CultureProviding culturally relevant programming and support is an important aspect of the Aboriginal Students' Centre's mandate. The ASC works hard to ensure that the University of Saskatchewan is a place where Aboriginal students feel comfortable, and have the opportunity to partake in cultural events. We also encourage non-Aboriginal students to get involved and learn more about Aboriginal culture by participating in the programming the ASC provides.
The Aboriginal Students' Centre (ASC) has provided Elders Service since 1999. Elders host a bi-weekly soup and bannock lunch at the ASC from September to March each academic year. The elders are also available for counseling and / or teachings.
Due to the fact that their time on campus is limited, feel free to use the soup and bannock lunches as an opportunity to meet the Elders and arrange for another meeting if need be. The Aboriginal Students' Centre recognzies the uniqueness of different Aboriginal groups, and makes a conscious effort to bring in Elders from different geographic locations, and language groups. Some of the Elders who have been to the ASC include:
- Dexter Asapace
- Stanley Asapace
- Veronica Duquette
- William Duquette
- Maria Linklater
- Walter Linklater
- Ivan Lonechild
- Darlene Speidel
- Donald Speidel
Cultural Support and Programming
Bi-monthly Creative Native Hour
The Aboriginal Students' Centre (ASC) works hard to build community within the University of Saskatchewan. Every other week "Creative Native" is held at the ASC, where students are taught how to make a variety of traditional crafts. For students, this is an opportunity to learn something new or hone their current skills. The making of crafts also allows students some time to decompress, and ease the overwhelming stress that becomes all to common. We have done many different things including: beading, drum making, a feather art.
Bi-monthly Soup and Bannock
Throughout the academic year there will be many opportunities to meet with different Elders at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre (ASC) and enjoy a meal of soup and bannock. Food and the sharing of meals with everyone is an important part of First Nations culture. First Nations people are generous and traditionally display their wealth by giving away goods, in keeping with this, the ASC hosts Soup and Bannock lunches to honor these traditions. The ASC staff believes in global sustainability. Use of foam and plastic is not contributing to the long-term health of Mother Earth. As a result, the ASC will be phasing out the use of foam bowls and plastic spoons for the traditional soup and bannock. Please bring your own bowl and spoon for the Elders’ soup and bannock-treat this event is similar to a feast!
Monthly Pipe Ceremonies
A pipe ceremony is a spiritual time where tobacco is placed into a pipe bowl and prayers are rendered by an Elder/Traditional Knowledge Keeper and blessed by the smudge of sweet grass, sage or cedar. The pipe ceremony is a very highly honored rite that is only given to certain people such as an Elder, Leader or Traditional Knowledge Keeper. In some areas only men are allowed to smoke the pipe while women observe (Saulteaux/Nahkawē, Cree and Nakota), and in others the pipe is shared to smoke with men and women (Lakota, Dakota and Nakota). Some First Nations have women pipe keepers that only the women are allowed to smoke.
This ceremony is used for many different reasons such as blessing, honouring, commemorating and paying respect to a deity, or may be held to pray in a humble way. A pipe ceremony could be 30 minutes to two hours in length depending on the Elder/Traditional Knowledge Keeper and what First Nation they come from.
Quarterly Sweatlodge Ceremonies
First Nations Elders recommend that each person enters the Sweat Lodge with appropriateness, kindness, and with prayers. Participants have their own reasons for participating in a Sweat Lodge ceremony and participants should undertake the Sweat Lodge ceremony with positive energies, feelings and emotions. First Nations Elders are role models that exemplify this behavior and mindset. As in any ceremony, appropriate dress and attire is needed. Each Elder may have different practices so please consult with the Elder conducting the ceremony you are attending. The Aboriginal Students’ Centre arranges sweatlodges throughout the year. Please contact the Cultural Coordinator Bob Badger at the Aboriginal Students’ Centre for more information.
The Aboriginal Students' Centre (ASC) is pleased to have Bob Badger on staff as the Cultural Coordinator. Bob works hard to ensure that Aboriginal culture is fairly and appropriately represented on the University campus. He is available for one-on-one advising, and is a valuable resource regarding Aboriginal culture and traditional protocol.
- Partnership with The Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC)
- Treaty Talks with OTC
- Information about Treaties
- Dispelling Myths
On March 19th, 2012 the University of Saskatchewan launched Aboriginal Achievement Week with the signing of a strategic alliance with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner. The event signified the commitment of the two institutions to educate students, staff and faculty on the importance of the treaties and the responsibilities that flow from those treaties. Based upon this strategic alliance, the Aboriginal Students’ Centre (ASC) and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) have committed to develop, implement and report on a sustainable strategy to provide treaty education on campus. As the University enters its Third Integrated Plan, the strategic alliance is seen by the Aboriginal Students’ Centre as a significant instrument to assist us in realizing our institutional commitment to celebrate and promote diversity/inclusiveness so that we have a truly respectful and supportive educational and workplace environment.
On March 11th, 2013 the strategic alliance between the University of Saskatchewan and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner was resigned to renew the partnership. The department of Native Studies and the Indigenous Students' Council signed the strategic alliance as new stakeholders in the partnership.
Strategic Alliance Successes:
- ASC hosted eight Speakers Bureau presentations on Treaties to the campus throughout the academic year
- ASC & OTC created a cultural tab within the ASC Student Handbook as well as resources for our website. ASC provided assistance in promoting “we are all Treaty people” slogan within the university and successfully merged “We are Treaty People” Week with Aboriginal Achievement Week.
- Provided information and referrals to resources about OTC Treaty Education Kits and other valuable OTC resources.
- Collaborated on events to ensure OTC has a presence on campus such as community building events for students and staff.
The Aboriginal Students' Centre (ASC) hosts eight Speakers Bureau presentations on Treaties on campus throughout the academic year. These 'Treaty Talks' presentations are part of the strategic alliance between the University of Saskatchewan and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC). The goal of these presentations is to inform students, and staff about treaties, establish a dialogue on the University campus about treaties, and improve relations between all Saskatchewan residents. Presentations include information about the Treaty making process, as well as information addressing the continuing misconceptions and issues surrounding Treaties. The presentations look at the historical, current, and future significance and importance of treaties in Canada, for both First Nations and non-First Nations people. Students and staff are encouraged to ask questions, and participate in the discussion to make it as informative and beneficial as possible.
What is a Treaty?
A Treaty is a formal agreement between two parties. The Numbered Treaties, which cover all of Saskatchewan, are formal agreements that created a relationship between the Crown and First Nations. As a result, each party has certain expectations and obligations, both explicit and implicit. The Numbered Treaties provided First Nations with such things as annuities, education, reserves and protection of their traditional economies, while the Crown acquired the means to open up territories, including modern day Saskatchewan, for settlement and agricultural and resource development. First Nations and the Federal Government differ, however, in how they view Treaties – First Nations see the Treaties as covenants, while the Federal Government sees them primarily as contracts. First Nations believe that the Treaties are land sharing agreements, witnessed by the Creator, between two sovereign parties that established a permanent relationship. The Federal Government acknowledges their solemnity, but they view the Treaties as land surrender agreements whereby First Nations ceded their territories to the Crown. As well, First Nations believe that the spirit of the agreement is what is most important, including oral commitments, whereas the Federal Government believes the written text is what is most important.
When were Treaties negotiated in Canada?
Treaties have been negotiated in Canada between First Nations and the Crown in both the pre and post Confederation eras. Pre-Confederation Treaties include the Peace and Friendship Treaties on the East Coast, the Treaty of Swegatchy (Southern Quebec), the Murray Treaty of 1760 (Quebec), the Upper Canada Treaties (Southern Ontario), the Robinson Treaties (Ontario), the Douglas Treaties of Vancouver Island, the Selkirk Treaty (Manitoba) and the Manitoulin Island Treaties (Ontario). The first post-1867 Treaty was Treaty 1, which was concluded on August 3, 1871 at the Hudson’s Bay Company post, Lower Fort Garry. Treaty 2 was signed on August 21, 1871 at the Manitoba House Post and Treaty 3, or the North-West Angle Treaty, was concluded on October 3, 1873, near the Lake of the Woods. The first of the Treaties in present-day Saskatchewan was Treaty 4, concluded on September 14, 1875 at the Qu’Appelle Lakes. The rest of the Numbered Treaties were concluded between 1876, when Treaty 6 was negotiated, and 1921, when Treaty 11 was concluded. Treaties have also been signed in the modern era, with the negotiation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975 and most recently, the Nisga’a Treaty, which was concluded in 1999.
Why were the Numbered Treaties negotiated?
Both First Nations and the Crown had a history of Treaty making prior to first contact. First Nations and Europeans continued the Treaty making approach with each other in order to secure military and trade alliances through ‘Peace and Friendship’ Treaties during the early colonial period and the fur trade. With the issuing of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 by King George III, official guidelines were established for the acquisition of First Nations land whereby only the Crown could enter into Treaty negotiations with First Nations. The British Crown then embarked on a series of Treaties with First Nations primarily in Ontario in order to open up areas for settlement, farming and mining. After Confederation in 1867, the Dominion of Canada looked to the North-West Territories to expand and followed the precedent that had been set for Treaty making. Between 1871 and 1921, eleven Numbered Treaties were negotiated between the Crown and First Nations covering the territories from present-day Ontario to Alberta and portions of British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
What were the Crown’s and First Nations’ reasons for wanting a Treaty relationship?
The Crown wanted to establish a relationship with First Nations because they wanted access to the land and resources of western and northern Canada. The western prairies were a large part of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald’s ‘National Policy’, which envisioned the west as an agricultural producing region full of European immigrants. Macdonald’s government also needed to complete a railway from Ontario to British Columbia in order to ensure that B.C. would remain in Confederation. The Crown was also afraid of the expansionist tendencies of the United States, who was looking northwards to expand its borders. If Canada did not settle the land in the west, it was conceivable that the Americans would. Canada and the First Nations also wanted to avoid the same type of Indian Wars that were occurring in the United States as the cost had been great, both financially and in lives lost. First Nations had differing reasons for wanting a Treaty relationship with the Crown. During the 1870s, First Nations were going through a period of transition. Diseases, such as small pox, were wiping out large numbers of First Nations people. The decline of the buffalo, the Plains First Nations main source of food, was creating starvation conditions in First Nations communities. The decline of the fur trade was also affecting the livelihood of First Nations in northern areas. With their traditional way of life slowly disappearing, First Nations saw the Treaties as a bridge to the future and a way to provide for their future generations.
What is a Treaty Adhesion?
The Treaty adhesion process was just as significant as the Treaty negotiation process. Adhesions were signed with First Nations throughout the areas dealt with in the initial Treaty negotiations and often continued for several years, sometimes decades, following the negotiations. Treaty adhesions were signed because some bands were not present at the original Treaty negotiations. For example, Little Pine was not present at the Treaty 6 negotiations at Fort Pitt or Fort Carlton in 1876; however Little Pine did adhere to Treaty 6 in 1879 at Fort Walsh. First Nations who adhered to existing Treaties are subject to the same conditions as the original signatories’. Likewise, the Crown is also subject to the same conditions and obligations. From the First Nations’ perspective, Treaty adhesions are just as significant as the Treaties themselves. Treaty adhesions are sacred agreements that created an ongoing relationship with the Crown, just as the original Treaties.
Who benefits from Treaties?
Treaties benefit all Canadians. Two parties are required to make a Treaty, with both parties having obligations and benefits that derive from the Treaty. In Saskatchewan, the Treaties contained benefits for both settlers and First Nations. First Nations received annuities, education, reserves, as well as farming assistance. Settlers received access to farmland and resources, as well as the peace and goodwill of First Nations.
What is a Treaty Right?
A Treaty Right is a personal or collective entitlement derived from a Treaty. For example, in Saskatchewan, Treaty First Nations have certain entitlements that flow from the Treaties, such as annuities, provisions for land and the right to hunt for themselves and their families. Other Canadians also have rights that come from the Crown signing Treaties, such as the right to settle and make a living on the land agreed to in the Treaties.
What do Treaties mean today?
Treaties are basic building blocks of the relationship between First Nations and the rest of Canada. It is clear that in the past, First Nations and the Crown had differing interpretations on what the Treaties meant. In Saskatchewan, the Government of Canada and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations have come to a common understanding about Treaties and are now using that understanding to reinvigorate the Treaty relationship. By building on the relationship created by the Treaties, the parties involved hope to address the well-being of both parties, including the entering into of arrangements whereby Treaty First Nations exercise jurisdiction and governance over their lands and people. Treaties are the building blocks for the future of the relationship between First Nations and the rest of Canada.
- Myth: Treaties are simple land transactions.
Fact: The treaties are permanent, legally-binding, solemn agreements between the Crown and First Nations peoples of Canada, In addition to land, the treaties create a fundamental political relationship, establishing obligations and expectations on both sides. This relationship includes the principles of peaceful co-existence and mutual benefit.
- Myth: Treaties have no relevance today; they are part of the past.
Fact: In 1982, when the Constitution was repatriated, Section 35 recognized and affirmed existing treaty rights. Like other rights and freedoms that all Canadians enjoy, treaty rights are guaranteed by the Canadian Constitution, which is the primary law of the land. We all live under the rule of law, so treaties must be honored. There is no expiration date on the treaties; they were intended to be enduring. The leaders who negotiated the treaties spoke about “children yet unborn” because they wanted the agreement to reflect the changing realities for the generations to come.
- Myth: Treaties benefit only the First Nations.
Fact: The treaties benefit all Canadians because they offer a unique foundation to build a harmonious future for all Canadian people. Prior to the turn of the last century, both the First Nations and the Government of Canada saw treaties as a viable means of defining how everyone could live together for the good of all.
- Myth: The written text of treaty is all that a person needs to understand treaties.
Fact: While the federal government relied on written documents, the First Nations relied on oral traditions regarding the “spirit and intent” of treaties. The First Nations believe the written documents do not capture the spirit and intent of the treaties from the First Nations’ perspective.
- Myth: The First Nations’ leaders did not understand the treaty process because they were uneducated.
Fact: At the time of treaty signing, the First Nations’ leaders who bargained the terms of the treaties were formidable negotiators and understood how the treaty rights and benefits would affect the future of their people.
- Myth: The First Nations did not have civilized societies and when the
Europeans came to North America, they taught the indigenous people how
to survive in this environment.
Fact: When Europeans arrived in North America, they found the First Nations had well-developed societies with their won forms of commerce, government, education, spirituality, technologies, etc., with similar conceptual base. The First Nations lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years, making them perfect environmentalists. They taught the Europeans essential survival skills because the newcomers found it difficult to exist in the harsh conditions; in fact, some would not have made it if it hadn’t been for the First Nations peoples.
- Myth: Treaties are a thing of the past or “frozen in time.”
Fact: Treaties are living agreements and were meant to last as long as the sun shines and the river flows.
- Myth: Treaties gave newcomers full access to resources.
Fact: When treaties were agreed to, First Nations agreed to only the depth of a plow.
- Myth: Only the First Nations are treaty people.
Fact: We are all treaty people.
The descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people – Indian, Métis and Inuit. These are three separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.
Those rights which Aboriginal peoples have because of their status as Aboriginal people in their own land.
A Saulteaux term describing themselves as the First People that came down from the Creator; coming down to be man.
Assembly of First Nations (AFN)
The Assembly speaks for First Nations people all across Canada, working with the federal government on a number of issues including those which are political, social, economic and health.
A group of First Nation’s people for whom lands have been set apart and money is held by the Crown. Each band has its own governing band council, usually consisting of one or more chiefs and several councilors. Community members choose the chief and councilors by election, or sometimes through traditional custom. The members of a band generally share common values, traditions, and practices rooted in their ancestral heritage. Today, many bands prefer to be known as First Nations.
The European name for First Nations living in central Canada. The Cree were divided into three main groups, the Plains Cree, the Woodland Cree and the Swampy Cree.
The customs, history, values and languages that make up the heritage of a person or people and contribute to that person’s or peoples’ identity. First Nations people use the term culture to refer to their traditional teachings: Beliefs, history, languages, ceremonies, customs, traditions, priorities (how life should be) and stories.
A large confederacy of bands scattered over the western plains, who speak the same root language. This group is sometimes referred to as Sioux, but have always called themselves Dakota or “our allies.”A term used by a Dakota (Assiniboine) speaking person in reference to the Oçeti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda) Nations that means those who consider themselves to be kindred.
The Athaspaskan-speaking peoples of northwestern Canada. This is their own name for themselves, describing themselves as “the people.”
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN)
Since its inception more than 50 years ago, the FSIN has provided strong and constructive First Nations government. The FSIN represents Saskatchewan First Nations and more than 96,000 First Nations citizens in this province.
A collective term that is used to refer to the original people of North America. It is important to recognize that there are many different Nations within the First Nations, each with their own culture, language, and territory. Other descriptions of “First Nations” include the following: 1) usually used to refer to a politically autonomous band under the Indian Act, a nation of First Peoples; and 2) a term that came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word “Indian”. Although the term “First Nation” is widely used, no legal definition of it exists. Among its uses, the term “First Nations peoples” refers to the descendants of the original inhabitants of Canada. The term “First Nation” has also been adopted to replace the word “band” in the name of communities.
A person who is registered as an Indian or is entitled to be registered as an Indian under the Indian Act. A term that describes all the Aboriginal people in Canada who are not Inuit or Métis. Indian peoples are one of three groups of people recognized as Aboriginal in the Constitution Act, 1982. There are three definitions that apply to Indians in Canada:Status Indians, Non-Status Indians and Treaty Indians. The use of the term “Indian” has declined since the 1970s, when the term “First Nation” came into common usage.
Canadian legislation first passed in 1876, and amended many times since then; defines as Indian in relation to federal obligation, and sets out a series of regulations applying to Indians living on reserve.
People living mainly in Northern Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and eastern Siberia, who are the original inhabitants of the Arctic known as the Eskimo people in the United States of America.
A term used by a Lakota speaking person in reference to the Oçeti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda) Nations that means those who consider themselves to be kindred.
A form of speech peculiar to a particular region; a language form with somewhat differing vocabulary, pronunciation or grammar (e.g. the Plains Cree word for “the people” is nêhiyawak, the Swampy Cree word is nêhinawak and the Woods Cree word is nêhithawak).
A term most frequently used by a Lakota speaking person to identify him or herself as being of Oçeti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda) ancestry.
A term most frequently used by a Dakota speaking person to identify him or herself as being of Oçeti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda) ancestry.
A term most frequently used by a Nakoda speaking person to identify him or herself as being of Oçeti Sakowin (Dakota, Lakota, Nakoda) ancestry.
People born of, or descended from, both European and First Nations parents. A distinctive Métis Nation developed in what is now southern Manitoba in the 1800s, and the descendants of these people later moved throughout the prairies. There are also many other groups of mixed ancestry people, who consider themselves Métis.
One of the Oçeti Sakowin sub-groups, the Nakoda occupied large areas of Saskatchewan. The Nakoda retained their own hunting territory, and are recognized as a separate nation.
An Indian person who is not registered as an Indian under the Indian Act. This may be because his or her ancestors were never registered, or because he or she lost Indian status under former provisions of the Indian Act.
Nêhiyawak (Nêhiñawak, Nêhithawak)
A Cree term describing the people of the Four Directions.
Treaties signed between 1871 and 1921, each numbered one to eleven, throughout the North and West. All contained some rights conferred on Indians, such as reserves and annuities, and in return the First Nations agreed to share vast tracts of land.
The political organization of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda peoples. Oçeti Sakowin is the term used, in their language, to refer to their historical and on-going social and political brotherhood. The Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda have often been referred to as Sioux, Assiniboine or Stoney. There are four dialects of the language which are spoken in Isanti (Dakota), Ihanktonwan (Nakoda), Hohe (Nakoda), and Titonwan (Lakota).
Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC)
The OTC was created by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Government of Canada to facilitate treaty discussions between the Government of Canada and First Nations.
Reinstated Status Indians
This includes people who regained their status on the Indian register as per the Bill C-31 amendment made to the Indian Act effective April 17, 1985. They are required to make further application to specific bands, usually the band from which they were enfranchised, to receive band membership. In reference to this group of people, the term Status Indian is sufficient.
Sometimes called the Ojibway, these First Nations were late comers to what is now Manitoba, settling primarily in southern areas through alliances with the Nakoda (Assiniboine) and Cree
Status Indian (First Nation)
Three definitions are as follows: 1) an Indian person who is registered as an Indian under the Indian Act and thus recognized by the federal government as an Indian and accorded the accompanying rights, benefits, and restrictions of the Indian Act and related policies; 2) Status Indians are registered or entitled to be registered under the Indian Act. The Act sets out the requirements for determining who is Status Indian; and 3) Status Indian is a commonly used term applied to a person who is registered as an Indian under the Indian Act; a Registered Indian is a person who, pursuant to the Indian Act is registered as an Indian or is entitled to be registered as an Indian.
Solemn agreements between two or more nations that create mutually binding obligations.
Treaty First Nation
A person who obtained treaty rights through treaty negotiations. Specifically, leaders and members of First Nations who negotiated treaty and passed on their treaty rights to their children, with exception to the Indian Act legislated situations.
Three definitions are as follows: 1) an Indian person whose forefathers signed a numbered treaty in which land was exchanged for certain listed payments, such as money, tools, and health and educational benefits. The term is often used in the Prairie Provinces as synonyms with status Indians; 2) Treaty Indians belong to a First Nation whose ancestors signed a treaty with the Crown and as a result are entitled to treaty benefits. Non-treaty Indians do not receive the same benefits; and 3) this term is used to refer to Indian people or descendants of Indian people who entered into treaties with the Crown or Canadian government.