Treaties Recognition Week
Treaties Recognition Week
Nov. 6, 2018
This week is Treaties Week, an opportunity to honour the importance of treaties with First Nations and learn more of our shared history. Treaties are legally binding agreements between First Nations and the federal and provincial governments. Treaties set out rights, responsibilities and relationships. Although cities did not sign treaties, we understand that cities also have responsibilities for truth and reconciliation with First Nations.
At the City of St. Catharines we have formed a partnership with the Niagara Regional Native Centre to deepen our understanding of our shared history and to work together for reconciliation. We are proud to host the Celebration of Nations at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. This event was created to celebrate the diversity, creativity and resilience of Canada’s First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. The Celebration of Nations is built on the Two Row Wampum teaching that promotes walking together, in parallel, with respect, compassion and understanding to cultivate an inclusive community. It is a great event and we look forward to seeing it grow.
Downtown has also hosted the annual Niagara Regional Native Centre Pow Wow at Montebello Park – another opportunity to come together and build friendship.
Treaties have formed the basis of our relationships, which have changed over time. As I’ve come to learn more about our shared history, I’ve learned how the treaties are reflected in wampum belts, like the Two Row Wampum Belt. This belt signifies peace, friendship and respect. It is an agreement to co-exist together with European settlers.
There are many lessons reflected in the wampum belts and in the treaties – and much more work to be done to reconcile our relationships.
This year a new piece of public art that is inspired by the Two Row Wampum will be installed outside the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre. This piece is another reflection of our deep history and our shared future.
Across Niagara, other community partners are taking action towards truth and reconciliation:
- Brock University is holding public education sessions this week
- Niagara College is also hosting sessions on the history of Indigenous communities in Canada throughout the month.
- You can also learn more about the treaties that have shaped our relationships and the land we share with First Nations online: http://mncfn.ca/mississauga-cession-at-niagara-1781/
- Visit the Landscape of Nations – a striking exhibit at Queenston Heights which honours the contributions of Native people in the war of 1812
- Local libraries have also added new displays to feature Indigenous authors and stories – including at the Centennial Library, downtown.
I’d like to encourage you to learn something more than our textbooks may have taught us about treaties and relationships with First Nations. Reach out to a Native Friendship Centre and I’m sure you will learn something meaningful about the contributions of First Nations communities to Niagara. I know I have learned a lot on this journey and look forward to many more teachings.
Miigwetch, Thank You.