Treaty Four is 145 years today.
Anyone who calls central/southern Saskatchewan home shall recognize the importance of the First people and Crown relations. September 15th, 1874 at Fort Qu Appelle, eleven Chiefs touched the pen with Commissioner Alexander Morris whom represented Queen Victoria. Years after, adhesions to Treaty Four increased the signitore First Nations to 34 within Treaty Four Territory.
My signature Chief Kwīwizance (Cowessess) was the third Chief to touch the pen (Chiefs touched the pen as they did not know the settler way of signing or marking a X with ink was). In return, Commissioner Morris smoked the pipe with Chiefs to signify the Treaty agreement (the ceremony signified the Treaty was verified by Creator, the Queen, and each First Nation.
Cede, surrender, relinquish is not Treaty. Sharing and growing together for as long as the sun shines, grass grows, rivers flow is Treaty. Indian Act and Residential Schools were not apart of Treaty. Learning one another’s ideology and means of growth together was apart of Treaty.
What was agreed at Treaty was to exchange one child each and help grow each child exchanged to understand the world ideology of the Queen’s settler society and First Nation and once the children are older, give them back to better understand. The Treaty was based on several principles. First and foremost was the joint acknowledgement by the Treaty makers of the supremacy of the Creator. The second principle related to the maintenance of peace between the parties. The third to the parties entering into a familial relationship based on wãhkõhtowin (good relations). The forth undertaking was the guarantee of each other’s survival and stability based on mutual sharing. The fifth principle identified mutual sharing including the First Nation’s continuing right to livelihood. These five principles guided the First Nation treaty makers as they negotiated the Treaty.
It is 2019, we all, both indigenous and non Indigenous inherited the aftermath of the negative impacts of the Indian Act and Residential Schools. We owe it to our children and children yet unborn to live the Spirit and Intent of Treaty so they can live on the land which was intended by the agreement made in 1874. Today is a reminder of how much work we need to complete and a reminder it is possible to achieve. 😊❤️
Happy 145 years to Treaty Four.