Honouring Our Treaties

Display at Lakehead University

NAN Launches Educational Video, Display at Lakehead University, for Treaties Recognition Week

November 1, 2021

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) encourages people to learn more about Treaties during Treaties Awareness Week (Nov. 1-5) with the launch of a Treaty educational video and visual display at Lakehead University.

“Canada became a nation because Treaties were signed between First Nations Peoples and the Crown. Our ancestors entered into Treaty with the understanding that both sides would benefit. This has not happened, and people need to be educated about the true history of this country,” said Grand Chief Derek Fox. “Our Treaties are sacred documents that shape our relationship with our federal and provincial Treaty partners. Canada and Ontario have an obligation to honour our Treaties and live up to their commitments to our people. There is a lot of work to do in this country before true reconciliation can be achieved, and our Treaties must be our guide.”

Narrated by award-winning Anishinaabe journalist and speaker Tanya Talaga, the video walks the viewer through the NAN Education Department’s large-scale interactive display developed this year to educate the public about Treaty relationships and to dispel commonly held myths about Indigenous Peoples.

“This project was developed to address racism experienced by students attending school in Thunder Bay. There are many false and derogatory statements that promote racism against our people, and our goal is to promote understanding and encourage conversations in a respectful way,” said Deputy Grand Chief Bobby Narcisse. “We are encouraged with the positive reception this display has had at events around the community, and we hope this creates awareness about the harsh realities faced by our people. Chi-miigwetch to Lakehead University for displaying these panels and helping us begin these conversations.”

This community-building project was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education as part of recommendations identified through the 2016 Seven Youth Inquest to address racism experienced by students attending school in Thunder Bay. The display consists of 16 panels covering approximately 1,500 square feet.

In 1905, as Canada was expanding, the Crown came to Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory to enter into Treaty. Treaty No. 9 (The James Bay Treaty) was agreed to by the Ojibway (Anishinaabe), Cree (Omushkegowuk) and other Indigenous Nations and the Crown (now represented by the Government of Canada).

First entered into in 1905-1906, Treaty No. 9 covers the watersheds of James Bay and Hudson Bay, about two thirds of the landmass of the Province of Ontario. Treaty No. 9 established the nationhood of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. It is the only Treaty in Ontario signed by both Canada and Ontario.

Treaty No. 5 was signed in 1875, and an adhesion was signed in 1910 to include several NAN First Nations near the Manitoba border. The video, panel display page-turner, and historical information on Treaty No. 9 and Treaty No. 5 are available at https://www.nan.ca/treaties/

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