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Kelvin Students - Treaty People

Students of Histoire canadienne (11e année) gained new insights into Canada's relations with its First Nations during a re-enactment of the negotiations leading to the signing of Treaty Number 5 at Rossville (Norway House), Manitoba in 1875.  Each Canadian History scholar was assigned the role of an actual resident of the Ininu (Northern Cree) community present at the time Lieutenant-Governor Alexander Morris and Agriculture Minister James McKay visited the community for a few short days, in order to negotiate and sign a treaty that ceded one-third of what is now Manitoba to the province, in exchange for a few hundred hectares of land in Fisher River in the Interlake District.  Students studied their biographies and then met informally before taking part in a Sharing Circle, a meeting with the government in the Community Chapel (room 35, transformed) and, finally, were present as witnesses of, or participants in, the final treaty negotiations.  The role play took a few dramatic turns as players tried to reach consensus on divisive issues such as whether to remain in the north or accept the promise of a new future in commercial agriculture; the exclusion by government policy of  certain community members  from treaty rights; the stratification of aboriginal society with the introduction of annuities.  The Treaty Number 5 role play is one of many lessons learned as part of the integration of Aboriginal (and non-Aboriginal) perspectives on Canadian History.  For more information, contact rsokalski@wsd1.org

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