Treaty Days at Fort Qu'Appelle:
New Understandings

“Everything I’ve seen and experienced here
over these past few days
is completely opposite to the images and stories I hear
day after day on the media.”

~ Participant

What happens when you bring together 14 people with open minds and hearts who come to learn something about their First Nations neighbours and the treaties that bind them together?

Each year during the Treaty Four celebrations in September at Fort Qu’Appelle, Calling Lakes Centre holds a concurrent event for new Canadians (read: "settlers") about the treaties. This years theme "We are all Treaty People" was ably led by Elder Bernice Saulteaux of Carry the Kettle First Nation. For the participants, it was a weekend full of surprises, experiences which touched the heart, overwhelmed the senses, and challenged many of our ideas about our Aboriginal neighbours, and about our own roles in the Treaties.

At the Treaty Four grounds, some of our group experienced a Grand Entry and a powwow for the first time in their lives. The Grand Entry was deeply moving as we watched swirling colour of the veterans, the police, the kokums, and many different kinds of dancers move in a spiral to the beat of the drum group. Two different families from Star Blanket Cree Nation spent time with our group, discussing how each dance was prayer for healing done in the midst of community, sharing the meaning of the different dances, and explaining the intricacies of the beadwork on their outfits. "It was so cool to understand how many different dances there are. I never knew that before," said one participant. The powwow was a fantastic experience.

Participants left the event with an understanding of the difference between the treaties and the Indian Act, with a glimpse into the land surrenders in our area, as well as other treaty rights that have been eroded, and are in danger of being further eroded. They were introduced to the integral connection between the treaties and the spiritual traditions and beliefs of the First Nations people. Treaties are not a thing of the past but are continually evolving, especially as the courts have now recognized the validity of oral records and pictographs. Participants recognized how complex treaties are. They want to come back and learn more – about the treaties, the Indian Act, Bill C-31, spiritual teachings, as well as life before contact with the settlers. Although we all looked the same when we left, we felt very differently about ourselves as Canadians.

~ Sue Bland, Program Contract Staff

THANK YOU! to the Justice & Reconciliation Committee for their funding support.

Other articles from this Echo:

Letter from Linda Anderson, Executive Director of Calling Lakes Centre

Intercultural Discovery....

Reaching out in Faith and Friendship: Dohoku, Japan

Centre News...

DLM Update

Staff Changes

Calling Lakes and rEvolve: the Tour

Thank You for Your Generous Support...

Special Thank You's




Copyright © 2006 Calling Lakes Centre
Box 159, Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan Canada S0G 1S0
Phone: 306-332-5691 Fax:306-332-5264
Email: office@callinglakes.ca