Modern treaties (also known as Land Claims Agreements) are unique in the world, and they are important shapers of the relationships between First Nations, Inuit and Métis (Indigenous peoples), and Canada. Since 1975, 26 modern treaties have been signed, recognizing Indigenous ownership of more than 600,000 square kilometers of land. Many more will be signed in the coming years.
These agreements are fundamentally changing Canada by re-establishing Indigenous knowledge systems in all areas that impact our lives, including land, resource and economic development, education, health, and social services, environmental protection, and governance. While the agreements affect specific areas of Canada, their impact is felt throughout the country, and they will increasingly shape the political, cultural, economic, and social landscape.
In 2017, partners of The Gordon Foundation raised an important issue: there is a lack of knowledge and interest in modern treaties across Canada. It is imperative that the next generation of leaders are engaged and interested in the treaties; therefore, The Foundation began to work with its partners to document existing resources that engage people in treaties, to identify any gaps, and to propose recommendations. Over 50 resources were identified in the report, Treaty Negotiators of the Future, as well as a series of innovative recommendations to fill the gaps.
Since 2018, in collaboration with various communities, organizations, and experts, The Foundation has been implementing the report’s recommendation of Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulations for emerging Indigenous leaders. To date, The Foundation has hosted two national simulations, one regional simulation in the Yukon, and one online simulation with the Nisga'a Lisims Government. The treaty simulation has proven to be an effective model that engages emerging leaders in the treaty process, builds intergenerational connections, and transfers knowledge and skills in a stimulating and experiential way. It also builds a network of emerging leaders and experts for future learning and support.
In collaboration with its partners, The Foundation developed the Understanding Our Treaties website as an online resource to support and expand the in-person simulation model. Through interactive experiences, this resource will help you learn about treaties in Canada and understand the important impact treaties have on your life.
The Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulation is a powerful experience that has resulted in:
An increased interest in modern treaties and their importance
New skills in negotiation practices and strategies, critical thinking, problem-solving, decision-making, public-speaking and working in teams
Knowledge-transfer from the Experts
Network-building for future support and learning
“I was personally inspired by so many of the youth and I was so grateful to have the experts there to support us. We all grew over the weekend, we all gained confidence in our roles.”