This is the second post in a series featuring short descriptions of papers and panels that will be presented at the Canadian Historical Association’s annual meeting being held at the University of British Columbia June 3-5.
The last call to action of the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission suggests the statement “I will faithfully observe the laws of Canada including treaties with Indigenous peoples” be included as part of Canada’s oath of citizenship. This revised oath reflects decades of work by Indigenous leaders to restore the vision of treaty-as-relationship and echoes similar calls for recognition of treaty relationships in the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP). But how and where do non-Indigenous Canadians, new and old, learn about treaties? Treaty education and awareness is uneven across the country. Saskatchewan, for example, has had a Treaty Commissioner since 1989, and has been integrating treaty education into school curricular for more than 20 years.
But in central and eastern Canada, RCAP fell on deaf ears. Until the TRC report again brought the question of treaties forward, knowledge about treaties in central and eastern Canada was concentrated in Indigenous nations, specifically with Elders and knowledge keepers, some federal employees and a few academics and lawyers. While the reanimation of public awareness of treaties has happened across the country, it is perhaps especially notable in those provinces where pre-Confederation treaties were sometimes (conveniently) forgotten by settler governments within decades of their making.
The panel is comprised of three settler scholars working to increase the knowledge and learning about treaties and treaty relationships among non-Indigenous people in the province of Ontario. Continue reading