Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Notes: Marie Battiste for Treaty Day

I had not known that tomorrow, October 1, is Treaty Day in Nova Scotia. Probably quite a few Nova Scotians don't know either, though it is officially proclaimed by the province.

Treaty Day was revived in 1986 to mark the Supreme Court of Canada's 1985 decision that the Crown remains bound by the 1752 treaty between the colony of Nova Scotia and the Mi'kmaw nation, in which October 1 was established as the annual day of gift giving and the renewal of friendship .

Cape Breton University Press has recently launched Living Treaties: Narrating Mi'kmaw Treaty Relations, edited and introduced by Marie Battiste, a Mi'kmaq and a professor at the University of Saskatchewan. From the introduction:
Educating Canadians to their treaties and their meanings is long overdue. Negotiated and signed by our Mi’kmaw traditional chiefs with the King of Great Britain and his representatives in the early 18th century, the Mi’kmaw treaties are a significant part of the history of Canada and of the United Kingdom, yet marginalized in the Canadian education curriculum and in the minds and hearts of Canadians. Treaties were central to the legalization of the settlements of early Europeans and later immigrants in Canada, and to the acquisition of land and resources that today are still being contested.
Most Canadians think the treaties are irrelevant and most politicians and resource-extracting corporations view them as inconvenient, but they are still relevant and will continue to be.
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