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The Truth Behind Treaty 8
Transcript of The Truth Behind Treaty 8
The Europeans hadn't considered having a treaty for the Northern area because it wasn't an ideal place for them to settle. However in the 1890's the Gold Rush lured them in to explore the territory.
With the Europeans in that area trying to claim the resources and land, there was increased contact with the First Nations. This also led to conflict and so, Treaty 8 was created. It allowed the government to get along with them, but
on their own terms
Even now, a century later, the treaty is still valid and just as significant as it was in 1899.
The Canadian Government would not have been able to claim the land unless these treaties were made. The Numbered Treaties are an important part of our country's history.
In that time, the Europeans only goal was to claim land and receive the wealth that came with it. They weren't thinking about how and who they would affect. A lot of the things they did when exploring and settling, were based on selfishness and greed.
They knew that they had to make the treaties appeal to First Nations.
In the end, the government came out with more winnings from the deal. They got a larger amount of land, the resources (gold and other valuable items) that came with it, and control over it all.
The treaty is still in place and is no less significant than earlier. The only difference is that some people think the First Nations are not respected. They have been assimilated to a certain extent. Even back when the treaty was first made, the First Nations didn't benefit nearly as much as the government.
Fair or Flawed?
What is it?
Treaty 8 is one of the eleven numbered treaties that the government of Canada signed with First Nations people.
It was an agreement between Queen Victoria and 39 different groups of First Nations located in the Lesser Slave Lake area. It was signed on June 21st, 1899 near Grouard, Alberta.
The treaty covers 840 000 square kilometers in Northern Alberta, Northeastern British Columbia, Northwestern Saskatchewan, and a Southern part of the Northwest Territories.
First Nations Perspective
"As long as the sun shines, grass grows, and the rivers flow..."
Amanda Seredynski - Gebka
The First Nations were not going to sign something that would change the way they lived. So, the Europeans made sure to have these included:
the opportunity to get an education
the right to fish and hunt on their land
annuity and gratuity money
exemption of taxes
security during wars
Annuity/ Gratuity Money
Security During Wars
The treaty promised that First Nation children would be given the opportunity to register in Residential Schools.
However, some people think the Europeans only did it so that they could make the Aboriginal peoples more appealing and sophisticated. This was when the assimilation of First Nations began.
Hunting & Fishing
Hunting, trapping, and fishing are all important parts of the First Nation lifestyle. First Nations used to rely on the land and use almost every part of nature.
Treaty 8 allowed them to continue hunting and fishing on the reserves as long as the land was not serving a different purpose. Furthermore, there was no limit on these rights. The First Nations could hunt and fish freely.
Land was given to each family. The size was determined by how many family members there were.
This land became their territory. It was the only place they occupied as a living space. It was also the only place that they were allowed to hunt and fish as they wanted to.
It took almost twenty years until the treaty was finalized.
It all started in 1891 when the original survey of the
area was conducted. The results showed that there was lots of value there.
However, after our first Prime
Minister died, there was a long
break in negotiations of the treaty.
In 1899, it was finally signed.
It wasn't until 1910 that most of the kinks were sorted out and the majority of the conditions had been carried out.
There were also some new bands of First Nations added to the treaty.
First Nation bands were exempt from taxes because of the treaty. Some people believe that this might be one of the reasons that the government took a while to fulfill all the promises of the treaty. It was just another addition to encourage the First Nations to sign.
The government promised to protect the First Nations in the event of a war. They also made sure to include in the treaty that First Nations wouldn't have to participate in
fought by the
Healthcare was included in the treaty as an extra bonus to push them towards signing the agreement.
All healthcare needs would be covered by the government.
Depending on their ranking, they would receive a certain amount of money:
Indians - $12
Headmen - $22
Chiefs - $32
The government spent more than $26 000 when paying the First Nations.
The government refused to help any First Nations when there was no treaty. The First Nations signed it to gain support and security. They thought they were agreeing to share the land, not give it up. The treaty itself didn't translate to their language properly. First Nations were not able to fully understand. The government did not respect the treaty as much as the First Nations did. They broke some of the promises that were made in Treaty 8. The government took advantage of the Natives.
So was it fair?
Treaty 8 was beyond beneficial for the government. However, the First Nations were not as lucky. Therefore, the treaty is not fair because it doesn't give both parties equal benefits.