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Treaties: A Two Culture Process

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      SPRING 2000      v30 n02 p06  
Since time immemorial, North America was home to thousands of distinct First Nations. While distinct in their political organizations, economies, social systems and environments, First Nations respected differences and accommodated change. As well, First Nations modeled their societies in a way that reflected their sacred relationship to Mother Earth. All relationships that they formed respected this basic rule.

When Europeans explorers first arrived in North America, First Nations entered into new alliances in the form of sacred Treaties.

Both the Crown and First Nations concluded the Treaties through the exchange of solemn promises. These solemn promises were entered into in the presence of the Creator through the sacred pipe ceremonies. First Nations therefore believe that they made covenants with Her Majesty, which are unalterable arrangements of the highest order.

The Treaty-making process contains the customs of both the Crown and First Nations, which give shape to the Treaty relationship. The Treaty-making process was a demonstration of the mutual recognition of the authority on behalf of the Crown, and the Chiefs and Headmen on behalf of their First Nations to enter into treaties.

The Chiefs and Headmen entered into treaties freely. In doing so, they retained their inherent authority over their territories. In this regard, the Treaties are nation to nation agreements.

More than a century has passed since the conclusion of the first Treaty in what is now Saskatchewan. Treaty First Nations continue to express a strong hope that the Treaty relationship will continue to serve as the foundation for an enduring treaty partnership with the Crown, Her government and Her citizens.

Treaty No. 6

SOME COMMON UNDERSTANDINGS FROM THE OFFICE OF THE TREATY GOVERNANCE PROCESSES

THE NATURE OF THE TREATY RELATIONSHIP

PURPOSE OF TREATY-MAKING

TREATY RELATIONSHIP IN THE FUTURE