We Are All Treaty People

Statement from the OTC for the commemoration of the signing of Treaty 6

  • Published - 25/08/2023
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  • Posted By - OTC
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August 25, 28 and Sept. 9 are incredibly important to all people who are living and doing business in the lands of Treaty No. 6. These dates mark the days the articles of Treaty were negotiated. First near Fort Carlton in August, the Treaty was agreed to on Aug. 25, three days later on Aug. 28 near the location of Titanic in the Rural Municipality of Duck Lake, the Willow Cree agreed to the Treaty. Lieutenant Governor Morris and the Commissioners then moved on to Fort Pitt on Sept. 9 to negotiate with the First Nations who congregated there to await their arrival.

When Treaty 6 was agreed to, First Nations communities did so with the belief that the promises and relationship they entered into would be followed. They sealed these Treaties with a sacred covenant, the pipe, and made them with the Crown, creator, and each other. This is the Spirit and Intent. In exchange to share the land with settlers, there would be education, health care, and agricultural benefits, free from having to fight the Crown’s wars or pay the Crown’s bills. Exemption from conscription and drafts and Treaty annuity payments.

However, in the following years we have seen breaches of that Spirit and Intent, including the implementation of Indian Act, the restriction of movement and reserve creations that robbed the indigenous nations off their freedom to make a living off the land.

We have seen racism in health care that has led to the death of Indigenous peoples as assumptions and stereotyping have created an environment where people are ignored.  Another of the horrific breaches in place of education was the implementation of the residential school system, where children would be ripped away from their families. The legacy of this has led to generations of people being impacted by trauma and its effects. Indigenous people survived the 60’s scoop, medical sterilization of women, as well as medical and nutritional experiments. Instead of the promises being upheld, death, abuse, removal from your own people, and genocide has been delivered instead.

Treaty No 6 was unique to the other Treaty negotiations in that they negotiated the Medicine Chest clause, relief in times of famine and pestilence. LG Morris had no authority from the Crown to agree to the famine and pestilence provisions. He wrote back to Ottawa that the Treaty would not have happened if he did not agree to these provisions. He was shortly terminated as LG and in November of 1876 David Laird took his place and moved government house to what is now “The Ridge” in Battleford Sask.

Indigenous communities across Canada, and in Treaty 6, survived the suppression of culture, identity and language. 

These relationships that have been attempted to be ruined can be built back. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner has long worked on education and awareness initiatives and has created a roadmap that can help Treaty people come together – A Vision for Truth and Reconciliation Through Treaty Implementation.