Treaty Six, signed between the Indigenous people and European settlers that covers vast territory in Alberta and Saskatchewan, had its 142nd anniversary of its original signing in Fort Carlton on Thursday.
That morning, St. Paul held a traditional Indigenous ceremony to raise the Treaty Six flag. It is meant to continue the relationship-building between St. Paul council and the surrounding Aboriginal communities, such as Saddle Lake.
“Our council was wanting and willing to build relationships, and when we gathered it’s like, ‘Where are the first relationships we need to start?'” said Mayor Maureen Miller.
“No other relationship matters before this one. We have to create this relationship to even have a conversation with any relationship past this.”
St. Paul has been a part of two significant healing walks, and also hosted a series of systemic racism talking circles in roughly a year’s time.
They received the Treaty Six flag in February and made plans to raise it shortly after.
“I think when people come through our community and people see it, they’ll say ‘What is Treaty Six? What does that mean?’ I think it will create the question. They might ask why would we even consider placing that, and hopefully they get to – why wouldn’t we.”
The significance of truth and reconciliation tied with residential schools is the main reason St. Paul town council is serious about understanding.
“Blue Quills school is so close and affected so many people and we need to understand that history. Other communities don’t even really understand a residential school, let alone have the people who survived within that community. It would help our community understand that relationship if we even understood what happened in our residential schools,” said Miller.
Blue Quills, or University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills, has been a Indigenous education centre since the 1970’s, but began forty years prior as a federally sponsored residential school.
“I would say the take home today is that relationship is important enough that we learn the truth. The truth is the base of it all – I’m sorry. The relationship is going to be the gift that we receive from understanding the truth.”
In the future, Miller says that council will undergo Indigenous cultural training to help become more aware and conscientious.
Live from St. Paul where they are raising the Treaty Six flag beside the UFO Landing Pad. It's an act done in light of reconciliation.
Posted by Lakeland Connect on Thursday, August 23, 2018