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Contemporary Life - Implications and Contentions

Treaty Payments
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The relationship between the First Nations and Canada as a new nation, has been defined in part through some seventy agreements and treaties which took place up to 1923. Every single one of these treaties is still in effect, not one has expired. Because they are living documents, they probably always be the subject of debate and interpretation. But no matter what the controversy, they will continue to serve as a fundamental statement about the way we relate as cohabitants, sharing in a resource of land and riches that the Native people of Canada have always regarded as precious and worthy of respect.

Historian John Taylor
The important thing that Canadians need to know about Indian treaties are that they form an obligation of honour on the part of all of us to attempt to understand what it is that Indian people understand about theses treaties. And what it is they expect of us and what it is that we should be doing to try to fulfil those obligations that were made for us many years ago.

Former Grand Chief of the FSIN Perry Bellegard
We do as Aboriginal First Nations have a special relationship with the Crown, we do indeed have treaty rights and they are here as long as the sun shines, the rivers flow and the grass grows. They will not be terminated, there is no end to that, they are here forever. And people have to realize and understand that, what those rights are and the more awareness, the more education about them that can be taught, it’s more beneficial for both Indian and non-Indian people. So that we can peacefully coexist in this country that we can share the resources together.

Our treaties deserve constant study and review for like any bond between people, they are only helpful as they reflect the ongoing realities which people face. Situations change our response to those situations must also change. Perhaps by studying the treaties of the past, we can better understand why problems arose and work together towards more effective, compassionate, and realistic agreements in the future.

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