We are all Treaty People

What does it mean when we say that we are all Treaty People?

This is a line that I hear very often when we talk about Treaties and what they actually mean. For me personally, Whenever I hear this I immediately think of the video by Horizon School Divison. This is an awesome introduction to the topic that can work for people of all ages. The myth-busting that they do in the video is very important for addressing many of the negative stereotypes that people have.

Now that I have got your attention lets get to the really hard-hitting questions…

Are we really all Treaty People?

I guess to answer this question it really depends on your perspective and what you mean when you say it.

As you can see from the map not all of Canada is technically treaty land. However, all of Saskatchewan is and that is what we are generally looking at when we discuss Treaties. So when we say we are all Treaty people it is by many peoples definition an oversimplification and an overgeneralization.

That being said for the purpose of discussing Treaties I think this overgeneralization is actually a good thing. While most parts of BC, eastern Canada and many parts of the Territories are technically not Treaty land, many are in the process of making modern Treaties.

So while not all of Canada is technically Treaty Land all of Canada was and still is colonized. I think when we say we are all Treaty people we actually mean that we all have a duty to share this land because the First Nation peoples were forced through many horrible ways to give up their land as of result of western exploration and subsequent colonialism. Depending on the age of your students that might be too in depth of a topic for them to grasp. So I think that is why we often refer back to saying that we are all Treaty People.

So, for now, I am very much okay with this oversimplification. I think as education on this topic increases we will be better able to explain this often complex topic.

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