For the primary time since its signing 100 years in the past, the unique Treaty 11 doc is coming to the North.
It is a journey that has taken “months and months and months” value of logistical planning, based on an archivist who’s concerned. One Indigenous elder says it is an alternative to proceed a dialogue concerning the “spirit and intent” with which the doc was signed by native leaders.
Treaty 11 was signed by the Crown and greater than a dozen Gwich’in, Sahtu Dene, Dehcho Dene and Tłı̨chǫ communities within the Northwest Territories in the summertime of 1921.
For many years afterward, most of these topic to Treaty 11 did not know what the textual content mentioned. When the federal government’s model of the treaty was first translated and skim to an meeting of Dene chiefs in 1969, it instantly precipitated outrage.
“It was surprising,” Norman Yakeleya, in the present day the Dene Nationwide Chief, instructed CBC Information earlier this 12 months. “They [had] agreed to … a peace and friendship treaty” — however what they heard was one thing else completely.
Recognition of power
John B. Zoe, a former chief land claims negotiator who helped set up the Tłı̨chǫ authorities within the N.W.T., mentioned the which means of the textual content has “all the time been controversial.”
However what makes the doc come alive, he mentioned, are the signatures of Indigenous leaders, which represented a dedication to engaged on a relationship with the Crown “in relation to land, in relation to our languages, in relation to our tradition and our methods of life.”
That which means will not be a part of the written textual content, he mentioned, but it surely was the “spirit and intent” and that is “what individuals have stored alive all these years.”
It is also what Zoe hopes will proceed to be mentioned transferring ahead.
“The times of getting elders that had been witnesses to those agreements or the primary era … are numbered,” he mentioned. “We have to seize these thought processes and to ensure the unique intentions about why the treaty was taken, on the Indigenous aspect, will proceed to be handed on as a result of there are two variations.”
For Zoe, the “full power” with which leaders signed Treaty 11 is value celebrating.
“It is … a instrument that [was] used to deliver us down earlier than, but it surely’s additionally a instrument that may give recognition as to the power we have all the time had,” he mentioned.
‘Type of in booklet kind’
Generally known as the final of Canada’s numbered treaties, Treaty 11 is “type of in a booklet kind” and has “marbled endpapers,” mentioned Erin Suliak, the N.W.T.’s territorial archivist who described “months and months and months” of planning to get the doc to Yellowknife.
The pages had been written in cursive ink earlier than Henry A. Conroy, a treaty commissioner, even introduced it to communities for the primary time.
The doc is coming from Ottawa, the place it’s held by the Authorities of Canada at Library and Archives Canada. To deliver it to the Northwest Territories, particulars as huge as which aircraft it will fly on are stored confidential for safety functions whereas particulars as minute because the exhibit’s mild ranges are meticulously deliberate, mentioned Suliak.
“We now have to watch out of how lengthy numerous pages are even displayed,” she mentioned.
“It is a 100-year-old doc and it requires some conservation work on it, so as to stabilize it and make sure it is in its finest form to each journey and be on show,” she mentioned.
Suliak did not present a lot element about how the doc could be reaching the North, citing safety causes, however she did say it will be accompanied on a aircraft coming immediately from Ottawa.
“We weren’t capable of finding an acceptable shipper that may do it by floor,” she mentioned.
She would not say how a lot the flight would price, or the expense of placing it on show.
Treaty 11 will likely be exhibited on the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife all through September and October, although the precise dates haven’t been introduced.
Suliak expects a schedule will likely be made obtainable to the general public so people who find themselves desirous about a selected web page or signature can plan their go to accordingly.
Turning of the pages will likely be carried out below “very strict” situations and won’t be accessible to the general public, she mentioned. The doc will likely be accompanied by a facsimile model, nonetheless, that folks will likely be allowed to the touch.
“The paper is totally different, clearly, but it surely seems to be precisely the identical as the unique treaty doc. You’ll be able to flip via it and see what it truly seems to be like,” mentioned Suliak.
Briony Grabke, a spokesperson for the N.W.T.’s schooling, tradition and employment division, mentioned the doc’s return to the North was requested by the Treaty 11 steering committee. The committee was organized by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs and included members of Gwich’in Tribal Council, Tłı̨chǫ Authorities, Sahtu Dene Council, Dehcho First Nations and Dene Nation, she mentioned.