What are some of the substantive issues in the Treaties of Saskatchewan?
One of the substantive issues in the Treaties of Saskatchewan is the mismanagement of the implementation of the treaties. The Crown did not implement their part of the treaties according to the wishes of the First Nations. The First Nations agreed to let the Europeans settle in the land and in exchange the Crown would give them support to maintain their current livelihood or support for a new livelihood if they chose to adopt the settler’s lifestyle (farming). The Crown did the bare minimum and did not consult with the First Nations on how the implementation was going to get done or they did not even fulfill it. For example First Nations wanted an education for their children so they wanted schools to be built on their reserves, but the government forced them to send their children far away to residential schools.
What does the “spirit and intent of treaties” mean?
The “spirit and intent” of treaties means the sacredness of the treaties. The treaties involved three parties, the First Nations, the British Crown and the Creator. The Creator is the witness to the treaties and so the treaties are considered sacred because the First Nations and the Crown not only promise to keep the treaties to each other but to the Creator too.
The intentions of the treaties were for the First Nations and settlers to live in harmony together and were to be mutually beneficial. “The treaties were foundational agreements entered into for the purpose of providing the parties with the means of achieving survival and stability, anchored on the principle of mutual benefit.” (Office of the Treaty Commissioner, 2008, p. 10)
How do we address truth and reconciliation in relation to treaties?
Educators should address the truth and reconciliation in relation to treaties by educating the public about the treaties. For example, the Mennonites and Lutheran from Laird, Saskatchewan did not know about the Stoney Knoll Land Claim that their town and farms were situated on. They had to educate and research for themselves. In the past, the Crown did not educate the settlers about the treaties and how the settlers should respect and keep the treaties. I think that the government and school working with the First Nations peoples should be the ones to teach Non-Indigenous peoples about the treaties.
Office of the Treaty Commissioner (2008). Treaty Essential Learnings: We Are All Treaty People. https://www.horizonsd.ca/Services/SafeandCaring/Documents/TELS.pdf