ᑲᐢᑲᐸᑕu ᓴᑲᐦᐃgᐊᐣ (kaskapatau sakahigan) / Димне озеро (Dymne ozero) / Lac qui Fume / Smoky Lake,
Located in Treaty 6 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation
On May 27, 2021, Smoky Lake County Council adopted Policy Statement 01-53:
"Smoky Lake County acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory and homeland of the Métis Nation. We benefit from calling this place home, and acknowledge the contributions of First Nations, the Métis, and settlers from around the world in the County’s founding and growth. We respect these histories, languages, and cultures, which continue to enrich our vibrant community."
(above/below) Flag Raising Ceremony, August 13, 2021, with then-Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations Grand Chief Vernon Watchmaker, then-Metis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras, and Smoky Lake County Council.
What is a Treaty?
“The Government of Canada and the courts understand treaties between the Crown and Aboriginal people to be solemn agreements that set out promises, obligations and benefits for both parties.”
From the perspective of First Nations, treaties are built on respectful, cooperative and nation-to-nation relationships between First Nations and the Crown on behalf of present and future generations. Treaties outline the rights, obligations and benefits of the signing parties to each other. The intention of the Crown was to gain title to the lands for their own claim. First Nations had other beliefs surrounding the negotiations of the treaty. To the First Nations these treaties are about sharing the land and resources and not extinguishment of title. The intent and provisions of the treaties do not end. This was acknowledged through a ceremonial and sacred agreement that incorporated the spirit and intent for treaties to last, “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and rivers flow.”
How did Treaty 6 come to be?
Treaty 6 covers the central west portions of present-day Alberta and Saskatchewan. It was first signed on August 23, 1876 at Fort Carlton and on September 9, 1876 at Fort Pitt, Saskatchewan between the Crown, Cree, Chipweyan, and Stoney nations.
Adhesions (further signatories) were made throughout Saskatchewan and Alberta including Fort Edmonton in 1877, Blackfoot Crossing in 1877, Sounding Lake in 1879, and Rocky Mountain House in 1944 and 1950.
What obligations, rights and benefits are included in Treaty 6?
From the Crown’s perspective, all treaties included the surrendering of large parcels of land to the Crown with small parcels set aside for reserve land. First Nations signatories to Treaty 6, however, were assured that they were agreeing to share the land and its resources rather than to completely surrender it to the Crown. Asotamaakewina (promises) made to the First Nations included farm equipment, farm animals, annuities, ammunition, and rights to hunt and fish on traditional territory. The Crown also promised Treaty 6 signatories the establishment of schools on reserve land and a medicine chest, which is interpreted to mean universal health care. To address the concern over loss of traditional food sources, a promise of rations during times of pestilence and famine was added.
- Smoky Lake County Policy Statement 01-53
- Royal Proclamation of 1763
- Gradual Civilization Act
- Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada
- Calls to Action
- Final Report of the TRC
- Vol 1: Canada’s Residential Schools: The History, Part 1 Origins to 1939
- Vol 1: Canada’s Residential Schools: The History, Part 2 1939 to 2000
- Vol 2: Canada’s Residential Schools: The Inuit and Northern Experience
- Vol 3: Canada’s Residential Schools: The Métis Experience
- Vol 4: Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials
- Vol 5: Canada’s Residential Schools: The Legacy
- Vol 6: Canada’s Residential Schools: Reconciliation
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
- Map of Residential Schools Across Canada, Courtesy of CBC