Treaty annuities need to be updated – by Doug Cuthand (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – June 9, 2018)

The process of collecting treaty money is a longtime custom that cements our relationship with the Crown, our past and the future, but it too must be updated to reflect current reality, writes Doug Cuthand.

Once the treaties were signed and our people placed on reserves, time stood still.

The implementation and even the recognition of the treaties was ignored. In the numbered treaties that stretch across the prairies and contain a land mass greater that western Europe, we were promised health care, education, social programs, economic development and an annual annuity of $5 per person

Education rights became boarding schools; health was epidemics of smallpox and other diseases; social assistance became starvation and famine, and the $5 annuity remained $5 for 150 years.

Prior to the numbered treaties, there were other treaties that secured lands and resources in other parts of the country. The Robinson Huron Treaties contained the land mass on the north shore of Lake Superior and Lake Huron all the way to the Quebec border.

Two treaties were signed in 1850 with 14 First Nations securing a large and very rich land mass. Settlement and mining development had already begun and the colonial government was eager to secure that land. This has been the history of Canada. Whenever the land was needed, treaties and land claims were settled; otherwise, we were ignored.

For the rest of this column:

Comments are closed.