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Treaty Perspectives

Treaty Perspectives
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Given the different expectations of the signatories in treaty negotiations, the different approaches, cultures, needs, and even different mechanisms for recording what was agreed, it is not surprising that the terms of Canada’s Indian treaties has been the subject of continuing debate.

Historian John Taylor
Now, while the written treaty talks about yielding, ceding, giving up, surrendering the land, this does not seem to be the understanding that Indians at the time had. For example, in North Western Ontario, the Indians there told the commissioners, tell us where you want your roads to run, tell us what pieces of land you want and we’ll make those arrangements. They were not talking about yielding, surrendering huge bits of territory and then being given back reserves. They were telling the commissioners the reverse. Tell us what lands you require and we’ll arrange to give that to you.

Former Grand Chief of the FSIN Perry Bellegard
Our understanding of what was surrendered was this, the top soil because we recognized as Indian people that the Europeans wanted to farm it so that’s part of the negotiations, that’s part of the Agreements, that’s not in the treaty but it was talked about and it was verbally agreed to so when we talk about the sharing of the land, when we talk about what was surrendered, that’s all that was surrendered. The right to come and use the top soil, to farm and settle it, that’s what was surrendered.

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