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
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
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.
Feature Video: "Treaty Perspectives"
The Heritage Community Foundation, with the kind permission of the Treaty Policy Directorate of
the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, is pleased to present this feature excerpt from
the video Cede, Yield, and Surrender: A History of Indian Treaties in Canada.
The making of Treaty 6 and the other numbered treaties involved a clash of cultural ideals and
understandings between First Nations people and the Canadian government. As a result, there is still
debate over the spirit and true meaning of treaties in Canada.