According to the official Government of Ontario website, Ontario is covered by 46 treaties and similar agreements. These were established between the years 1781 and 1930. However, while those of us who have progressed through Ontario's education system most likely recall a rudimentary overview of Indigenous cultures and contributions in social studies class, learning about the substance of treaties was rarely emphasized.
Train of Thought, an artistic journey across Canada consisting of Indigenous and non-Indigenous voices, pulled into Toronto last week.
On Wednesday, I found myself sitting cross-legged in Ange Loft's workshop -- described as 'quick theatre creation using audio' in the program.
I had my brown sheet of paper in front of me and my blue oil pastel in hand, ready to be inspired by the interview with Lee Maracle playing on the speakers.
The interviewer asked Maracle how she felt about treaties.
"It's sort of like this," Maracle begins. "You had a house, and the neighbour moves into your house. Pretty soon he kicks you out. It's still your house, and you will always believe it's your house."
Viola Thomas (Anemki Wedom) spoke on reconciliation at the Peoples Social Forum in August.
Viola Thomas is a residential school survivor and sat on the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
This is the rebroadcast of that live event.
The Two Row Wampum
The Two Row Wampum is considered to be the grandfather of all of the treaties between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Iroquois League or Five Nations (The Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca Nations) and European Settlers. The agreement took place between the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch Settler government, who were stationed in what is now upstate New York, in 1613.