Ontario, NAN sign Treaty Relationship Agreement
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler have signed a new Treaty Relationship Agreement, vowing to strengthen the relationship between the province and Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
Wynne and Fiddler signed the document April 17 at Queen’s Park.
“This agreement reflects a revitalized relationship between the province and NAN as treaty partners. It lays the foundation for more meaningful discussions on priority issues that affect First Nation people and communities, such as economic development, resource development, environmental protection, socio-economic conditions, health, and education,” a news release issued by the province states.
“Hundreds of years after the first treaties were signed, they continue to be part of the relationships we are building and enhancing -- and today is evidence of their enduring importance. This signing of the Treaty Relationship Agreement is another step toward a more modern and mutually beneficial partnership between Ontario and NAN, and marks a new chapter in the government’s commitment to reconciliation and collaboration to make sure First Nation communities in Ontario are able to thrive,” the new release further informed.
“We are pleased to strengthen our relationship with the Government of Ontario with an agreement that recognizes Ontario as a treaty partner to NAN First Nations. Working with the province to understand the spirit and intent of the Treaty, and the recognition of our communities as equal partners, will ensure that they can prosper,” Fiddler remarked.
Wynne stated, “It’s important that we continue to work together to create a future where our children and grandchildren can grow up in happy, safe, and prosperous communities across Ontario. A vital step toward this future is ensuring the treaty relationship between Ontario and First Nations is modern and mutually beneficial. I recognize the deeply important role that treaty-making has had in shaping what is now Ontario. It is a living and ongoing process. And today is evidence that together, we can focus on engaging in respectful dialogue about the key issues that matter to Nishnawbe Aski Nation and all First Nations, and build on our commitment to reconciliation, mutual respect, and accountability.”
David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, commented, “This significant Treaty Relationship Agreement provides us with an opportunity to work in partnership with Nishnawbe Aski Nation on our common goals to ensure treaty relationships are mutually beneficial and responsive to modern-day realities. The agreement will create open dialogue to discuss the unique challenges of First Nation communities and aim to improve the quality of life for people living in Nishnawbe Aski Nation territory.”
Nishnawbe Aski Nation represents 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario’s portion of Treaty No. 5 — an area covering two-thirds of the province of Ontario.