The word treaty can have a couple meanings. For example, I am a Treaty Settler, whereas a First Nations individual would be a Treaty Indian. It wasn’t until a month ago when we started this class did I become aware that I am a Treaty Person. I have heard the term status Indian by many First Nations acquaintances in the past. Until this day, I am not sure if even they knew we are all Treaty People either. Because of the European/Westernized education system and dominating culture, this was never a topic…until now.
What has changed since learning that I am also a Treaty person is that I have a responsibility to educate myself on what the agreements are between the two parties. I have learned that treaties are the stone in which Canadian society originated. Despite this being the case, as a white woman of European descent and settler of the Treaty 4 Territory, I have privileged 100% because of the Treaties, whereas the First Nations did not. This is not how it is supposed to be.
I would not say that racism is something that I just began to see. I noticed it even as a child. I would hear comments and opinions about First Nations people during family functions. I had gained a perspective based off of other peoples ignorance which in turn lead me to be ignorant as well. I would feel nervous around First Nations people because I would see First Nations people represented in the news as the “dangerous” and “criminals” of the prairies. How ironic it is, because the colonization of this land is what is dangerous and criminal.The truth is, regardless of what someone else preaches or shares, it is up to me as the individual to do the research for myself to find the truth. The truth I am learning is that of the authentic history of how Canada was colonized and what part my ancestors played a role in it. And that I still benefit from it today. It is my responsibility as a treaty person to uphold the treaties made by the Settlers and First Nations people of Canada. I truly believe that knowing this is the first step in the right direction.