QUEEN'S PARK – Official Opposition NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, NDP critic for Indigenous and Treaty Relations, issued the following statement marking this year’s Treaties Recognition Week in Ontario:
“Ontario has marked Treaties Recognition Week since 2016. This year, the horrific discovery of the graves of children at former residential school sites moved Ontarians — and we hope it will also inspire them to learn about the treaties of this province, and to honour them.
Treaties affect us all. They are the solemn agreements between all Indigenous people and all non-Indigenous people sharing this land today.
That is what the statement ‘We are all Treaty people’ means.
The Treaty Relationship should be the foundation of people living in peace and enjoying mutual assistance, where the wealth of all parties grow, and our relationships strengthen over time as we recognize that our future is shared. The treaties are contracts, which state that First Nations are to share in the benefits of new development through education, lands, health, economic aid, and provisions.
What we learn during Treaties Week presents us with an opportunity to move beyond words to action. As we continue the essential work of honouring the treaties, we can never forget the damage done by racism and colonialism. Undoing the damage will require us to do the work to ensure everyone in Ontario has safe drinking water, adequate health care, equitable education, a reformed child welfare system, safe housing, and clean air, water and land for the future.
That is the promise of the treaties.”