Treaty One Nation and Government of Canada Commemorate 150th anniversary of Treaty No. 1
August 3, 2021 Treaty One Territory
Today, representatives from the Treaty One Nation, the Government of Canada, and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba gathered at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site to mark the 150th anniversary of the making of Treaty No. 1 in 1871.
Since the Royal Proclamation in 1763, treaties have served as the foundation of Crown-Indigenous relations in Canada. Four years after Canadian Confederation, the first of the numbered treaties with local First Nations was made at Lower Fort Garry in Manitoba on August 3rd, 1871. Chiefs, Knowledge Keepers, federal and provincial government representatives and other local community members gathered at Lower Fort Garry to commemorate this significant anniversary.
Treaty No. 1 was the first of the numbered treaties that helped establish Western Canada, and was made with the understanding that the Treaty would be in place for “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the river flows”. Indigenous peoples have lived on the land we now call Canada for thousands of years, with their own unique cultures, identities, traditions, languages and institutions. Treaties are agreements between the Crown and the First Nation signatories to establish how each would coexist within the territory of the treaty. Treaty No. 1 is the first in a series of 11 treaties made between 1871 and 1921.
Following weeks of commemorative virtual activities to mark the 150-year milestone, the ceremony began this morning with a Pipe ceremony and drum song by the Spirit Sand Singers, followed by an Honour Ride into the Lower Fort Garry site led by Indigenous horse riders, Oyaate Techa – which showcased a horse and rider representing each Treaty One Nation. The formal proceedings were led by MCs Wab Kinew, Leader of the Manitoba New Democratic Party, and Emilie McKinney from the Treaty One Nation Youth Council. Speeches were given by representatives of Treaty One Nation and delegates from both the federal and provincial governments. The ceremony also included a special presentation of newly minted Treaty Medals to each Treaty One First Nation by the Commissioner for the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, Loretta Ross.
Visitors explored a curated exhibit that included a Treaty No. 1 document replica and other important historical items connected to the August 3, 1871 signing. Attendees were also able to experience three new Indigenous structures, two birch bark wigwams and a tipi, recently erected at the site’s Indigenous encampment by experienced Indigenous builders from Roseau River First Nation, one of the seven First Nation communities represented by Treaty One Nation.
Parks Canada is pleased to continue working closely with the Treaty No.1 First Nations to advance reconciliation efforts, while increasing Indigenous history and perspectives at Lower Fort Garry and other Parks Canada places. Treaties remain critical agreements that guide the relationship between the Government of Canada and First Nations in Western and Territorial Canada. Canada is committed to honouring the intent of these treaties.
Learn more about Indigenous history at Manitoba’s national historic sites – including Lower Fort Garry, The Forks, Riel House and Prince of Wales Fort (near Churchill). These historic sites now offer limited visitor access and basic services. Visit the Parks Canada website for more information.
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“The Treaty One Nation government is pleased to be commemorating the Anniversary of the signing of Treaty No. 1. It is important to remember that the treaties are living documents between our Nations and the Crown. Taking this time to honour our Chiefs and leadership for their courage and insight in the negotiations of these agreements is empowering for our people and especially our youth. First Nations people more than fulfilled our commitment to live and work together with newcomers, and we look forward to resetting the relationship with the Government of Canada going forward. We thank Parks Canada, Canadian Heritage, and the Treaty Relations Commission for their help in planning this significant occasion.”
Chief Dennis Meeches,
Spokesperson, Treaty One Nation
“On the anniversary of the first numbered Treaty, we continue to advance our relationship with all Indigenous communities in Canada. We look forward to continued work with Treaty partners to honour the Treaty No. 1 relationship and celebrate our ongoing, collaborative work with the Treaty One Nation. The Government of Canada also understands that Indigenous peoples have been deeply impacted by colonial practices, policies and systemic racism, the effects of which are still felt today. Together, we will continue the work to identify and remove those barriers and ensure the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples is one that is based on the recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett,
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“It is with great significance that we are commemorating this year’s 150th Anniversary of Treaty No. 1 in Lower Fort Garry as well as at Naawi Oodena – the future site of Treaty One Nation urban reserve. I look forward to our continued work with Treaty partners to honour the Treaty relationship and in our ongoing, collaborative work with the Treaty One Nation. Together, we will continue the work necessary to ensure the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples is based on the recognition and implementation of Indigenous and Treaty rights."
The Honourable Marc Miller,
Minister of Indigenous Services
“Treaty 1, the first of the numbered treaties, was signed at Lower Fort Garry in Manitoba. Honouring the treaty relationship, based on the affirmation of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership is key to advancing reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples have lived on the land we now call Canada for thousands of years, with their own unique cultures, identities, traditions and languages. I invite everyone in Canada to learn more about Indigenous history at Manitoba’s national historic sites.”
The Honourable Dan Vandal,
Minister of Northern Affairs
"The cultures and identities of Indigenous peoples are rooted in the land, and honouring connections to place is an important element for actions and outcomes related to reconciliation. The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring Indigenous connections are honoured, and Indigenous rights are respected. The 150th anniversary of the signing of Treaty No. 1 between the Anishinaabe and Muskegon Cree peoples and the Government of Canada is an opportunity to reflect on the historical significance of that meeting and continue to work cooperatively to ensure the meaning and intent of Treaty No. 1 – and all other treaties – guides our Nation-to-Nation relationships in a fair and positive manner as we continue to move forward.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency) and Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South
Treaty No. 1 was made on August 3, 1871, between the Anishinaabe and Muskegon Cree peoples and the Crown.
The seven First Nations that are represented by Treaty One Nation are: Peguis First Nation, Sagkeeng First Nation, Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation, Long Plain First Nation, Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation and Swan Lake First Nation.
On August 3, 2017, the Treaty No. 1 Legacy Flag Installation was unveiled at Lower Fort Garry to honour the creation of Treaty No. 1 and highlight the connection of the Treaty One Nation to the national historic site. This permanent feature includes each First Nation’s flag, as well as the Canadian flag and the Union Jack. The Legacy Flag Installation is located in an area just outside the Fort’s stone walls and is open for free public viewing year-round.
Parks Canada and Roseau River First Nation worked collaboratively to develop and erect new Indigenous dwellings at Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site. The creation of these structures will allow Parks Canada to continue working with Treaty One Nation partners in sharing more fulsome representation of the Indigenous history, perspective and stories relevant to the Lower Fort Garry site where Treaty No. 1, the first of the numbered treaties, was made in 1871.
The health and safety of visitors, employees and all Canadians is paramount. Parks Canada is following the advice and guidance of public health officials in resuming visitor access and services. Visitors should follow the advice of public health experts, including necessary hygiene practices and physical distancing of two metres from others, as well as observe travel restrictions.
The Parks Canada website provides detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available. Visitors are asked to plan ahead by checking the Parks Canada website before they travel.
Parks Canada Agency
Treaty One Nation
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba
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