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Reflection on Indigenous People Within Canada

Treaty Understandings

First and foremost, a treaty is an understanding or an agreement, whether verbal or written, between two or more parties that s legally binding under the subjects of international law. This paper will reflect on the treaty understandings within the indigenous people of Canada, a topic that has caused much debate over the contextual meaning of the agreement. Each individual has a different version and understanding of the Treaty and how it impacted on indigenous people of present Canada. The main discussion point in understanding and decoding the treaty controversy lies in understanding the central issue. According to Tamara Starblanket in her book Treaties: Negotiations and Rights, “The central issue island.” There were eleven treaties between indigenous people and the British Crown between 1870 to 1921. Understanding what treaties mean and why they were implemented can only be understood in one way through the written records, given that oral understanding of treaties was never extensively discussed.

According to Rarihokwats, a treaty is composed of seven documents. To have a better and clear understanding of the Treaty and what it entails, a person must understand and have in mind all the seven documents in place. The seven documents are linked together in a final document called the Golden thread. The first document is the royal proclamation authored in 1763 by King George, and this is all about a proclamation for peace. The second document was the Treaty of Niagara in 1764. Followed by a third document, the North-Western territories order in 1870. The fourth document is your numbered Treaty. The fifth document published in 1930 is the Natural Resources Transfer Act. The sixth document is the constitution of Canada in 1982. Finally, the last document is the UN declaration, which is ongoing and still in the Canadian senate awaiting approval. All these documents are unified under the Golden thread. The treaty negotiations can be divided into four categories: our great-great-great-grandparents and the sovereign people who had agreed and entered into Treaty. The second group is the Crown, which significantly influences the Treaty’s agreements and development. The Crown was from Greta Britain and Ireland. The third group is the settler government of John MacDonald and his successors. Then finally, the Us falls among the great-grandchildren category.

Eleven treaties have been documented between Indigenous people in Canada and the British Crown. The treaty agreements took place between 1870 to 1921. Because the oral components of the treaties were not documented, there is a conflict of interest created in the difference between the oral and written agreements. This, therefore, culminates in various factors that make it easy for people to misunderstand the agreements in the Treaty. Before the Treaty, indigenous people originally inhabited the lands of the North American continent (Starblanket, 2008). The information perceived from the oral agreement is that the indigenous people have been the original occupants of the land. Therefore, my sense of possession and originality, the indigenous people lived in these lands by right and legal systems. There was this assumption that the lands and territory initially occupied by indigenous people during the arrival of European explorers were up for grabs. Thus the Crown was at the forefront of this assertion. At that time, the Crown had a biased belief that was hinged on the assumption that they were the sovereign group over the First Nations. Due to this assumption, the British entered the negotiations believing that they were the sovereign group. On the other hand, Indigenous people had all the rights and power over their land and culture.

Indigenous People’s understanding of the Treaty

The indigenous understanding of the Treaty was that their rights were inherent and granted by the creator, and as such, they were not answerable to any government. Therefore, despite the understanding of the British Crown, the Treaty was that the Treaty was only supposed to augment and reinforce their inherent authority. As such, the Treaty was eth legal and lawful agreement that bound their agreement with the Crown, and each party was to honor and respect their agreement. The Treaty was oral, and the consensus was to be passed down in every treaty negotiation, thus ensuring an existing friendship and co-existence. This was how the indigenous people understood the Treaty. A reasonable and understandable understanding in contemporary times.

The crown understanding of the Treaty

The Crown, however, had already assumed that the indigenous lands were up for grabs given the fact that they held sovereign power despite indigenous people being the original habitants of the lands. It is imperative to understand how and why the Crown believed they had the sovereign power. This, therefore, takes us back to the original teary discussions in Saskatchewan during the colonial government authority. They were granted the head as the sovereign group in the first document, the Royal Proclamation in 1973; however, it ensured the indigenous people had complete dominion over their lands, and as a matter of fact, the Crown was bound to follow the rules set by the indigenous people (Starblanket, 2008). On record, the indigenous people had all the right and power to retain their lands and live peacefully with their neighbors, the Crown.

On the other hand, the Crown brought a controversial aspect to the peace treaty when they claimed that the indigenous people had surrendered their lands. The crow intended to back the indigenous people into surrendering their lands by trade. This started with the Hudson Bay Company, which was initiated and developed in the indigenous people’s lands. Indigenous people’s lands were purchased in undocumented ways by the sale of rum. The Crown had deiced to break the agreement in the Treaty when they invaded the indigenous people’s lands by deceit. The Crown, therefore, was acting solely on its own without incitement and involvement in international law, which was based exclusively on promoting peace (Starblanket, 2008).

For a treaty to be finalized and all the terms agreed to, all the terms and rights have to be negotiated with each party between 1760 to 1764, with the first nations having to make decisions to avert the threat brought along by the Crown. In the Treaty of Niagara, the indigenous people were satisfied with the Treaty of proclamation. The Crown had to come up with a response that acknowledged the Treaty of Niagara. In 1764 there was the reinstatement of the peace treaty after the Crown had decided to opt-out of the Treaty of proclamation when they chose sovereignty and grabbed the indigenous people’s lands. Therefore, the Treaty of Niagara was supposed to bring back the peace that was initially achieved when they agreed to a treaty of proclamation.

Comparing the treaty negotiations to contemporary times, there is a common ground shared by both parties: the crown sovereignty. In any treaty discussions in the current times, the state of Canada views the Crown as having a sovereign power. The Crown believes that they have autonomy over indigenous people because they think they granted the lands to indigenous people. In the subsequent treaty negotiations they were involved in, their point of argument was that they wanted precise the American Indians from their land titles. By so doing, they would repay the American Indians with reserves. They would continue with their lifestyle but in different lands (Starblanket, 2008).

According to the elders of indigenous people, the Crown had made the first move when they approached them, their primary intention being to inquire about rights so that they would share the lands (Starblanket, 2008). Therefore according to the elders, the Treaty was only a sign of peaceful co-existence and mutual understanding between two parties. The agreement was viewed as sacred and an international agreement, with each party having to air their rights and demands based on their rights. The elders thus understood the Treaty as the Crown had the privilege and autonomy to live in the indigenous people’s land. They lived peacefully, and mutual respect was shared. Understanding that these treaties were vital as they set the ground running to realize a peaceful environment is imperative. Treaty six faced a lot of disputes from the elders because of the written version of the Treaty. The registered version portrayed different wordings that sounded arrogant and rude, and they represented utterly different meanings of the oral agreements. Bottom-line is that despite the Crown’s unlawful invasion of the indigenous people’s lands, the land belonged to the indigenous people, and they had all the rights in the world to do as they wished with their land. The invasion of the Crown was wrong and unfair to the indigenous people.

To conclude this paper, treaties can be compared to laws supposed to set limits and govern communities and people. With a written agreement, then it means that two or more parties come together and find an amicable solution to a problem. From the negotiation, there is always an understanding that each party upholds to ensure their rights are considered, and every party gets all they deserve. In this case, the Crown and the indigenous people of Canada had eleven treaty agreements among other groups such as the American Indians. The treaty documents were reviewed to favor the indigenous people from the violations they faced from the Crown. Each group had different understandings of the Treaty, which is indifferent given that they all were present when the treaty negotiations were carried out. The significant talking point from the treaties is how the Crown used their sovereign power to crack indigenous people into accepting their demands and taking their lands.


Starblanket, T. (2008). Treaties: Negotiations and rights. kā-kī-pē-isi-nakatamākawiyahk Our Legacy: Essays, 77.


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