FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 2023
London, England – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), Anishininew Okimawin (AO), and Southern Chiefs’ Organization (SCO), and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Manitoba Regional Office released the following statement on the importance of First Nations Treaty Relationships following the Coronation of his Majesty King Charles III in London, England.
“As leaders and citizens of the First Nations in Manitoba, Canada, which have entered into Treaty No. 1, Treaty No. 2, Treaty No. 3, Treaty No. 4, Treaty No. 5, Treaty No. 6 and Treaty No. 10, we have gathered here in London, England, to reinforce the future of our Treaty relationships with His Majesty King Charles III,” says AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick. “As Treaty Nations, we are here to remind His Majesty King Charles III of the Treaty promises of the Crown and of our Treaty rights in order to recognize, fulfill and give life to our Treaty relationship.”
In 1763, the Royal Proclamation made it a Crown policy to reconcile our Indigenous title before opening lands to settlement. The Treaty process recognized First Nations’ status as sovereign Nations and as the rightful stewards and title holders to the lands our Nations continued to use and occupy since time immemorial, before the first arrival of Europeans.
MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee said, “Treaties are foundational agreements to protect land, people, custom and sovereignty. Before the Treaty was made, our ancestors would not allow a person who was not from our nations or territory to step out of their canoe unless we had provided our consent. According to our Customary Law, persons must announce themselves and request permission before stepping onto our lands or travelling through our territories.”
Today, the First Nations Leadership Delegation in London, England, extended an invitation to His Majesty King Charles III to visit the First Nations in Manitoba through the office of the High Commissioner.
When we were gathered, Nation-to-Nation, in the Treaty circles, the ancestors of His Majesty King Charles III described the meaning and promises of the Treaty by using spiritual terms of the greatest importance to our ancestors. Together, with all the Treaty promises of the Crown, the ancestors of our Nations accepted the requests of the ancestors of His Majesty King Charles III for consent to enter our territories.
AO Grand Chief Scott Harper said, “The Customary Laws of adoption are very important to us. When we entered into a Treaty with another Indigenous Nation, we adopted each of the families of that Nation as our own. When we adopt a person or a whole family under the Customary Law, we become responsible for the protection and well-being of that person or family, and everyone becomes a relation of the other. The Treaties form this bond and this relationship between the Crown and our Nations.”
SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels said, “The promises of all the Treaties signed in Manitoba reflect a sacred and perpetual commitment to Nation-building between the Treaty Nations and His Majesty the King and his successors. As Treaty Nations, we are here to remind His Majesty King Charles III of the Treaty promises of the Crown and of our Treaty rights in order to recognize, fulfill and give life to our Treaty relationship.”
“This journey was important to make as my ancestor, Chief Richard Woodhouse signed Treaty No.2 on behalf of his people to form an enduring relationship between the Anishinaabe peoples and Great Britain represented by Queen Victoria, the ancestor of King Charles. Our relationship with the British Crown has always been of importance to our people as these Treaties are international in nature. We have always believed in the spirit and intent of these Treaties. They stand for peace and friendship, and co-sharing of the lands and resources. Unfortunately, there is much unfinished business that remains with Canada on the implementation of these nation-to-nation agreements. This historic moment was an opportunity to reflect on what we can do next to restore peaceful, respectful relations and advance reconciliation and to find true meaning to that relationship, so we ensure First Nations are treated as nations and equal Treaty partners that benefit and thrive from the richness of our lands,” concluded AFN Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse.
Today, the Treaties continue to bind our Nations in peace and friendship in perpetuity “for as long as the sun shines and the grass grows, and the waters flow.”
For more information, please contact:
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs
Southern Chiefs’ Organization
Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak