Treaties Recognition Week

What is a Treaty? 

Treaties are nation-to-nation agreements. In the context of the lands now known as Canada, treaties are between to Government of Canada (also known as the Crown) and Indigenous peoples. Treaties are living agreements that are for the benefit of all people living within the treaty territory. These foundational agreements are a part of Canadian society and are recognized and affirmed in Canada’s Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.  

The existence of treaties demonstration that early settlers understood First Nations peoples are sovereign and negotiated Nation to Nation. The more we understand the history of settler colonialism and treaties we can renew our relationships with each other.   

“Today, 133 First Nation communities are located within the artificial boundaries of the Province of Ontario; within these boundaries also exists a complex interrelationship of treaty obligations, federal-provincial division of powers, statutory regimes, inherent jurisdiction, and constitutionally protected Aboriginal and Treaty rights; and a relationship where much reconciling must take place if peaceful coexistence is to be achieved.” (Chiefs of Ontario, 2006) 


What is Treaties Recognition Week?  

Treaties Education Week was established in 2016 by the Ontario government to honour these foundational agreements and assist Ontario residents to learn about treaties, treaty rights and responsibilities.  

“By learning more about our collective treaty rights and obligations, we can create greater understanding and nurture relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.” (Ontario, 2016)  

Treaties Recognition Week is annual each year during the first week of November.  






Alan Ojig Corbiere: The Underlying Importance of Wampum Belts by Chippewas of Rama First Nation: Alan Ojiig Corbiere discusses Wampum Belts and their direct relevance to the relationships between Indigenous peoples and Canada. Wampum Belts are living symbols of our treaty agreements and the honour of keeping them, among other things.  

Senator Murray Sinclair on the Royal Proclamation of 1763: On the 250th Anniversary of the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Chief Justice Murray Sinclair, senator and former chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, discusses the Proclamation and its implications for the nation-to-nation relationships between the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (North America) and, in this context, Canada. 

Treaty Relations and Two Row Companion – Conversations in Cultural Fluency #5: This video was created to accompany a series of lectures produced by Deyohaha:ge and Six Nations Polytechnic, with Thru the Red Door. 

WAMPUM TALK: We Are All Treaty People – National Centre for Truth and ReconciliationTeyotsihstokwáthe Dakota Brant shares her knowledge of wampum belts.  


Books: is an Indigenous-owned bookstore located physically in Brantford, Ontario and also has an online store. They also curate a listing of Treaty Education Resources available through their store.  

From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation by Greg Poelzer & Ken S. Coates 

From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation: A Road Map for All Canadians begins with the principle that Canada is a country founded on relationships and treaties between Indigenous peoples and newcomers. Although recent court cases have strengthened Aboriginal rights, the cooperative spirit of the treaties is being lost as Canadians engage in endless arguments about First Nations issues. Greg Poelzer and Ken Coates breathe new life into these debates by looking at approaches that have failed and succeeded in the past and offering all Canadians - from policymakers to concerned citizens - realistic steps forward. The road ahead is clear: embracing the rights and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples will ensure a better future for all Canadians. Authors, Poelzer and Coates, begin by assessing the works of a variety of scholars including John Burrows, Charles Taylor, Alan Cairns, Emma LaRocque, Calvin Helin, Taiaiake Alfred, the late Patricia-Angus, James Youngblood Henderson, Bonita Beatty, Menno Boldt, and Tom Flanagan. After the various perspectives of First Nations and settler thinkers, chapter 6 examines the various models of Aboriginal success stories in Culture and Education, Business and Entrepreneurship, and Governance and Civic Engagement. Creating steps to social, political, and economic equality, the authors tackle examples of Indigenous Peoples and Global Issues; the Equality of Status; Developing Citizenship and a Commonwealth of Aboriginal Peoples; Aboriginal Self-Government; and Community-Based Economic Well-Being. The final goal is set on Finding Common Economic Ground among all Canadians. The authors offer broad topics over time by providing all readers with an accessible approach that is both readable and based on common-sense ideas. Ideal for secondary-level courses about self-government, global Indigenous Peoples, and current issues, as well as introductory college and university Indigenous Studies programs. Highly recommended. 

Nation to Nation: A resource on treaties in Ontario by Maurice Switzer 

Nation to Nation: A Resource on Treaties in Ontario is a 68-page book from the Union of Ontario Indians designed to inform readers and students about First Nations treaties in Ontario. Edited by Maurice Switzer the book has a definition section and background about treaties in general, treaties between First Nations, the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Indian treaties in Canada, and a timeline showing Indian treaties in Ontario. Specific treaties such as the Treaty of Niagara 1764, Chippewa Treaties, Manitoulin Treaties, Robinson Superior Treaty, Robinson Huron Treaty, and Williams Treaties are described. A brief overview of the significance of the War of 1812 is explored. News articles about treaties and the contemporary reality of these nation-to-nation relationships add to the understanding of their importance today. The final essay is Patrick Madahbee’s call to action for instituting a process to mend the relationship between Canada and Ontario First Nations.  This important collection clarifies the often confusing picture about treaties by focusing on treaties covering Ontario from their origin to the present day. Background data was provided by the Canadian Encyclopedia, and historians Maurice Switzer, Alan Corbiere, and David Shanahan. An excellent resource for secondary level students as well as college, university, and the general reader. 




J.R. Miller, “Compact, Contract, and Covenant: The Evolution of Indian Treaty-Making” in Susan Neylan and Ted Binnema, ed., New Histories for Old (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2007). 


Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, "Marked by Fire: Anishinaabe Articulation of Nationhood in Treaty-Making with the United States and Canada" in Brian Hosmer and Larry Nesper, Tribal Worlds: Critical Studies in American Indian Nation Building (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2013), 111-140. 




6 Common Myths about Treaties in Canada by the Centre for Indigenous Studies, University of Toronto  

Map of Ontario treaties and reserves: Learn about the treaties that cover where you live, go to school or work, and find reserves in Ontario.  

Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation – Treaty Lands & Territory 

On the Wampum Trail – This research team surveys collections of wampum in museums conducts interviews to construct more detailed object history for wampum belts.  

Ontario Treaties Recognition Week: Treaties Recognition Week honours the importance of treaties and helps Ontario students and residents understand the significance of treaty rights, treaty relationships and their relevance today. 

We Are All Treaty People – Online Course by the University of Toronto, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education 



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