The federal government has said that no relationship is more important than the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. A key part of rebuilding this relationship is having Indigenous leaders at the table to determine their own futures. With the next generation of Indigenous leaders set to inherit leadership roles, it is imperative that they have the education and training to secure their futures, which includes learning about their treaties.
Knowledge transfer is key.
However, there is an increasing knowledge gap between emerging leaders and the treaty negotiators who came of age in the 1970s. Work must be done to engage next-generation Indigenous leaders about the importance of treaty negotiations and implementing those treaties, and the role they need to play in them.
Since 1975, 26 modern treaties have been successfully negotiated, providing Indigenous ownership of more than 600,000 square kilometres of land, almost the size of Manitoba. Many more agreements will be signed in the coming years, defining land rights of many more Indigenous peoples and creating paths for self-determination.
Emerging leaders need to get involved so that they understand the spirit and intent of the hard-fought treaties. This knowledge is passed down orally from those at the table. Without it, the nuances of the agreements and the way they were meant to be interpreted risk being lost with the passage of time. MORE