Transcript: Can Treaties Be a Tool of Reconciliation? | Nov 05, 2021

Nam Kiwanuka sits at the Agenda news desk. She wears a dark grey blazer over a purple blouse. A poppy is pinned to her lapel. Nam’s auburn hair is parted to one side. A monitor behind her shows a red lowercase ‘a’. Nam holds a pen between her fingers as she rests her hands on the desk. Papers, a cell phone, and a glass of water sit on the desk in front of her.

Text reads, “Can Treaties be a Tool of Reconciliation?”

Nam begins,
IN MANY ONTARIO
COMMUNITIES, IT IS WELL KNOWN
THAT THIS IS TREATIES
RECOGNITION WEEK.
BUT IT'S STILL A WORK IN
PROGRESS IN A NUMBER OF OTHERS.
WITH US NOW TO HELP EXPLAIN WHY
TREATIES ARE NOT JUST HISTORICAL
OR LEGAL DOCUMENTS BUT
POTENTIALLY PART OF WHAT'S
NEEDED FOR RECONCILIATION, LET'S
WELCOME, IN NORTH BAY,
JOURNALIST AND EDUCATOR MAURICE
SWITZER, A MEMBER OF THE
MISSISSAUGAS OF ALDERVILLE FIRST
NATION, WHO SERVES ON THE
RECONCILIATION ADVISORY
COMMITTEE OF THE ONTARIO HUMAN
RIGHTS COMMISSION.
AND IN ELMVALE, KELLY CRAWFORD,
A MEMBER OF THE CHI-GEENG FIRST
NATION, A TREATY EDUCATOR WITH
THE ANISHINABEK NATION AND
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF INDIGENOUS
INITIATIVES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
TORONTO.
IT'S VERY NICE TO MEET YOU BOTH.

Maurice replies, GOOD MORNING.

Kelly adds, MORNING.

Text reads, “Can Treaties be a Tool of Reconciliation? The Basics”

Nam says,
BEFORE WE START, I KNOW
THAT YOU BOTH WANT TO INTRODUCE
YOURSELVES IN YOUR LANGUAGE.
SO, MAURICE, WE'LL START WITH
YOU.

Text reads, “Maurice Switzer @swimau”

Maurice sits in front of a wall filled with indigenous artifacts and pieces of art. Large black earphones hang from Maurice’s ears. He wears a blue button-down shirt. The top button is undone. Maurice’s grey hair is combed back.

Maurice speaks in a non-English language.

Nam responds, AND KELLY?

(Dog barking)

Text reads, “Kelly Crawford”

Kelly sits in front of a large grey safe. She wears a bright pink shirt. Her shoulder-length dark hair is tied back. A strand curls over her cheek. Kelly wears earbuds. She reads.

Kelly speaks in a non-English language.

Kelly adds,
HELLO, EVERYONE, MY
NAME IS KELLY CRAWFORD.
I'M FROM MIXED HERITAGE.
I AM A MEMBER OF THE CHI-GEENG
FIRST NATION.

Nam replies,
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
DOING THAT BEFORE WE START
TALKING ABOUT TREATIES I WANTED
TO UNDERSTAND WHY IT WAS
IMPORTANT FOR YOU BOTH TO DO
THAT.
MAURICE?

Text reads, “Maurice Switzer, Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation”

Maurice states,
WELL, THE TREATIES
ARE ABOUT THE ORIGINAL
RELATIONSHIP THAT BEGAN WHEN
NEWCOMERS FIRST STARTED TO COME
TO CANADA.
AND OUR ANCESTORS COULDN'T SPEAK
ENGLISH.
THEY ENDED UP HAVING TO RELY ON
TRANSLATORS.
BUT OUR LANGUAGE HAS ALWAYS
BEEN, YOU KNOW, A CRITICAL
UNDERPINNING OF WHO WE ARE.
AND ACTUALLY MOST OF THE
HISTORIC TREATIES THAT HAVE BEEN
SIGNED IN CANADA COULD NOT BE
READ BY THE CHIEFS AND LEADERS
WHO SIGNED THEM BECAUSE THEY
COULD NOT SPEAK ENGLISH.
THEY COULD NOT WRITE ENGLISH.
AND THAT FACT HAS ACTUALLY LED
TO A LOT OF CONTROVERSY AND
COURT DECISIONS INVOLVING HOW
THE TREATIES WERE PRESENTED.

Nam responds,
AND KELLY, BOTH YOU AND
MAURICE ARE COMMITTED TO
TEACHING ONTARIANS ABOUT
TREATIES.
IF YOU COULD TAKE US THROUGH THE
BASICS, WHAT IS A TREATY?

Text reads, “Kelly Crawford, Anishinabek First Nation”

Kelly responds,
WELL, A TREATY IS A
LEGAL DOCUMENT.
AND I THINK THAT PART OF THE, I
GUESS, THE CHALLENGE IS THAT IN
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, THIS
WASN'T TAUGHT, RIGHT?
SO PEOPLE OFTEN LOOK AT IT LIKE
IT'S A THING OF THE PAST.
BUT THESE ARE LIVING DOCUMENTS.
THERE'S NO EXPIRATION DATE.
SO THIS IS AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN
TWO NATIONS THAT SET OUT THE
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES.
AND I THINK THAT WHEN WE'RE
LOOKING AT JUST HOW CANADA HAS
BECOME CANADA, THAT'S WHAT IT
IS. I MEAN THAT'S KIND OF -- IT
LAYS THAT OUT.
AND THE TREATY, THAT'S THE
AGREEMENT.
THE AGREEMENT TO SHARE THE LAND.
AND WHAT'S IN THAT DOCUMENT IS,
YOU KNOW, IT'S RECOGNIZED BY
INTERNATIONAL LAW.
AND PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND,
YOU KNOW, NOT ONLY WHAT TREATY
THEY LIVE ON BUT WHAT THEIR
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ARE.
BECAUSE WE'RE ALL TREATY PEOPLE
IS JUST WHAT THAT MEANS.
WE'RE ALL TREATY PEOPLE.

Nam asks,
AND WHAT ARE SOME OF
THOSE RESPONSIBILITIES THAT WE
ALL HAVE?

Kelly answers,
I THINK THAT
FUNDAMENTALLY, THOSE
RESPONSIBILITIES -- I MEAN IT'S
ABOUT SHARING THE LAND.
IT'S ABOUT TAKING CARE OF THE
LAND.
IT'S ABOUT HAVING THAT
CONNECTION WITH THE LAND THAT
YOU LIVE ON.
AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT HOW THE
TREATY PROCESS IS SORT OF SET
OUT, ESSENTIALLY, AGREEMENTS TO
SHARE THE LAND, BUT A LOT OF
THOSE WERE NOT HONOURED.
AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT WHERE WE
ARE AS INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, THAT
HAS RESULTED IN, YOU KNOW, WHEN
THERE HASN'T BEEN A SHARING OF
RESOURCES AND LAND, THAT'S WHERE
WE ARE.
SO WHEN YOU SEE THAT, YOU KNOW,
TRYING TO NOW RECTIFY THAT, THEN
YOU SEE THAT, YOU KNOW,
COMMUNITIES BEING ABLE TO BUILD
UP AGAIN AND I THINK THAT WHEN
WE LOOK AT DIFFERENT AREAS, YOU
KNOW, CERTAINLY DOING WORK IN
EDUCATION, WE HAVE, YOU KNOW,
THE AVERAGE PERSON -- STUDENT OR
NOT -- CAN TELL YOU THIS IS THE
CITY OR PROVINCE I LIVE IN.
THEY CAN'T TELL YOU THE
TRADITIONAL TERRITORY THEY LIVE
ON.
THEY CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT TREATY
AREA THEY'RE ON.
SO THERE IS VERY MUCH A FOCUS ON
THE EDUCATION SYSTEM.
YOU KNOW, WHEN IT FIRST STARTED,
THE REALITY IS THE EDUCATION
SYSTEM IS A TOOL OF COLONIALISM.
SO THERE IS A VERY SPECIFIC
REASON WHY PEOPLE DON'T KNOW
ABOUT TREATIES.
BUT THROUGH THE WORK OF MANY,
MANY PEOPLE, ONE OF WHICH IS
WITH US RIGHT NOW, MAURICE,
YOU'RE SEEING THAT SORT OF
CHANGE, RIGHT?
MY COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION
AROUND TREATIES IS MORE ABOUT
BRINGING THOSE VOICES AND THOSE
STORIES FOR STUDENTS AND
TEACHERS.
SO THAT THEY CAN KIND OF
UNDERSTAND, YOU KNOW, THE
LANDSCAPE OF NOT ONLY JUST
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN CANADA, BUT
THEIR RELATIONSHIP THAT EXISTS
AND WHY IT EXISTS.
AND WHY WE'RE WHERE WE'RE AT.

Nam replies,
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE
LACK OF EDUCATION.
BEFORE WE TAPED I SHARED WITH
YOU THAT I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT
TREATIES WEEK.
I KNOW THE TREATY THAT I'M ON
RIGHT NOW IS TREATY 13.
AND KELLY SAID SOMETHING,
MAURICE, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF
THOSE TREATIES WERE NOT
HONOURED.
IN WHAT WAYS WERE THEY NOT
HONOURED?

Text reads, “Can Treaties be a Tool of Reconciliation? Broken Promises”

Maurice states,
IT'S VERY IMPORTANT.
WE'RE HEADING INTO REMEMBRANCE
DAY, NAM.
I SEE A POPPY ON YOUR LAPEL.
AND THIS IS AN IDEAL TIME FOR
CANADIANS TO REALLY UNDERSTAND
THAT NOBODY HAS DEFENDED CANADA
IN GREATER NUMBERS
PROPORTIONATELY THAN INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES.
WE WERE CANADA'S DEFENCE FORCE
IN THE WAR OF 1812.
SCHOLARS AND HISTORIANS AGREE
THAT CANADA WOULD CERTAINLY NOT
EXIST IN ITS CURRENT FORM -- WE
MIGHT BE PART OF THE UNITED
STATES IF IT WASN'T FOR TEN
THOUSAND INDIGENOUS WARRIORS.
NOT ONLY DO MOST CANADIAN
STUDENTS I HAVE MET NOT ONLY ARE
THEY NOT TOO FAMILIAR WITH THE
FACT THAT THAT WAS THE ONLY WAR
EVER FOUGHT ON THEIR SOIL, BUT
THEY HAVE NEVER HEARD NAMES LIKE
NIKINAWATIK, MISQUITAKIK.
SHAWANDAS, OSHAWANU.
THESE ARE AMONG CANADA'S
GREATEST HISTORICAL FIGURES WHO
PLAYED AN INTEGRAL ROLE IN
PRESERVING CANADIAN IDENTITY.
BECAUSE THEY WERE DEFENDING
THEIR LANDS AND THEIR NAMES
AREN'T IN ANY TEXTBOOKS THAT
I'VE EVER SEEN.
SO IT'S A VERY PERTINENT TIME TO
EXAMINE THAT TREATY
RELATIONSHIP.
BECAUSE ONE OF THE REASONS THAT
THOSE PEOPLE DEFENDED THESE
LANDS WAS THAT THEY HAD MADE
TREATY TO BE ALLIES OF THE
BRITISH WHO WERE THE COLONIAL
POWER OF THE DAY.
AND SO IT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT
TIME.
AND THERE ARE MANY GAPS IN
CANADA'S EDUCATION ABOUT
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS, ABOUT
TREATIES, ABOUT INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES AND ISSUES IN GENERAL.
AND NOT JUST HISTORIC EXAMPLES.
BUT WE'RE CONTRIBUTING
CURRENTLY.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE CANADIAN
MEDICAL ASSOCIATION IS AN
INDIGENOUS MAN.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE CANADIAN
BAR ASSOCIATION IS AN INDIGENOUS
MAN.
WE ARE CONTRIBUTING IN EVERY
SPHERE OF LIFE IN THIS COUNTRY:
IN ARTS, IN SPORTS, IN POLITICS,
IN MEDICINE.
AND THE TREATIES, YOU KNOW, ARE
A WAY THAT PEOPLE CAN UNDERSTAND
THAT THAT RELATIONSHIP STARTED
OFF IN A POSITIVE WAY.
UNFORTUNATELY, EVERY SINGLE
TREATY -- HISTORIC TREATY HAS
BEEN VIOLATED.

Nam asks,
HOW DID THINGS GO SIDEWAYS?

Maurice responds,
WELL, MAYBE IT
SHOULD BE EXPECTED.
BUT THE RELATIONSHIP WAS
POSITIVE AS LONG AS THE
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OUTNUMBERED
THE NEWCOMERS.
AFTER THE WAR OF 1812, WHEN THE
BRITISH FELT COMFORTABLE IN
INCREASING EXPONENTIALLY THE
NUMBER OF SETTLERS THAT CAME
HERE, IT WASN'T LONG BEFORE THE
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES WERE OUT
NUMBERED AND WHEN THE SETTLERS
OUTNUMBERED THEIR INDIGENOUS
HOSTS WHO HAD TREATED THEM SO
KINDLY AND WELCOMED THEM HERE
AND SHARED WITH THEM, AS SOON AS
THE SETTLERS OUTNUMBERED THEIR
HOSTS, THEY STARTED TO IGNORE
THE TREATY PROMISES.
THEY STOPPED GETTING THE ANNUAL
TREATY MEETINGS.
THEY STOPPED THE GIFTS WHICH
THEY WEREN'T GIFTS THEY WERE
RENT.
YOU KNOW, THEY CONTINUALLY JUST
IGNORED.
AND PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN PROMISED
THAT THEY WOULD BE PROTECTED --
EVEN ON THEIR RESERVE LANDS FROM
SETTLER MOLESTATION WERE SHOT AT
WHEN THEY WENT OUT TO HUNT.
SO IT REALLY -- THAT WAS THE
BEGINNING -- THE END OF THE WAR
OF 1812 AND INCREASED
SETTLEMENT, THAT WAS REALLY
MARKED THE END OF THE RESPECTFUL
OBSERVATION OF THE PROMISES THAT
HAD BEEN MADE.

Nam responds,
KELLY, WERE THERE ANY
ATTEMPTS TO -- IN THE PAST -- TO
REMEDY THOSE WRONGS?

Kelly asks, IN THE PAST?

Nam nods.

She replies, MM-HMM.

Kelly adds,
DEFINE THE PAST.
BECAUSE I THINK WHAT MAURICE IS
MENTIONING ABOUT 1812 IT REALLY
MAKES ME THINK ABOUT, YOU KNOW,
FOLLOWING THE TREATY OF NIAGARA.
AND I THINK ABOUT, YOU KNOW,
ATTEMPTS TO -- I THINK AS YOU GO
THROUGH THAT HISTORICAL PIECE,
LIKE WHEN MAURICE WAS MENTIONING
IN 1812 AND YOU ARE SEEING THESE
DIFFERENT DATES IN RELATION TO
TREATY.
THEN YOU SEE CANADA BECOME
CANADA.
AND THEN WITHIN A COUPLE OF
YEARS YOU SEE THE INDIAN ACT
COME IN.
SO IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU MEAN
BY "PAST."
I COULD CERTAINLY SAY, YOU KNOW,
WITH LAND CLAIMS CURRENTLY,
STARTED THE PROCESS.
AND THE WAY OF TRYING TO RECTIFY
THINGS AND COMING OUT WITH
JURISDICTION AND MONEY TO PUT
INTO, YOU KNOW, DIFFERENT AREAS
THAT WE NEED TO FIX.
OKAY, I THINK YOU COULD, YOU
KNOW, ARGUE THAT PIECE.
BUT I THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE
HISTORIC PIECE -- AND I OFTEN
SHARE THIS STORY.
SO WHEN WE THINK ABOUT THE
TREATY OF NIAGARA -- SO I WENT
TO THE CELEBRATION, THE 250TH
CELEBRATION OF THE TREATY OF
NIAGARA.
AND I BELIEVE MAURICE WAS THERE,
TOO.
AND AT THAT CELEBRATION.
SO WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A
FUNDAMENTAL PIECE THAT ALLOWED
FOR PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT. AND
THERE WERE FIFTY-FIVE PEOPLE THERE.
MOST OF THEM WILL LEADERSHIP.
AND THERE WERE THREE CHILDREN
AND TWO OF THEM WERE MINE.
SO WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT THAT --
AND I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT THAT.
BECAUSE CANADA DAY, EVERYONE
CELEBRATES CANADA DAY.
EVERYONE KNOWS WHAT CANADA DAY
IS.
SO THIS FUNDAMENTAL PIECE THAT
ALLOWED FOR PEACEFUL SETTLEMENT.
AND THAT'S WHERE WE'RE AT.
THAT HISTORY PIECE THAT HAS BEEN
LEFT OUT OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM
AND, IN MY VIEW, ON PURPOSE.
IT'S NO SURPRISE THAT, YOU KNOW,
THERE HASN'T BEEN -- LIKE YOUR
QUESTION, HAS THERE BEEN WAYS TO
RECTIFY THAT?

Kelly takes a deep breath.

She continues,
I MEAN, FROM MY VIEW, I WOULD
SAY NO, DEPENDING ON WHAT YOUR
DEFINITION OF "PAST" IS.
BECAUSE YOU'RE BRINGING IN
RACE-BASED LEGISLATION AT THAT
TIME ON PURPOSE.
AND IF YOU LOOK AT THOSE PIECES
IT REALLY TRIES TO TAKE OUT
THOSE COMPONENTS OF TREATIES.

Nam says,
YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT
TO PUT WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH.
BUT I GET THE SENSE THAT THERE'S
A BIT OF FRUSTRATION MAYBE NOT
FRUSTRATION BUT MAYBE
RESIGNATION?

Kelly responds,
I JUST FEEL LIKE WITH
THE TRC PIECE, FOR EXAMPLE, I
FEEL THAT WE HAVE MANY PEOPLE
WHO HAVE REALLY GREAT INTENTIONS
AND WANT TO GET TO A PLACE OF
RECONCILIATION.
IT'S RECONCILIATION,
RECONCILIATION.
BUT FROM MY PERSPECTIVE I JUST
FEEL THAT WE'RE NOT IN THE TRUTH
YET TO MOVE INTO RECONCILIATION.
WHEN WE TALK ABOUT
RECONCILIATION, WHAT IS THE
ACTUAL ACTION PIECE?
WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE
FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT OR THE CHANGE?

Nam replies,
I AM GOING TO GO TO
MAURICE.
BECAUSE I THINK FOR A LOT OF
CANADIANS, FOR A LOT OF
SETTLERS, I THINK WE FEEL
ENTITLED TO THIS LAND WHEN THIS
LAND IS TREATY LAND.
MAURICE, IS THAT MAYBE THAT'S
YOUR SENSE AS WELL?

Maurice says,
I JUST WANT TO ADD
TO YOUR QUESTION OF KELLY.
YEAH, FRUSTRATION IS MILD.
I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR, I'VE
TRAVELLED A BIT IN MY LIFE.
AND THERE'S NO COUNTRY IN THE
WORLD I WOULD RATHER LIVE IN
THAN CANADA.
AND THAT BEING SAID, AS AN
INDIGENOUS PERSON, I UNDERSTAND
THAT WITH REGARD TO TREATIES
WHICH ARE UPHELD BY SECTION 35
OF CANADA'S CONSTITUTION, THE
SUPREME LAW OF THIS LAND.
AND HAVE BEEN REPEATEDLY UPHELD
IN THE SUPREME COURT, THE
HIGHEST COURTS IN THIS LAND,
IT'S FRUSTRATING TO SEE THAT
CANADA IS BREAKING ITS OWN LAW
OR ALLOWING ITS LAW TO BE BROKEN
EVERY SINGLE DAY.
THE LOBSTER FISHERS ON THE EAST
COAST OF CANADA HAVE HAD THEIR
BOATS BURNED.
THEY HAVE BEEN PHYSICALLY
ATTACKED ON THE DOCKS.
FOR EXERCISING THEIR TREATY
RIGHT AND WHILE POLITICIANS AND
MOUNTED POLICEMEN STOOD BY AND
ALLOWED IT TO HAPPEN.
ON THE WEST COAST, WE HAVE
PEOPLE DEFENDING THEIR
TRADITIONAL LANDS AGAINST ARMED
GUARDS AS PIPELINES ARE DRIVEN
THROUGH THEIR TRADITIONAL
TERRITORIES.
EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T HAVE
SPECIFIC TREATIES, THEY HAVE
TITLE TO THOSE LANDS.
THE SUPREME COURT HAS UPHELD THE
ROYAL PROCLAMATIONS DECLARATION
TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY
YEARS AGO, THAT THE NATIONS
OF -- AS THEY CALLED THEM, THE
INDIAN TRIBES OF NORTH AMERICA,
WOULD BE REGARDED AS NATIONS AND
THEY HAVE RIGHT TO OCCUPY THEIR
TERRITORY.
AND THOSE ARE BEING IGNORED
DAILY.
AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT IT'S VERY
COMPLICATED FOR CURRENT
GOVERNMENTS TO TRY TO UNTANGLE
THE MESS THAT HAS BEEN ALLOWED
TO DEVELOP BETWEEN FEDERAL AND
PROVINCIAL JURISDICTIONS.
YOU KNOW, SINCE CANADA WAS
CONFEDERATED.
THAT DOES NOT DIMINISH THE FACT
THAT THE LAWS OF THIS LAND ARE
BEING BROKEN.
AND THE RELATIONSHIP THAT
STARTED WAS ONE, AS KELLY HAS
SAID, OF SHARING THE LAND AND
ITS RESOURCES.
AND YET FIRST NATIONS
CONTINUALLY HAVE TO GO TO COURT
TO GET THEIR RIGHTS DEFENDED.
THERE'S A MAJOR COURT CASE UP
HERE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO NOW
ABOUT THE ROBINSON-HURON TREATY
THAT COVERS THE LAND IN WHICH
KELLY AND I ARE LIVING.
AND THOSE NATIONS, OUR ANCESTORS
WERE CLEVER ENOUGH IN 1850 TO
HAVE AN ESCALATOR CLAUSE BUILT
INTO THEIR TREATY THAT SAID THAT
AS THE WEALTH TAKEN FROM, YOU
KNOW, THE RESOURCES ON THEIR
LANDS INCREASED, THAT THEIR
SHARE OF THAT WEALTH WOULD
INCREASE. WELL, FOR THE LAST
A HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS,
THE BENEFICIARIES OF THOSE 21
TREATY COMMUNITIES HAVE BEEN
GETTING $4 A YEAR.
LAST WEEK, ONE OF THE
COMPANIES -- THE RESOURCE
COMPANIES THAT HAS TAKEN
TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN WEALTH
FROM ROBINSON-HURON LANDS A
COMPANY THAT USED TO BE CALLED
INCO IT'S TODAY CALLED VALLÉE,
LAST WEEK THEY PROUDLY REPORTED
A $4 BILLION QUARTERLY DIVIDEND.
$4 BILLION IN THREE MONTHS --
PROFIT.
ONE VALLÉE INCO MINER MAKES OVER
$100,000 A YEAR IN SALARY AND
BONUSES WHICH IS MORE THAN THE
$84,000 IN TREATY ANNUITY
PAYMENTS THAT THE
TWENTY-ONE THOUSAND CITIZENS
OF THAT FIRST NATION RECEIVE.
THAT IS AN OBVIOUS BREACH OF THE
TREATY AGREEMENT.
A SPEAK YOUR COURT JUDGE NAMED
PATRICIA HENNESSEY IN 2018, RULED
THAT, INDEED, THAT ESCALATOR
CLAUSE WAS VALID. AND THAT THOSE
TWENTY-ONE FIRST NATIONS
ARE STILL WAITING FOR ONTARIO
AND CANADA TO COME TO THE
NEGOTIATING TABLE TO START
RECTIFYING THE WRONG.

Nam states,
WE ONLY HAVE A FEW
MINUTES LEFT, BUT YOU BROUGHT UP
2018.
THE WILLIAMS TREATY WHICH COVERS
YOUR FIRST NATION WAS LAUDED AS
BEING HISTORIC WHEN IT WAS
SETTLED BY THE COURTS IN 2018.
CAN YOU GIVE US -- CAN YOU TELL
US ABOUT THAT SETTLEMENT?

Maurice replies,
THE WILLIAMS
TREATIES FROM 1923 WERE REGARDED
BY SCHOLARS AS THE WORST
TREATIES EVER IMPLEMENTED IN
CANADA.
BECAUSE THEY WERE INTERPRETED
AND DECEPTIVELY SO BY THE
PROVINCE AND FEDERAL CROWN AS
THE INDIANS -- AS WE'RE
HISTORICALLY CALLED --
SURRENDERING OUR RIGHT TO HUNT
AND FISH ON OUR TRADITIONAL
TERRITORIES.
THAT WOULD BE LIKE PEOPLE
AGREEING TO STOP EATING.
NONETHELESS, THAT WAS THE WAY
THAT TREATY WAS INTERPRETED FOR
ALMOST A CENTURY.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS SINCE
APOLOGIZED.
IT DIDN'T HELP THE PEOPLE WHO
WENT TO JAIL FOR SUPPOSEDLY
ILLEGALLY HUNTING OR WHO HAD TO
SNEAK AROUND AT NIGHT TO HUNT
AND FISH TO FEED THEIR FAMILIES.
AND IN HEADLINES, THOSE
SETTLEMENTS LOOK HUGE.
AND I'M SURE MANY CANADIANS
THINK LOOK AT THOSE INDIANS
THEY'RE ALWAYS GETTING STUFF FOR
NOTHING.
AND IF YOU JUST LOOK AT THE LAND
ALONE, THE $1.1 BILLION
SETTLEMENT FOR SEVEN FIRST
NATIONS AMOUNT TO ABOUT $85 AN
ACRE FOR LAND THAT HAD BEEN
ILLEGALLY OCCUPIED WITHOUT
TREATY. $85 AN ACRE.
YOU CAN'T BUY THAT LAND IN THAT
RICH PART OF CENTRAL ONTARIO FOR
LESS THAN $15,000 AN ACRE TODAY.
UNFORTUNATELY, OUR LEADERS FEEL
THAT THEY'RE FORCED TO ACCEPT
SETTLEMENTS TO TREATY BEFORE
THEY HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR
ALL OF THE YEARS OF NEGOTIATIONS.
AND THE BEST THAT WE CAN SAY IS
THAT THESE SETTLEMENTS ARE OFTEN
BETTER THAN NOTHING.
BUT THEY'RE NEVER -- THEY NEVER
FAIRLY COMPENSATE OR PAY
RESTITUTION FOR THE DAMAGE THAT
HAS BEEN CAUSED.
AND THE POVERTY THAT'S BEEN
CREATED.
AND THE HARDSHIP THAT HAS BEEN
CAUSED.

Nam responds,
IN OUR FINAL MINUTES
HERE, KELLY, YOU'VE BEEN
TEACHING -- BOTH YOU AND MAURICE
HAVE BEEN TEACHING CLASSROOMS
VIRTUALLY THESE DAYS.
WHAT'S THE ONE MISCONCEPTION
ABOUT TREATIES THAT YOU TRY TO
ADDRESS, KELLY?

Text reads, “Can Treaties be a Tool of Reconciliation? The Rest of Us”

Kelly answers,
OH, THE ONE MISCONCEPTION.
I THINK THAT EVEN IN WORKING
WITH STUDENTS AND TEACHERS, I
DON'T KNOW IF IT'S MISCONCEPTION
MORE THAN JUST NOT HAVING ANY
IDEA ABOUT TREATY RELATIONSHIPS.
BUT IF I HAD TO PINPOINT IT, IT
WOULD PROBABLY BE THAT IT'S A,
YOU KNOW, AN HISTORIC DOCUMENT
THAT HAS NO IMPACT ON TODAY OR
THE -- WELL, IT WASN'T SOMETHING
THAT I SIGNED OR IT DOESN'T
REALLY AFFECT -- IT DOESN'T HAVE
ANYTHING TO DO WITH ME.
OFTEN TIMES WHEN WE PUT UP A MAP
OF ONTARIO AND I'LL ASK, YOU
KNOW, WHERE DO YOU THINK THE
TREATY AREAS ARE.
AND MOST TIMES THEY'LL POINT TO
THE RESERVES.
SO THERE'S A REAL
MISUNDERSTANDING THAT YOUR -- IF
YOU'RE IN ONTARIO, THERE'S A
VERY, VERY GOOD CHANCE WITH THE
EXCEPTION OF SOME UNCEDED PLACES
THAT YOU ACTUALLY LIVE ON TREATY
TERRITORY.

Nam adds, AND MAURICE, YOU?

Maurice replies,
KELLY POINTS OUT
THERE IS THAT LACK OF
UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHAT TREATY
LAND IS.
MOST CANADIANS THAT I ENCOUNTER
OF ANY AGE DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT
THEY'RE TREATY PEOPLE.
WE DIDN'T -- OUR ANCESTORS
DIDN'T MAKE THESE TREATIES WITH
OURSELVES, WITH THEMSELVES.
EVERYBODY IN CANADA IS A TREATY
PERSON.
THE DIFFERENCE BEING THAT
NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLES HAVE
ENJOYED THEIR TREATY RIGHTS FROM
THE WEALTH OF THE USE OF THE
LAND THAT OUR INDIGENOUS
ANCESTORS AGREED TO SHARE WITH
THEM.
NON-INDIGENOUS PEOPLES ENJOY
SAFE SOURCES OF DRINKING WATER,
BRAND NEW SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS
IN THEIR COMMUNITY. PAVED ROADS.
ALL SORTS OF EDUCATIONAL
BENEFITS, HEALTH CARE BENEFITS.
WHILE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES -- IN
MANY CASES WERE PROMISED THESE
THINGS, HEALTH CARE AND
EDUCATION.
WE'RE NOT ENJOYING OUR TREATY
RIGHTS.
AND TREATIES ARE NOT, AS KELLY
SAID, ANCIENT DOCUMENTS.
THEY'RE STILL ALIVE.
THERE'S NO EXPIRY DATE.
EVERY SQUARE INCH MUCH OF THE
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO IS COVERED
BY FORTY-SIX TREATIES.
EVERY SQUARE INCH MUCH.
AND THE OTHER THING THAT PEOPLE
SEEM TO NOT REALLY UNDERSTAND
ABOUT TREATIES IS THAT INDIAN
TREATIES, AS OPPOSED TO TREATIES
LIKE FREE TRADE AGREEMENTS OR
THE TREATY THAT WILL COME OUT OF
THE GLOBAL COP TWENTY-SIX
ENVIRONMENTAL CONFERENCE,
INDIAN TREATIES WERE SACRED
EVENTS.
THEY WERE DONE IN CEREMONY.
AND THE PEOPLE WHO
PARTICIPATED -- INCLUDING THE
COLONIAL COMMISSIONERS -- BY
SHARING THOSE CEREMONIES AND
SMOKING THAT SACRED PIPE WITH
OUR ANCESTORS, IT WAS LIKE THEY
WERE SAYING WE PROMISE THAT
WE'RE TELLING THE TRUTH, THE
WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE
TRUTH SO HELP ME GOD.
THAT'S AN ASPECT OF TREATIES
THAT WERE CALLED COVENANTS BY
EUROPEANS -- A RELIGIOUS WORD.
IT'S AN ASPECT OF TREATIES THAT
NEEDS TO BE REALIZED BECAUSE THE
BREACHING OF THOSE TREATIES IS
NOT JUST A CRIME AGAINST
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OR AGAINST
HUMANITY.
IT'S A CRIME AGAINST GOD.

Nam says,
MAURICE AND KELLY, THANK
YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME
TO SPEAK WITH US.
AND SHOWING US THE IMPORTANCE OF
ALL OF US LEARNING ABOUT THESE
TREATIES.
AND THE ROLE THAT WE PLAY IN
THIS. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
WE APPRECIATE YOUR TIME AND
INSIGHTS.

Maurice responds,
THANK YOU. MEGWITCH.

Kelly adds, MEGWITCH.

Text reads, “Can Treaties be a Tool of Reconciliation? Produced by: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas”

Watch: Can Treaties Be a Tool of Reconciliation?