Thursday, June 23, 2011


A couple of days ago, we marked the Summer Solstice. It was also National Aboriginal Day and Treaty Day. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said of the occasion, "Today we honour and celebrate Aboriginal people in Canada on this, the 15th anniversary of National Aboriginal Day."

He continued, "Our government is committed to working with Aboriginal communities, as well as provinces and territories, to provide aboriginal people with the education and tools they need their full potential and achieve a higher quality of life for their families."

The words ring hollow. A national agreement had been worked out, covering what the prime minister described. But when he came to power six years ago, he cancelled the process, before it even got started. But then, Prime Minister Harper and his ultra-Conservatives are quite good at cancelling helpful programs.

But it IS still Treaty Day. And time to party.

Across Prairie Canada, when government forces subdued native peoples in the late 1800s, a series of treaties was worked out.  They are the so-called Numbered Treaties, eleven in all, numbered one after another. (Treaties with peoples living in the East had been negotiated earlier.)

One of the elements in various Treaties was an annual payment per person of $4.00 to $5.00. When the treaties were signed, that would have been worth about $100.00 in today's money. Today, the money will buy a burger or package of cigarettes.

But it is still paid. There was an assembly of First Nations people right across the river from us, at the same time as the Solstice.

It happened under the watchful eyes of members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in their bright red serge jackets. Individual after individual received payment. If, for some reason, people had missed the payment in a previous year, that was added to this year's entitlement.

And then it was party time. That was done elsewhere, out of the driving rain. And it isn't just the First Nations people who enjoy themselves. Increasingly, non-First Nations people take part. For as the government reminds us in its commercials, "We are all treaty people."


Also brought to you by the letter T:
• tenacious
• trifling
• tipsy
• thorough
• troublesome.

And from the New Phonetic Alphabet: T for two.


Natalie said...

Interesting Bear. Hmmm......
I wonder if that is where 'getting a treat' came from?

The Blog Fodder said...

Government waste is when the money goes to THEIR friends instead of YOUR friends.

The Bipolar Diva said...

quite interesting Bear, but on this I shall keep my fingers off the keyboard. ♥

Rob-bear said...

® Natalie: Not sure about getting a treat, but one never knows. I suppose about all you can say for $5.00 is that it is a very small treat.

® BF: Good definition of "government waste." Sigh. I still think you should be Canada's benevolent despot. I'm sure you could make the trains run on time, and the rains quit on time. You've got lots of government experience, too.

® Diva: Keep your fingers off the keyboard? Since when? (Send me an e-mail if you prefer; always like to know what you're thinking.)
Your "Diamonds" site is looking good!

Lins' lleisio said...

Very interesting Bear. I learn something new every time I read one of your posts.

Wendy said...

Leaving politics aside, would it also be T for two?

Amanda Summer said...

very interesting bit of history - also curious is that americans use the term native americans and a canadian woman on our excavation team said they refer to native peoples as first nations.

all i could think of for t was t for two. been out in the sun too long today, so a bit fuzzy brained ;-)

Exmoorjane said...

Bless you, dear Bear.... and thank you. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Brenda Susan said...

Off Topic a Bit-
Thanx so much for your always "punny" comments! I always forget which of your many blogs to go to and just had some giggles over at the "Bears Noting" blog.

You certainly are one for the bear puns, not to be confused with 'bear buns' or 'bare buns!!'

Must be reading too much of your stuff.

ain't for city gals said...

Interesting...would like to read a post about your postal strike...