As Premier Moe aims to assert provincial jurisdiction over resources, First Nations say he is missing a key piece of history.
Standing at a podium inside the Saskatchewan Legislative Building earlier this week, Onion Lake Cree Nation Councillor Bernadine Harper held up a feather and shared a piece of history.
Oral teachings, she said, have long stated that traditional lands were never meant to be surrendered once the treaty was signed. Instead, they were to be shared, to the depth of a plow, in exchange for assistance when in need.
“When the interpretations were being made at the time, the elders that sat at that circle of negotiations were asking the settlers and the interpreters for the Queen’s rep, ‘Are you wanting to take the land?’ And they said, ‘No,’ ” Harper explained. “Those are the negotiations that were made and those are not being heard right now.”
Since that signing nearly 150 years ago, many Indigenous leaders say they have been left out of key decisions, particularly when it comes to sharing natural resources.