Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

The Métis experience in treaty making must be told

Highlighting the Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3 as a part of Treaties Recognition Week

 

November 8, 2021



[KENORA, ONTARIO, November 5, 2021] As a part of Treaties Recognition Week, the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community is raising awareness about the “Halfbreeds of Rainy Lake and Rainy River.” The Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3 is the only instance of a Métis community collectively adhering to one of the historic treaties negotiated with First Nations across Canada.

Treaties Recognition Week serves as an opportunity to tell truths about the history of Ontario as well as respect the sacred agreements and relationships settler governments established with the various Indigenous peoples who occupied Ontario long before Canada became Canada and Ontario became Ontario.

“Our unique history and existence as a Métis community in Northwestern Ontario with Treaty rights and broken Crown promises must be told as a part of Treaties Recognition Week’” said Theresa Stenlund, MNO Regional Councilor for the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community. “Canada’s breach of the honour of the Crown effectively defeats the very purpose of the Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3 and requires reconciliation.”

Métis in this region pressed their land and rights claims in the Fort Frances area in the 1870s and ultimately negotiated with Canada and collectively adhered to the Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3 in 1875 as a distinct group. Following the signing of the Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3 in 1875, Parliament passed the first Indian Act in 1876.

With the passage of the Indian Act and the organization of the Department of Indian Affairs around this new legislation, federal officials then refused to continue to recognize the Halfbreeds of Rainy Lake and River as a distinct Métis group and uphold the Crown’s promises made to them as a collective, despite the expressed language and promises in Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3.

In effect, the Halfbreeds of Rainy Lake and River were provided only two options: (1) become “Indians” under the Indian Act, or (2) receive no benefits from their Treaty with the Crown. These government policies breached the promises made to the Halfbreeds of Rainy Lake and River and the Honour of the Crown.

While some of the members of the Halfbreeds of Rainy Lake and River decided to become “Indians” under the Indian Act and amalgamated with Bands in the Fort Frances area, many did not. Today, the descendants of the Halfbreeds of Rainy Lake and River continue to exist as a distinct Métis community within Northwestern Ontario.

Despite repeated efforts, the promises made in the 1875 Métis Adhesion have never been honoured by the Crown; nor have the Métis community’s other claims and rights been fully recognized. This is now changing. In 2017, Canada and the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community signed the MNO-Canada Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community. This agreement recognizes this unique history and commits the parties to negotiation on a “shared solution.”

“We call upon all Ontarians to learn more about the history of Treaties in Ontario and the unique place of the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community in the treaty-making process in Ontario,” said Captain of the Hunt Sandy Triskle. “Through education, we hope Métis community and citizens will ultimately see justice in relation to our unique Métis Treaty with the Crown.”

“The Métis experience in treaty making—whether that be through exclusion to date or by breaches of the Halfbreed Adhesion to Treaty No. 3—must be told. The NWOMC, is working hard to ensure this happens,” said Regional Councillor Stenlund.

Additional Resources:

• This informative booklet contains more information on the history and context of the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community

• A copy of the MNO-Canada Agreement on Advancing Reconciliation with the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community is available here

• The rights and claims of the Northwestern Ontario Métis Community are summarized in this short video

 

Reader Comments(0)

 
 

Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2021

Rendered 12/01/2021 12:31