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Oct. 31, 2023
The seven Williams Treaties First Nations gathered on Monday to commemorate 100 years since the signing of what was supposed to be mutual understanding.
“Respect, sharing and living peacefully together within the space we now know as Ontario. Instead, what happened was the treaty was misinterpreted,” said Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation Chief Kelly LaRocca.
Curve Lake First Nation Chief Keith Knott says in 1923, First Nations communities believed they were just signing a land agreement with the government. But when the treaty became official in 1924, they were stripped of their hunting and harvesting rights as well.
He says it’s something they never would’ve knowingly agreed to because those activities are engrained in the Indigenous way of life.
“Because our people wouldn’t give up their way of life, their store, you could say. That would be like the Foodland or Costco of our people is the land and the waters,” explained Chief Knott, who believes the Williams Treaties were manipulated after they were signed.