Videos: Indigenous voices on treaties
Watch these videos to hear Indigenous speakers share their knowledge about the importance of treaties, treaty relationships and rights in Ontario.
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Note to viewers
The biographies below were provided by speakers when the videos were made. Some details may have changed since the time of recording.
Chad Solomon (and Rabbit) on what is a promise
What is a promise is explained by Rabbit, a character from the Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws series. This video is for elementary students in Grades 1 to 3 and viewers of all ages.
About Chad Solomon, Artist and Storyteller, Treaty 13
Chad Solomon is a member of the Henvey Inlet First Nation. As a child, he and his family visited with his grandparents in the French River, Ontario area. Art Solomon, Chad’s grandfather and traditional healer and justice activist, spent his time building wooden toys and playing with Chad and his siblings — even tobogganing with them in the winter. Chad learned from his grandfather that no matter how old you become, you should always be young-at-heart and that laughter is the greatest medicine. This is the spirit behind the comical Adventures of Rabbit and Bear Paws series.
Maurice Switzer on what is a treaty anyway
Migizi Eagle explains what a treaty is to his granddaughter, Phoenix Eagle, through the reading of the comic book Grandpa…what is a Treaty, anyway? This video is for elementary students in Grades 4 to 6 and viewers of all ages.
About Maurice Switzer, Knowledge Keeper, Williams Treaties
Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation and lives in North Bay. His public education practice, Nimkii Communications, focuses on how the treaty relationship made the peaceful settlement of Canada possible. He is the author of We are all Treaty People, Nation to Nation: A resource on treaties in Ontario and Grandpa, what is a treaty, anyway?
Maurice is currently a director with the North Bay Indigenous Friendship Centre and a member of Nipissing University's Indigenous Council on Education. He has served as a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, director of communications for the Assembly of First Nations and Union of Ontario Indians, adjunct professor of Indigenous Studies at Laurentian University and editor or publisher at five daily newspapers, including the Winnipeg Free Press.
Brenda Collins on what is a Wampum belt
Brenda Collins, an Indigenous artist, showcases various Wampum belts to:
- help share their meaning
- show how they represent a treaty
- show how to read and make them
This video is for elementary students in Grades 4-6 and viewers of all ages.
About Brenda Collins, Knowledge Keeper, Treaty 94
Brenda Collins is an Indigenous artist born in Blind River, who now lives in London, Ontario. She is the five times great-granddaughter of Chief Jean Baptist Assiginack, the keeper and great orator of the 1764 covenant chain wampum belt. Her mother is a band member of the Sheshegwaning First Nation.
Brenda travels throughout Southwestern Ontario spreading the Indigenous word through wampum belt workshops, Land Acknowledgements and guiding others in the creation of The Four Races of Mankind Medicine Wheel/Healing Circle mosaic.
Robert Greene on how treaties affect all aspects of life
Robert Greene, a Knowledge Keeper, relays the history and impact of treaties on Indigenous peoples. This video is for secondary and older students.
About Robert Greene, Knowledge Keeper, Treaty 3
Robert Charles Greene was born and raised on the reserve of Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation (Shoal Lake Band No. 39) and is an Anishinaabe of the Ojibway Nation. He was sent away at 11 years old to attend the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School and graduated with honours from the Beaver Brae Secondary School in Kenora, Ontario.
He is a certified counselor and complex trauma therapist currently working as a Cultural Advisor, providing cultural and spiritual supports to Indigenous men who have mental health challenges. He has also worked as an Elder, Indigenous Spiritual Care Giver, independent consultant, and mental health counselor and therapist.
Bentley Cheechoo on becoming a treaty Knowledge Keeper
Bentley Cheechoo, a Knowledge Keeper and retired Chief, speaks of his childhood treaty education from Elders and how he continues to educate Indigenous and non-Indigenous children about treaties. This video is for secondary students and older students.
About Bentley Cheechoo, Knowledge Keeper, Treaty 9
Bentley Cheechoo was originally a member of Moose Cree First Nation but is now a member of Constance Lake First Nation. From an early age, Ben was taught the true facts about treaties by Elders. Unknown to Ben, this was the beginning of becoming a Knowledge Keeper on treaties.
Ben served as Chief of Constance Lake First Nation for eight years. He later served two three-year terms as Deputy Grand Chief and two three-year terms as Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Today, Ben is semi-retired and lives with his lovely wife, Jane. He continues to pass on his treaty knowledge to Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
Darrell Boissoneau on pre-Confederation treaties
Darrell Boissoneau is from Garden River First Nation. He is the president of the higher-learning institute Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig.
Darrell shares his knowledge of pre-Confederation treaties, in particular the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850.
Bentley Cheechoo on treaties’ impact on his family
Bentley Cheechoo was originally a member of Moose Cree First Nation. In 1977 he was elected Chief of Constance Lake and served four two-year terms. In 1989, he was elected Deputy Grand Chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation. Three years later he was elected Grand Chief and served two three-year terms.
Bentley talks about the impact of treaties on his family.
Gerry Duquette Jr. on treaty responsibilities
Gerry Duquette Jr. is Chief of Dokis First Nation, located on the French River. The Dokis reserve is within the boundaries of the territory described by the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850.
Gerry discusses the benefits of respectful treaty relationships and the importance of understanding treaty responsibilities.
Margaret Froh on Métis experiences with treaties
Margaret Froh is the President of the Métis Nation of Ontario, the first woman to hold the position. She lives in Barrie, Ontario, which is within the traditional territory of the Georgian Bay Métis Community.
Margaret talks about Métis experiences with treaties.
Angela Loft on the importance of gift giving
Angela Loft is a multi-disciplinary artist from Kahnawake, Mohawk Territory. She is the Assistant Artistic Director of Jumblies Theatre, where she has spent two years researching and developing the immersive performance project Talking Treaties.
Angela discusses the importance of gift giving to the treaty process.
Sylvia Maracle on how the treaty process has changed
Sylvia Maracle, Executive Director of the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC), is an advocate for urban Indigenous peoples and women’s issues. She is a Mohawk from the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and a member of the Wolf Clan.
Sylvia talks about how the treaty process has changed since pre-Confederation times.
Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette on oral history and women’s role in treaty signing
Cora-Lee McGuire-Cyrette is Executive Director of the Ontario Native Women’s Association. She is from Sand Point First Nation and is a member of the Bear Clan.
Cora-Lee speaks about the importance of oral history and the critical role women played in treaty signings.
Maurice Switzer on reconciliation and treaty recognition
Maurice Switzer, Bnesi, is a citizen of Alderville First Nation, where his grandfather Moses Muskrat Marsden was Chief from 1905-1909. He lives in North Bay and is a member of the Washushk (Mississauga) and Okwaho (Kanien'keha) clans.
Maurice delivers presentations on treaty recognition as a key element of the reconciliation process and talks about issues related to the Williams Treaty.
Anne Taylor on Treaty 20 and land stewardship
Anne Taylor is a cultural archivist at the Curve Lake First Nation Cultural Centre. She is from Curve Lake First Nation.
Anne speaks about Treaty 20 as it relates to land stewardship.
Doug Williams on treaties' impact on First Nations languages and cultures
Doug Williams is an Associate Professor/Director of Studies for the Ph.D. Program at Trent University’s Chanie Wenjack School for Indigenous Studies. He is from Curve Lake, which is part of Treaty 20.
Doug speaks about the impact of treaties on First Nations languages and cultures.