I revel in the detail of the water, the grass, the sky, and the stones of the Fort, each one of those living things, bearing witness to the sacred agreement that was made over nine days.
—Aimée Craft, author
Aimée Craft is an Indigenous Manitoba lawyer and author whose new book brings a different perspective to Treaty One. Back in 1871, the agreement was made between Queen Victoria and a number of First Nations in south eastern Manitoba.
But for the Anishinabe people, whose law is founded on
relationships, Craft's book explores how that agreement would have
represented using land and resources alongside newcomers, not signing
over ownership outright.
SCENE asked her why this is a topic we should all be paying attention to:
When I asked local Dakota/Ojibway artist Linus Woods to paint the cover image for my book, I never imagined that he would create an image that so aptly told the story that I had put in words.
Breathing Life into the Stone Fort Treaty - an Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One (Purich Publishing)
It paints the picture of the Anishinabe, negotiating a treaty for their people, participating in ceremony and exercising their responsibility towards the land, animals, birds, each other and to strangers.
Even today, I revel in the detail of the water, the grass, the sky, and the stones of the Fort, each one of those living things, bearing witness to the sacred agreement that was made over nine days.
It reflects our Elders words that the treaties will last as long as the grass grows, the sun shines and the rivers flow. In 1871, they made this agreement to secure a good life for us. We are the ones they had in mind: the seventh generation.
While this book began as an academic thesis which was to explore the legal implications of treaties and indigenous lands, it became so much more. It is a doorway into the past, a learning exercise and a springboard for relationships.
My hope is that everyone will pick this book up, learn, challenge assumptions and be prepared to sit at the table together to share and to forge relationships - in that way, we can all honour the treaty.
Breathing Life Into the Stone Fort Treaty - an Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One book launch is Monday, March 25 at 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson.