Treaties are legal agreements created between the Government of Canada and Indigenous Nations across the territories and provinces outlining "ongoing rights and obligations on all sides" (Treaties and Agreements, Government of Canada, 2020). These negotiations were between nations and with the land, something many settler Canadians do not fully understand. Through land acknowledgments, many living in the Greater Toronto Area are becoming aware of the nations who, since time immemorial, have lived in the Great Lakes region and part of the Anishinabek Nation.
This section features materials exploring knowledge from Michi Saagiig and the Anishinaabek resources for treaty education, and a section on mapping that considers the locations of Indigenous Nations across Turtle Island.
- The Anishinabek Nation "represents 39 First Nations throughout the province of Ontario from Golden Lake in the east, Sarnia in the south, Thunder Bay and Lake Nipigon in the north [with]... an approximate combined population of 65,000 citizens, one third [sic] of the province of Ontario’s First Nation population." On the main page is a collection of Education Resources. One resource is Gdoo-Sastamoo Kii Mi: This is our Understanding, which contains information on the Robinson Huron Treaty, the relationship with land and water, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
- Ezhi-Nawending: How We Are Related is an online elementary-aged treaty education resource. At first glance, this resource may seem removed from the post-secondary classroom, but offer important, accessible knowledge. To facilitate understanding, two teachings are shared by Elder Josh Eshkawkogan, member of the Thunderbird Clan, Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. What is an Elder? and the preamble to the Anishinaabe Chi-Naaknigewin (Great Law), Ngo Dwe Waangizid Anishinaabe help frame the resources in this section; closed captioning options for all of the videos is available on the Anishinabek Nation YouTube channel.
- Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg: This Is Our Territory is written by the late Curve Lake First Nation Elder, Doug Williams (Gidigaa Migizi) [1942-2022]*. In his book, Williams explores and interprets the oral histories of the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg and the settler regions known as Peterborough and the Kawarthas. Listen to a 2021 conversation with Doug Williams (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg) and Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg) discussing the importance of history and tradition during Covid-19. Related Reading: Shortly after his death, Chief Keith Knott of the Curve Lake First Nations, reflected on the profundity of Gidigaa Migizi.
Resources for Treaty Education
- Quieting & Reclamation is a collaborative research project led by UTSC Sociology Professors Patricia Landolt and Joe Hermer. This project will digitally map ownership of land at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the surrounding area "that brings to light the conflictual relationship between settler landholding and Indigenous sovereignty."
The Indigenous History of Tkaronto is a research guide developed by the University of Toronto Library exploring the Indigenous history and treaties in Tkaronto, a Mohawk word translated as the place in the water where the trees are standing.
- A Treaty Guide for Torontonians explores the "complex intercultural roots of treaty relationships" of Tkaronto, the Mohawk word which inspired the current colonial name of the city. It serves as a resource for developing a deeper understanding of the treaty agreements that are relevant to the Greater Toronto Area. It also provides "outdoor activities, theatrical pursuits and contemporary writing prompts that help readers explore the modern-day subjective and physical embodiment of treaty relations."
- "Plain Talk 4" is the title of the self-directed module on Treaties from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). This is one of twenty-two modules available on the AFN "It's Our Time Educational Toolkit." Related Listening: Canada, A Treaty Story, a podcast created by Matthew Wildcat, Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Alberta and member of the Ermineskin Cree Nation.
The following resources relate to connecting with land and are not meant to represent definitive or accurate information on Indigenous nations' boundaries. Similar to many of the resources in the Indigenous Knowledges section, they can serve as a first step for developing your understanding and insights, but it is best to connect with local community to expand your research, learning, and understanding of the land you are on. For assistance with this for all three university campuses, please direct your questions to the staff at Indigenous Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
tribalnationsmaps.com is created by Aaron Carapella, who identifies as a mixed-blood Cherokee and is a "self-taught" cartographer who has developed a comprehensive collection of pre-colonial maps of First Nations and Inuit peoples and their pre-contact names. Listen to Code Switch on National Public Radio (NPR) to hear Mr. Carapella discuss the inspirations behind his work.
Offering a pointed critique of cartography, and in a spirit similar to Aaron Carapella, this resource "help[s] us to challenge our relationships with the land, people, and state. It’s based on the premise that cartography is not as objective as we’re made to believe... [b]ecause decolonization is a process of unlearning and rediscovering, we’re especially committed to Indigenous language revitalization through toponymy – the use of place names."
Maps are arranged by subject and continent.
Developed in 2015 by settler Victor Temprano from the Okanagan territory, this mapping project "strives to create and foster conversations about the history of colonialism, Indigenous ways of knowing, and settler-Indigenous relations" by acknowledging the sacredness of the land and the importance of bringing "an awareness of the real lived history of Indigenous peoples and nations."
This map is a work in progress and developed by community members, a dedicated staff, a Board of Directors, and an Advisory Council, of which Aaron Carapella is a member. The map may be searched by: 1. Treaties, 2. Languages, 3. Territories.Partnering with Native-Land, and building on their platform, the Whose Land app consists of six different maps of Indigenous territories, Treaties, and First Nations, Inuit, and Metis communities and provides information for learning about the Treaty agreements, the relational importance of land, along with information relating to the Residential Schools Location Dataset. This dataset "contains the locations (latitude and longitude) of Residential Schools and student hostels operated by the federal government in Canada."