We Are All Treaty People

OTC celebrates the repatriation of the Treaty medal to Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation

  • Published - 28/08/2020
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The Office of the Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan is thrilled to celebrate alongside Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation as Treaty 6 medals were presented to the community today.

“It was so important to be there today to see a Treaty medal returned home. These medals we presented today are opening the door towards reconciliation, and another small step towards seeing full Treaty implementation,” said Mary Culbertson, Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan.

Culbertson, and the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Russ Mirasty, presented the Treaty 6 medals at a ceremony at Chief Beardy’s Campsite, near St. Anne de Carlton, this afternoon.

The Treaty medals were taken from the communities in 1885 by Canada’s military commander at the time, Frederick Middleton, who accused the chiefs of violence, and threatened to burn the reserves if they didn’t comply. To ensure the survival of their people and protect them from harm the chiefs handed over the medals. The Cree Nations were labelled rebellion bands by the Canadian government and treaty annuity payments were discontinued for years.

In 2001 Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation argued that the Canadian government over-stated Cree participation in the resistance to eliminate the tribal governance system. On May 6, 2015 the Specific Claims Tribunal agreed that the Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation was not disloyal, and the Crown breached its lawful obligations by stopping the payments. The Government of Canada was required to pay $4.5 million to the Cree Nation, but the medals were not returned.

“Today’s ceremony giving back Treaty medals is a step towards righting the historical wrongs. Having a shared understanding Canada’s history, knowing these stories, is a vital part of the journey of reconciliation,” Culbertson said.

The Treaty 6 medals given to Beardy’s and Okemasis’ Cree Nation are re-orders of the original Treaty medals commissioned by the Crown in 1872. The medals are 72 mm in diameter, weigh about 312 grams and made of solid silver.

Coverage of the event by the Eagle Feather News here