We Are All Treaty People

I was born and raised on Treaty 7 land. I didn’t learn this until I was a young adult. I am a third generation immigrant and the Truth and Reconciliation findings (2015) awakened me to the harmful actions of Canada to Indigenous peoples and the need to reconcile this past and today’s relationships. As the final report states, ‘Reconciliation must inspire Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples to transform Canadian society so that our children and grandchildren can live together in dignity, peace, and prosperity on these lands we now share’.  As a small action towards reconciliation, I’ve built this puzzle so that my children, and hopefully many more children, can learn about one aspect of the history between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. 

The goals of this puzzle are summarized best by the report:

‘Too many Canadians know little or nothing about the deep historical roots of these conflicts. This lack of historical knowledge has serious consequences for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples, and for Canada as a whole. In government circles, it makes for poor public policy decisions. In the public realm, it reinforces racist attitudes and fuels civic distrust between aboriginal peoples and other Canadians. Too many Canadians still do not know the history of Aboriginal peoples’ contributions to Canada, or understand that by virtue of the historical and modern Treaties negotiated by our government, we are all Treaty people. History plays an important role in reconciliation; to build for the future, Canadians must look to, and learn from, the past.’

The aim of this puzzle is reconciliation, not profit. One hundred percent of all the profits from selling these puzzles will be donated to Indspire, an Indigenous-led organization that promotes Indigenous education in Canada. I’ve also posted a pdf version of the puzzle online so kids or classrooms can build their own puzzles from whatever materials they have on hand. 

Designing this puzzle is and continues to be a learning experience for me. I’ve taken care to ensure that this puzzle is as accurate as possible while maintaining its simple intended form, a child’s puzzle. There are many treaties that have been, or are in the process of being negotiated which are too small to individually recognize in the puzzle format. However, the puzzle is intended to be a starting place to ask questions. For instance, what are treaties and why were they agreed to? What were the circumstances in which these particular treaties were negotiated? I’ve put together a short list of resources below that I’ve found to be a good starting place to find answers to these types of questions. This puzzle and list of resources is by no means complete or comprehensive. If you have any constructive feedback about the puzzle or the resources below, please let me know – I am interested in starting a longer-term conversation on this! 

James

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Further Learning

Historical context for treaties

Ways to get involved

Maps of Indigenous Lands and Treaties