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Perspectives

First Nations Perspectives More than a century has passed since Treaty 6 was signed and yet this seemingly concise document continues to have tremendous impact on the lives of the individuals and communities who reside on Treaty 6 land today. It is difficult to imagine that these old, tattered pages determine exactly where the Treaty 6 Cree, Nakoda, Saulteaux, and Chipewyan peoples are allowed to hunt, fish, or even build their homes.

When the rights and limitations outlined in the terms of the treaty are taken into consideration, it is not hard to understand why the treaty has caused so much debate and discussion over the years. More or less since the moment of its first signing, there has been disagreement about the true spirit and intent of Treaty 6. What do the words of the treaty really mean? How can the treaty be viewed so that it applies today; to the lives of both the Treaty 6 First Nations and the government representatives? Is it only the written record that counts? What about the verbal promises and assurances offered by the government officials, to the First Nations leaders, prior to and during the treaty signing? No doubt those present at the signing of Treaty 6 could not have foreseen the ways in which the treaty has affected and altered the lives of the its descendants.

Key to understanding the continuing debate surrounding the treaty is the recognition that there may not have been a single, unanimous intent behind it. Perhaps, from the onset, the First Nations and the Crown representatives viewed the treaty from different perspectives, with different goals in mind.

In this section of the website we invite you to explore some of these different perspectives on Treaty 6, with the hope that in doing so a better understanding of how to approach the treaty may be reached.

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            For more on the making of treaty 6, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
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