See “Living Well Together” on pages 8 to 13 in the We Are All Treaty People issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.
Peace and Friendship Treaties, 1725 – 1779
Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and Passamaquoddy people – sometimes grouped together under the name Abenaki – were the first to live in what we now think of as the Maritimes. The British, always looking for an edge in their on-again, off-again wars with the French, wanted to bring the First Nations squarely to their side. Both groups wanted more trade with each other. The Peace and Friendship Treaties said the British and First Nations would not bother each other, and agreed on the rights of First Nations people to hunt and fish and follow their spiritual beliefs. The treaties did not involve giving up land. For the Mi’kmaq in particular, the Treaties were seen as creating new family relationships with the newcomers.
On October 1, 1986 Treaty Day was proclaimed in Nova Scotia and since that time has been celebrated annually to recognize the connection between the Crown and the Mi’kmaq, and to commemorate the Peace and Friendship Treaties. Provide an overview of the Peace and Friendship Treaties.
Have students create an invitation to an event celebrating the Peace and Friendship Treaties/Treaty Day in Nova Scotia. Design a rubric that includes a short historical overview, main players, maps, and significance in the past and today.
More classroom activities
Explore several places and occasions that mark the importance of Treaties and stories about the historic Treaty relationship between First Nations people and the Crown.
Students will explore historical significance as the process used by historians to evaluate what was important about particular events, people, and developments in the past.
Focus on the importance of wampum belts for ceremonial and diplomatic purposes, as well as to mark agreements such as Treaties and covenants.
Explain and expand upon the concept of unceded land.
Explore the meaning and the significance of the phrase “We are all Treaty People.”
Explore the symbolism in the Treaty medal.
Taking a historical perspective means understanding the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past.
Design a classroom Treaty with your students and use it throughout the year as the typical “class rules.”