We Are All Treaty People – Visiting the Royal Sask Museum Exhibit

At the end of January, I had the opportunity to go to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to take a look at the We Are All Treaty People exhibit. Due to particular circumstances that day, both my parents decided to join me on this journey. I have been to the Royal Sask Museum multiple times in the past four years; therefore I had a strong feeling that this exhibit would be located in the lower floor of the building. Upon arriving at the exhibit, I was slightly shocked to see that it was only a tiny corner of the room. In my mind, I thought that a topic as important as Treaties would be a larger exhibit than the one it was; however, I am aware that I should be thankful that the museum has a place where they could host these articles of the true history of Canada.

As a settler person whom is working towards unsettling, I was astonished to hear that the pictograph, that was created by Chief Pasqua, was originally meant to be taken to parliament as a written account of what Indigenous Peoples were promised in treaties in comparison to what they received; instead it was taken to a home and hung as a decoration for many generations. To me, this speaks to the disrespect shown towards Indigenous Peoples and their way of knowing. I am aware that at the time that many of the numbered treaties were signed, that Indigenous groups did not speak English; however, I feel frustrated by the idea that they were taken advantage of because of their alternative ways of communication and documentation of events; such as the pictograph, shown below.

http://press-files.anu.edu.au/downloads/press/p15131/html/ch06.xhtml?referer=1241&page=9

Nevertheless, I digress. The whole experiences of looking at the pictograph and a copy of the original transcript of Treaty 4 was enlightening. This event contributed to my treaty walk as it gave me a better idea of how the treaties were used as tools of surrender against Indigenous Peoples. I know that as a treaty person, I have a responsibility to continue to talk about how treaties were negotiated, their original intentions from both parties as well as contemporary results due to their implementation.

Until next time,

Jenna deBoth

 

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