We Are All Treaty People

OTC forms Elders Council for policy and protection of Treaty Oral Histories

  • Published - 07/10/2022
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  • Posted By - OTC
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Using funds from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) the Office of the Treaty Commissioner created an Elders Council to promote and protect Treaty oral histories. The OTC has a large collection of recorded Treaty oral histories currently undergoing a process of digitization to ensure their preservation. Once digitized, the Elders Council will review which oral histories can be shared with a larger audience.

Most of the Treaty oral histories in our collection were recorded to be shared, but some contain information on ceremonies or family histories. Many of these will have restrictions on viewing, but the restrictions will be defined by the Elders Council. The Elders Council (in collaboration with the Treaty Commissioner) will also define their role with the OTC toward implementing the spirit and intent of Treaties Four, Five, Six, Eight and Ten.

The OTC Elders council was selected by Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson and includes 14 Elders and two youth members from all five Treaty Areas in Saskatchewan. The Elders Council meets 4 times a year with the first meeting held at Wanuskewin Heritage Park on Sept. 29.

Although newly added to the Council, many these Elders have long standing relationships with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner.

Elder Jacob Bill advised the Treaty Table in the 1990s and 2000s and contributed to the Treaty Elders of Saskatchewan book: Our Dream That We May One Day Be Clearly Recognized as Nations.

“I am happy to share my teachings, but I am also happy to take the teachings from these Elders back to my home community*” he said, emphasizing that by coming together, Elders also return to their home Indigenous Nations to share knowledge and teachings. 

“When you take a single blade of sweetgrass and pull from each end, it breaks. But if you braid sweetgrass it cannot be broken.” Elder Wapass Greyeyes said at the end of the first meeting. She said she was happy that Elders from all the Treaty areas are coming together to make Treaties stronger.

*Elder Jacob Bill’s statement was translated from Cree by Elder A. J. Felix, for which the Office of the Treaty Commissioner is grateful.