Indigenous man, family and friends take a trip through Sask. on horseback to remember Treaty 4

A man from Gordon First Nation is riding 100 kilometres from his home to Fort Qu'Appelle to celebrate the signing of Treaty Four. It was signed 142 years ago.

The group is riding from Gordon First Nation to Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask.

The group expects to reach Fort Qu'Appelle before 5 p.m. Friday. (Submitted by Becki Bitternose)

A Saskatchewan man, along with his friends and family, are travelling on horseback from his home on the Gordon First Nation to Fort Qu'Appelle, Sask., to remember the 142nd anniversary of the signing of Treaty Four.

Eddie Bitternose has been making this journey every year for the past four years.

Together with his son, daughter, grandchildren and friends the group left Gordon First Nation on Wednesday morning. They are travelling by horseback because that is the way their ancestors travelled to Fort Qu'Appelle to sign the treaty all those years ago.

"I want them to understand what our people must have went through back when the treaty was signed," Bitternose said. "Life was like that. We were horse people."

On Sept. 15 1874, members of the Crown and leaders from the Cree and Saulteaux First Nations met in Fort Qu'Appelle to sign the treaty. Today the treaty is seen as the cornerstone of the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.

Eddie Bitternose has been making this trip every year for the past four years to remember Treaty Four. (Submitted by Becki Bitternose)

On Thursday night, the group set up camp just outside of Lipton, Sask., about 90 kilometres northeast of Regina. 

"I got some hides I sleep under and my son has this 40-below sleeping bag," Bitternose said, adding they also set up a tipi and lit a fire to stay warm.

The group expects to reach Fort Qu'Appelle between 4 and 5 p.m. on Friday. They're taking back roads to get there. Bitternose said overall the will be travelling 100 kilometres.

As they ride, Bitternose said they talk about Treaty Four. They also take time for personal reflection. Throughout this journey, Bitternose said he has found himself thinking about his family, how lucky he is and how life has changed for his people since 1874.

"Our life is so different and yet we still have the pleasure of having horses," Bitternose said.

The group stopped in Lipton Thursday night to set up camp. (Submitted by Becki Bitternose)

Educating people about Treaty Four

Bitternose said a lot of people still don't understand the importance of the treaty.

"It was an agreement between Canada and First Nations peoples that we would share this land," he said. "That we could live together if we understand what the agreement says," he said.

Bitternose added it is the responsibility of elders and parents to educate their children about history.

"Let's share each other's philosophy about what Canada and Saskatchewan can be all about and what Treaty Four territory is about."

Last year, Bitternose said more people joined them in the final leg of the journey. He is inviting people to come out and join him again this year. 

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition