Treaty 2 Territory – This year, the federal government passed legislation creating a statutory holiday on September 30th called the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. It was meant to provide “an opportunity for each public servant to recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools. This may present itself as a day of quiet reflection or participation in a community event.” Federal Statutory Holiday: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation – Canada.ca
When a child is born, it’s first social, cultural, spiritual, mental, emotional and human experience (the first sense of belonging) is with parents and siblings…parents are graced with a lifelong and sacred responsibility to protect, nurture, model and teach their children responsibility, cooperation and a sense of community.
Sadly, this bond and sense of belonging was forcibly taken away from our people through the residential school systems over generations. These schools were not educational institutes – it was meant to assimilate and take the Indian out of the child! It was a colonial and a governmental genocidal strategy to eliminate the greatness of a Nation and to steal their lands, wealth, prosperity and resources.
In our Nation, our children are sacred and must have equal rights and opportunities to contribute to the survival of the family and our future as a strong and healthy Anishinaabe Nation.
As part of the reclamation and restoration of our nationhood and sovereignty, our communities are pursuing jurisdiction by reconstructing our own written natural laws. Laws that bring out and respect the natural and ancestral roles of responsibility and that protect the children within their own Nation as a whole.
Everyone must have a meaningful role in the family survival in order to foster belonging, independence, and responsibility.
Moving forward from the tragedy of residential schools, the Nations are working hard to focus on “healing”. Trauma informed support to recover from the residential schools is necessary to heal our Nation. We know we can be part of something bigger to reclaim what was taken from us and restore our place in Turtle Island!
The finding of the children’s graves across Turtle Island, Canada and United States have been devastating to our mental wellbeing and retriggering for many. It has also impacted other Canadians and the international community revealing evidence and proof of the degree of harm and genocide against the First Peoples in North America. This tragedy and genocide of our ancestors who were children must never happen again.
FNT2T has created a “Declaration of the People of Treaty 2 Territory with respect to Children of the Residential School system”. We promise to protect the Treaty, inherent and human rights of our Nations’ children so they can live their optimal well-being, build self-confidence and identity, as a sacred responsibility granted to us by the Creator.
FNT2T will continue to demand and advocate for the governments of Canada and Manitoba take accountability of their roles in participating in this tragedy and support the Treaty 2 Local Nations by taking appropriate and immediate action. We need those governments to implement Treaty 2 and fund Local Nations to develop and implement laws, restore lands and resources stolen, fund wellbeing healing supports and programs, fund Local Nations where their children were sent to find them and repatriate them home. We need funding to restore our rightful place in society and prosper through fiscal transfers to support governance, infrastructure, technology, housing, schools, family programs, mental wellness, primary health care, and so much more.
There are many opportunities to work together in partnership as one with governments, society, the public and Local Nations to heal our Nation and country. They need to work with us to lead the full implementation of Treaty 2, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Calls to Action from Truth and Reconciliation and most recently the Calls to Justice from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National Inquiry.
The time is now to heal the Local Nations, Turtle Island and the country and there is no excuse to not move forward. Healing our Nations will heal society and the country as a whole.
We encourage all citizens to advocate for change and support for self-determination and implementation of the treaties. We encourage all citizens to learn their history and the current impacts.
Written by: Lois Stoll, Children, Families, and Nation (CFN) Operations Keeper with special credits to Kim McPherson.
CFN Team Members of Treaty 2: John Miswagon, Policy Keeper, Savannah Stagg, Research and Engagement, Dakota Marsden, CFN Administration
Declaration of the People of Treaty 2 Territory with respect to Children of the Residential School system
Whereas the People of Treaty 2 Territory recognize and affirm the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Articles and principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Calls to Justice of the MMIWG2SL+ National Inquiry;
Whereas the People of Treaty 2 Territory recognize the responsibility to care and protect our children, to be custodians of their safety, to promote their well-being, to build their self-confidence, to help build their identity, as a sacred responsibility granted to us by the Creator;
Whereas the People of Treaty 2 Territory have survived the dispossession and erosion of our traditional family structures and natural law and have resisted and survived the genocide of forceful removal of our children throughout the history of residential schools;
Whereas the People of Treaty 2 Territory are protective of our children’s safety, the preservation and reclamation of family and community well-being as the best assurance to building a strong and healthy Nation of Anishinaabe;
Whereas the People of Treaty 2 Territory demand that Canada and the provinces uphold the Crown’s honour by determining the identities of all of the missing indigenous children from residential schools, utilizing the resources of Canadian provincial and federal governments;
Whereas the People of Treaty 2 territory demand that Canada determine the persons and institutions involved in the harm to our children and take appropriate and immediate action to hold those accountable:
Therefore be it resolved, that the People of Treaty 2 Territory, as represented by their Chiefs, their Knowledge Keepers, their families and communities, hereby declare that for the protection, safety and well-being of their children, their families, and the nation of People within Treaty 2 Territory:
To the past, present and future children of Treaty 2 territory:
- We declare that being forcibly separated and displaced from family, the community and the Nation will never happen again;
- We declare that every child has inherent Indigenous rights, human rights and Treaty rights to life;
- We declare that every child is sacred, is born with gifts, is valued, shall be loved and has the right to optimal spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing.
- We declare the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, diversity, sexual orientation, culture, language, freedom, name and family relations as recognized by inherent and natural laws without interference.
- We declare that we will use our best efforts to ensure that governments and institutions provide the parents or members of the family all records and information for identification, reporting, investigation, and accountability of child mistreatment.
- We declare that we will find the children who are missing and bring them home;
- We declare that we will strive to prevent, heal and address the traumatic impacts from historical and contemporary injustices and discrimination;
- We declare that children will be treated fairly, equally, and with dignity;
- We declare that we will work to hard to repair the harms of genocide and colonization.
- We Declare that children have the right and opportunities to a full education, access to sports and recreation, land-based activities;
- We declare that children will have a quality life free from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse;
- We declare that our ancestral and natural laws will benefit children now and seven generations into the future.
- We declare that children have a right to be protected and safe by meeting their needs such as housing, food sovereignty, safe drinking water, access to traditional territory, lands and resources, technology, social security (eliminate poverty), clean environment, medical care.
Last modified: September 23, 2021