In Ontario, Treaties Recognition Week takes place the first week of November each year. It was introduced in 2016 as one way to honour the importance of treaties and to help Ontarians learn more about treaty rights and relationships.
The Leddy Library invites users to explore a variety of resources this week: from print to electronic books, primary archival resources, and even physical replicas of existing treaties in the form of wampum belts, a form of treaty used in 1600s to establish relationships between certain Indigenous communities and early European settlers.
While European text-based treaties are an important resource to use in the classroom, the Leddy Library provides access to two replica wampum belts for faculty and staff to use in their teaching, the Two Row wampum belt used in 1613 to mark the agreement of Turtle Island and the Dish with One Spoon used in 1701 during the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
In addition, the Curriculum Resource Centre includes a Lego wampum belt kit “We are all...Treaty people,” for education students to assist in their indigenizing the curriculum and decolonizing classrooms from K-12.
The library has collected in one area books and other resources regarding local history and treaties. It has been supplemented with a collection of children’s materials regarding treaties, and a list of books from a broader perspective regarding treaties from both European and Indigenous perspectives.
“Treaties are a part of the warp and weave of Canada’s history, and the history of every resident of this land,” said Jennifer Soutter, Indigenous outreach librarian at Leddy Library. “It’s important we recognize and understand these agreements as we continue our journey of learning and reconciliation.”
A digital copy of the Huron and the Jesuits Land Grant, representing an agreement about land the main campus the University of Windsor resides within, has also been made available for viewing by Leddy’s Archives, along with an English translation.
In addition to exploring the Leddy Library’s resources, Ontario.ca encourages you to participate in the virtual Living Library event We are all Treaty People on Nov. 6 from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The event features a one-hour panel discussion followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session.
Moderator Bob Goulais is an Anishinaabe from Nipissing First Nation. An experienced senior executive and consultant, he has more than 20 years of service to industry, government, not-for-profit ,and Indigenous organizations, specializing in community engagement and strategic communications specifically reaching First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities.
Panellist Robert Greene is an Anishinaabe of the Ojibway Nation, born and raised on the reserve of Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation. A certified counsellor and complex trauma therapist, he has extensive experience working as an elder, spiritual care giver, mental health counsellor, and cultural advisor.
The other panellist, Maurice Switzer, is a citizen of the Mississaugas of Alderville First Nation. He has served as publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press, Director of Communications for the Assembly of First Nations and Union of Ontario Indians, and an adjunct professor of Indigenous Studies on the Laurentian University campus.
Learn more about treaties on the Ontario website: https://www.ontario.ca/page/treaties.