Nishnawbe Aski Nation

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August 24, 2017


TAYKWA TAGAMOU NATION (August 24, 2017): The co-hosts of the annual Gathering of Treaty Nations will welcome members of Indigenous Sovereign Nations at the 2017 Treaties 1-11 National Gathering in Treaty No. 9 territory next week.

“This is a national gathering of the rights holders of Treaties 1-11 from across the country, and we welcome all our brothers and sisters from across the Nation. Many different Nations of this country signed a Treaty with the Crown. As respected Senator Sol Sanderson from Treaty 6 says: ‘Treaties did not make Nations, Nations made the Treaty’,” said Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon. “We believe we are the third order of government of this country. We are not stakeholders nor an interest group. We are not the wards of the government. We are sovereign, and have the inherent right to be recognized and respected as a government.”

Leaders and members of the Sovereign Nations of Treaties 1-11 will convene this annual gathering on August 29-31, 2017, in Cochrane, Ontario. Events will be held in the traditional homelands of Taykwa Tagamou Nation, where one of the signing ceremonies was held for the James Bay Treaty – Treaty No. 9 on August 21, 1905.

A special invitation has been issued to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Hon. Justice Trudeau, representative of Her Majesty the Queen of England, to address these Sovereign Nations.

“Taykwa Tagamou Nation looks forward to welcoming the Prime Minister and members of all Treaty Nations to this historic gathering. When we entered into Treaty with the Crown, as represented by the Government of Canada, we agreed to share our traditional territory, based on our true understanding of the spirit and intent of Treaty No. 9, but we have retained title over our traditional territories by exercising our traditional laws and jurisdiction,” said Taykwa Tagamou Nation Chief Dwight Sutherland. “We have a sacred trust to protect our homelands for future generations, and our Inherent and Treaty rights supersede any federal and provincial legislation that is enacted without our free, prior and informed consent. We will protect these custodial rights and stand in solidarity with all First Nations who assert their rights and jurisdiction.”

Nishnawbe Aski Nation, formerly known as Grand Council Treaty No. 9, and the Mushkegowuk Council are honoured to co-host this year’s Gathering of Nations.

“We look forward to welcoming all members of Indigenous Sovereign Nations to Treaty 9 territory. This is a great opportunity to strengthen our shared interests in First Nation’s jurisdiction and sovereignty,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “A renewed Crown-First Nation relationship through the spirit and intent of our Treaties is needed to bring significant change to improve the health and well-being of our people and the strength of our communities.”

The Treaties 1-11 gathering is national Treaty movement with a common resolve to protect, promote and implement the sacred Treaty 1-11 agreements in their spirit and intent. The Indigenous Nations include citizens from the Cree, Oji-Cree, Ojibway, Assiniboine, Lakota, Nakota, Beaver, Blackfoot, Dene and Tsuu T’ina Nations.

In Canadian law, oral promises made at the time of Treaty signing are legally binding on the government. In most court cases that have dealt with oral Treaty promises, the promises made by the government representatives were of a much more qualified or limited nature. The oral promises made by the Treaty 9 commissioners, however, were expansive and made in very strong and unqualified terms. These specific oral promises have not yet been considered by the courts, but under current law and precedent they are legally binding.

“We are now beyond handshakes and photo ops. Rhetoric will not get us any further ahead than we have been for the last 150 years. For decades we have been talking and it’s time now to implement our Treaties under their spirit and intent, it’s time move us out of the third world conditions, and it’s time to see noticeable changes on the ground in our communities. The Nations of Treaties 1-11 also need to prosper from the riches from our land we agreed to share,” said Grand Chief Solomon.

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