“The treaties were entered into on a nation-to-nation basis; that is, in entering into the pre-Confederation treaties, the French and British Crowns recognized the Aboriginal nations as self-governing entities with their own systems of law and governance and agreed to respect them as such.” (source: RCAP)
What is a Treaty?
A Treaty is an agreement between two or more sovereign Nations. “A Treaty is not only law, but also a contract between two Nations and must be so construed to give full force and effect to all of its parts.”
The Robinson Huron Treaty was signed on September 9th, 1850 on Whitefish Island in Baawating (Sault Ste. Marie)
Anishinabe Leaders, Chiefs and Principle Men entered into treaty with the Honorable William Benjamin Robinson on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen (The British Crown).
Canada did not become a country until 1867 and did not get their own constitution until 1982.
Through the late 1840’s, the settler Government tried to make way for white settlement and resource development in Anishinabe territory. However, Aboriginal title to the land was clearly stated by the Chief’s of the Anishinabek.
The Government appointed a Commission to travel around the territory in 1849. This Commission found that First Nation communities in the area had well established governments and were exercising clear authority over their territories.
The Robinson Treaties were initiated due to repeated protests and appeals of Ojibway governments about white settlement in their territories. Ojibway leaders believed that Ojibways as a whole should benefit from the new sources of wealth timber and mineral resources which the Great Spirit had placed on their lands. In June 1849, Sault Ste. Marie Chiefs addressed the British Government and made the need for a Treaty very clear.