We Are All Treaty People

Statement from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner

  • Published - 28/01/2021
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  • Posted By - OTC
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The Office of the Treaty Commissioner is heartbroken by the news of the deaths of strong leaders and knowledge keepers.

This week we lost a strong advocate for northern Saskatchewan Grand Chief Ron Michel. He served as chief of the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation and went on to serve as chief of the Prince Albert Grand Council for 12 years. He spent most of his life working for his communities in the north. Even after retirement from politics, he gave back becoming a senator for PAGC.

“I was fortunate enough to be able to have sat with him and listen to him on his thoughts about Treaty,” said Treaty Commissioner of Saskatchewan, Mary Culbertson. “He was always smiling when I’d see him.”

On Monday, FSIN Senator Theresa Stevenson passed. She is very well known for co-founding the long-running, inner-city hot lunch program in Regina, Chili for Children. Stevenson also was a long-time leader on the Saskatchewan First Nations Women Commission.

We also lost Chief Albert Scott was Saulteaux from Kinistin Saulteaux Nation. He was a leader, who was involved in teaching culture and language and keeping his traditions alive.  Through the years Chief Albert Scott lifted the Pipe for the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and he supported our work.

On Dec. 16, Elder Jacob (Jake) Pete of Little Pine First Nation passed. Throughout his career as an officer, Pete broke barriers in policing in Canada. When he retired, he contributed to the safety and vision of his community. He believed solutions could be found in Indigenous traditions.

Terry Atimoyoo ensured that the oral history around Big Bear continued living. He told the stories and helped in organizing the descendants of Big Bear Gatherings. The gatherings would feature and assembly area to encourage sharing stories.

We are in difficult times, and it is made worse when we cannot gather to support each other in person because of COVID-19. We aren’t able to do this, and it weighs heavy on everyone. But, do what you can, stay safe and keep your loved ones safe with physical distancing, wearing a mask and refraining from gatherings and unnecessary travel. One day we will all be together again if we keep safe now that time will be soon.

While we have lost our knowledge keepers, their teachings will go on. We will miss them.