While reading over the transcripts from the Chiefs' Forum on Treaty Implementation, the significance of these speeches hit me all over again. I appreciate AJ Felix's comments below, reminding me, a white woman, that I am a part of the treaty. I also appreciate him reminding us all that the treaties were signed before our Creator. We often think of treaty being a physical thing, about the land, or maybe an emotional or intellectual topic, but treaty is also about our spirituality. As a person who is trying to follow my Creator in a good way, I must look for ways to honour treaty. The first step -- more than one hundred years overdue-- is treaty implementation. I have much to learn from the leaders who share their voices on this CD.
Tomorrow I will post Dan Bellegarde's Opening Comments.
AJ Felix, Chairperson
I am an oskāpēwis for Treaty 6 and the Treaties 1 to 11 Movement; and I am the Eagle Staff Keeper for the NRTA Gatherings. The Leadership has called for a Treaty Forum and I am honoured to be the Chairperson. The pipe ceremony this morning is an indication of how serious we take the discussion of Treaty. Many years ago our peoples saw the hardship that the newcomer was going to cause and the Lodge Keepers advised the Leaders to make a deal with the newcomers because it would be fruitless to go into battle.
At the Treaty negotiations the white man sat there and our people, our grandfathers and grandmothers, sat there and they agreed that they would share the land. They knew they could not sell the land as they could not sell their Mom or a piece of their Mom. The agreement was of sharing the lands and resources, not selling or giving up our rights. That agreement made the Treaty Indian but also made the Treaty white man, both with equal responsibilities and benefits. The Creator was the third person at that Treaty-making that witnessed and heard the agreement.
So today we are gathered here to start a serious process on directing our energies as First Nation Leaders, Elders, women, men and youth to understanding and implementing the Treaty to secure a good future for our children and our children’s children as it was intended. I ask Dan Bellegarde, Director of the FSIN Treaty Governance Office, to proceed with telling us what topics we will cover on the agenda.
page 6-7, excerpt from
Chiefs' Forum on Treaty Implementation
Dakota Dunes Casino and Conference Center
March 29 & 30, 2012
shared as public document with permission from
Dan Bellegarde, Executive Director, Treaty Governance Office
CD of Chiefs' Forum on treaty Implementation available for $5.00
or free transcript is available by contacting Dan Bellegarde at Dan.Bellegarde@fsin.com