Ontario has passed new legislation to recognize the importance of treaties and to bring awareness to the treaty relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the province.
The Treaties Recognition Week Act, 2016 introduced and passed with the support of all parties today, designates the first week of November each year as Treaties Recognition Week. The first legislation of its kind in Canada, Treaties Recognition Week will provide a recurring opportunity for teachers to plan learning activities about treaties during the school year and will help promote awareness of treaties in the broader public.
This legislation is part of Ontario’s Treaty Strategy which is promoting constructive engagement and revitalizing treaty relationships between the province and Indigenous communities.
Treaties Recognition Week is also one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects Ontario’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, said: “Treaties are the reason Canada and Ontario exist as we know them today. All Ontarians, especially students, need to gain a better understanding of treaties. Treaties Recognition Week will provide ongoing opportunities to learn about the treaties that have shaped the province.”
Ontario is covered by 46 treaties and other agreements, such as land purchases by the Crown signed between 1781 and 1930.
- Treaties are the legally binding agreements that set out the rights, responsibilities and relationships of First Nations and the federal and provincial governments.
- This legislation supports Premier Wynne’s Apology and Statement of Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples made in the Legislature today.
- Ontario is working with Indigenous partners to enhance the provincial education curriculum in order to support mandatory learning about residential schools, the legacy of colonialism and the rights and responsibilities we all have to each other as treaty people.
- A Political Accord was signed with the Chiefs of Ontario in August 2015 to guide the relationship between First Nations and the province. – CINEWS
See the Treaty Map here: