indigenous people have had to and continue to endure,” Musqua-Culbertson said.

Her focus was on increasing the understanding of the Treaties, not just historically, but what it means today.

During her time in office, the Commissioner and OTC staff travelled to communities to meet with leaders, youth, and elders to shape the discussion on the spirit and intent of Treaty. We sat as part of Treaty and national gatherings, conferences, and ceremony.

The office celebrated the 30-year anniversary of OTC, with the unveiling of a new logo and a well-attended community round dance.

There were many new initiatives that were started over the past 5-year term, that were designed to further understanding on the Spirit and Intent of Treaty:

The Vision for Truth and Reconciliation through Treaty Implementation, shaped around four overlapping and continuous areas of work: a shared understanding of our history, vibrant cultures and worldviews, authentic relationships, and systems that benefit us all.

Office of the Treaty Commissioner Youth in Service project, which brought students from around the province together to learn from each other and work on reconciliation. This project included a cultural exchange trip to Fond-du-Lac.

Treaty Commissioner created the OTC Library & Archives to make sure the resources held by the office would be shared with the public. It has recently been renamed the Mary R. Musqua-Culbertson Library & Archives in her honour.

Treaty Learning Journey: Let’s Talk Truth, which took the popular Teaching Treaties in the Classroom and made it available to a wider audience beyond educators. This led to the creation of the first annual Treaty Learning Journey: Let’s Talk Truth Conference and to the first Treaties Recognition Week in Saskatchewan.

In partnership with the Province of Saskatchewan, the OTC started the process to mark Treaty boundaries. This includes signs in Indigenous languages erected on Highway 11 and 16 at the Treaty 4 and 6 boundary; Highway 39 at the Treaty 2 and 4 boundary and Highway 1 at the Treaty 2 and 4 boundary.

The development of a process to develop Reconciliation Action Plans, completing them for six organizations, including the Law Society of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Police Service.

The expansion of a network of Reconciliation Circles to 12 communities across the province – spaces where local Indigenous and non-Indigenous community leaders come together to learn, build relationships and act for truth, reconciliation and Treaty implementation.

A 20-foot Treaty timeline displaying key milestones of Treaty in the Treaty Territories that make up Saskatchewan.

Treaty Elders Council, which includes 10 Elders from all five Treaty areas in the province and overseas the Library and Archives oral history collection, advises the OTC Treaty Table process, and helps to set policy for research.

With Commissioner Musqua-Culbertson, the OTC celebrated the successes of women leaders for their honours and appointments and called attention to the need to implement the recommendations of the Final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. She spoke at the House of Commons in the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs and was a constant advocate for the acceptance and implementation of UNDRIP. We saw the Beardy’s Treaty Medal repatriation and the exoneration of Chief Poundmaker.

During her time as commissioner, Musqua-Culbertson was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for her service. She also ensured many other notable people were recognized for their work by nominating them for the award.

Even as she moves on to new opportunities, the OTC will continue to answer the Commissioners call that we all must support the work of Treaty education, Treaty rights, and Truth and Reconciliation through Treaty Implementation.

For all your work Commissioner, Migwec, Tiniki, Hiy Hiy.




*For a complete overview of the work of the OTC over the past six years please view our Year In Reviews here