Ontario's Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford joined Treaty 3 Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh, as they talked about treaties this morning in Kenora.
"Keep listening. Keep learning. Keep growing and continue to ask questions and seeking the answers," said the minister, in his speech to Beaver Brae students this morning.
"By understanding treaties and the relationships they represent, we can find a way forward together that creates a better future for all of Ontario," Rickford continued.
During the event, the minister announced students would be able to access information about treaties through their smartphones. The government has also launched an online map of Ontario treaties and reserves. It's meant to help people learn about treaties where they live and make it easier to see where First Nation communities are located in Ontario.
In his comments, the grand chief emphasized how we're all included in the treaty partnership.
"I guess it was important for me to establish the fact that the treaty represents not just the people of Grand Council Treaty 3, but there were two parties to the agreement," he said.
During the morning assembly, Elder Robert Greene of Shoal Lake also shared his understanding of the history, which led up to the signing of Treaty 3. He told students the Anishinabe people had moved to the area from the east, as they looked for wild rice.
There were Dakota or Sioux people already in the area, and they all used waterways to cross the land, Greene added. He noted soldiers crossing the territory to help fight the Northwest Rebellion, gold seekers, settlers using the Dawson Road or railways also required a right of way.
Over the years, the five pieces of gold meant to be treaty payments for members have become $5. However, Greene said they could be much more, as the gold in the coins would now be worth more than $40,000.
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