We explore treaties and agreements with Indigenous Peoples from a range of perspectives across regional/national contexts both in Canada and beyond. We consider historical and modern treaties, as well as communities in long-term negotiation or implementation, or who refuse to enter such discussions.
We explore treaties and similar agreements with Indigenous Peoples from a range of perspectives across regional and national contexts, both in Canada and beyond. We consider historical and modern treaties, as well as communities who are embroiled in problematic long-term negotiation or implementation of agreements, and those who refuse to enter such processes at all. The topic of treaties is related to questions of relational movements, co-existence, territorial entanglements, and living landscapes. In keeping with such themes we ask, how do we bring shifting relationships to the center of anthropological analysis; and, how may entangled assemblages of people and territory become reconciled to one another?
In Canada, treaties have been building blocks of the nation-state and of new Indigenous relational identities for over 150 years. Internationally, for many Indigenous Peoples, treaties provide the means to elaborate a particular historical, spiritual, and national consciousness. Conversely, for settler populations in colonial states, treaties provide a means to reconcile their presence to the existence and continuity of rights-bearing Indigenous Peoples. Such agreements constitute a gift-specified relationship extending beyond the human parties to the treaty by encompassing both territory and non-human entities - historically accomplished through the use of sacred oratory and ceremony both in New France and Western Canada. According to Asch, treaties can provide settlers an ethical relational basis for "being here to stay," expressed by Cree elders as Witaskêwin (translation: "living together on [or with? ('wi-') - convenors] the land") in Cardinal & Hildebrandt. The panel explores and imagines such relationships with territories and people.