Treaty Education

The purpose of teaching Treaty Education is so that everyone, but particularly settlers of this land, understand what it means to be part of the treaties between the First Nations, Metis and Inuit of Canada. To understand and see the benefits and privileges we have received by being treaty settlers. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Right to One’s Own Religion. As most of the settlers are of white, European descent, the most common spiritual practices were of Catholic and Protestant origin. Therefore, although the treaty was made that both the First Nation’s of Canada and the European Settlers could both worship their own beliefs freely and peacefully, the settlers benefited by this treaty. By looking at Residential School’s in particular, the purpose was to assimilate the First Nation’s students to believe in Catholicism, meaning that if the dominant belief has always been in favour.
  2. Right to Agriculture and Economic Activity. Although the treaty was in in agreement that settlers were able to engage in economic activity produced by the labour of their hands within the confines of their “own” land down to the depth of the plough.  However, treaty settlers have benefited by this by breaking the treaty and have entitled ourselves to free access natural resources that go beyond the depth of the play beyond our “own” land but of as much of the land in Canada as possible, despite the treaty agreement. This also meant that the dominant view of economy was favoured and put in place and still is.
  3. Right to Peace and Goodwill. Settlers have benefited by this treaty because the First Nations people of Canada were the only ones to keep their end of the agreement. The right to peace and goodwill meant for both settlers and the First Nations people of Canada to live together in harmony. However, the settlers forced the First Nation’s people onto reserves and only allowing “peace” of the First Nation’s people did whatever was told of them by the Crown. Settlers have “benefited” from this because our children were not forcibly taken from our homes, put into schools that were intentionally made to assimilate every part of their being to be like someone else’s.

It is important to give a voice to the First Nations people of this land, because we have taken away that voice. We need to share their story, because their story is also our story. We need to teach the history of the relationship between both groups of people so that relationship can grow. Tyler McCreary of Briarpatch Magazine stated it well when he said,

“It is this understanding of relatedness, of being lovingly adopted by the First Peoples of this land, that should be the most provocative enticement for settlers to follow the protocols of good relations. A better society is possible if we allow ourselves to use the treaties as a guide.”

Resources: https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/view/settler-treaty-rights/

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