Treaties and the Treaty Relationship Educational Package

Treaties and the Treaty Relationship

The Canada’s History Treaties issue features guest editor Treaty Commissioner Loretta Ross from the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

Contributing writers, from throughout Canada, have shared their insights and knowledge on a wide variety of aspects of Treaty history and the Treaty Relationship.

As Commissioner Ross states in her Forward: “For too long, Canadians have learned about Treaties with First Nations from a singular, non-First Nations perspective. The goal of this special issue is to try to provide a more balanced understanding of Treaties and the Treaty relationship.”

In addition to this special edition of Canada’s History that you can download as a PDF, you can also access the Educator’s Guide

Available in French

This issue, as well as the corresponding educational resource package, can be found on the French side of our site.

We Are All Treaty People

This edition of Kayak features guest editor Cynthia Bird! Cynthia (Wabi Benais Mistatim Equay) of Peguis First Nation is an educator who lives in Calgary in Treaty 7 territory and works with the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

This issue is about Treaties and the historic Treaty relationship between First Nations peoples and the British Crown, now represented by the government of Canada.

Many people might say Treaties are about the past. Yes, they are about the past, but they are also about the present and the future. They are central to what it means to be Canadian. They remain as important today as they were in the past.

Learning about Treaties gives us a chance to reflect on our shared history and to learn why “We Are All Treaty People.” Understanding this is important for us as Canadians. We need to know how we have each benefited from our Treaty story. It is who we are.

Download the PDF of this issue

Access the Educator’s Guide

Proud Partner

Encouraging a deeper knowledge of history and Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

The Government of Canada creates opportunities to explore and share Canadian history.

For Good. Forever.

The Winnipeg Foundation — supporting our shared truth and reconciliation journey.

Educator’s Guide

Applicable for Grades 3–6 and Grades 7–12.

The lesson plans in Treaties and the Treaty Relationship: Educator’s Guide are framed on the Historical Thinking Concepts and offer teachers interactive instructional approaches that foster engaged student inquiry. They are fortified with maps, weblinks, and supporting Blackline Masters.

Lesson plan themes explore Treaties across Canada from time immemorial to the present, making a concerted link between the past and the future.

As well, each learning activity offers adaptions and/or activities based on the lesson theme for exploring Treaties in grades three to six.

It is with the greatest appreciation that we thank the many contributors and supporters of the Treaties and Treaty Relationship: Educator’s Guide.

Download the PDF of this guide

Education Sponsor

We contribute to the well-being of the communities we serve through grants, scholarships, sponsorships, fundraising, volunteering and collaborative relationships with community partners.

Lesson Plans (Grades 7-12)

The Numbered Treaties

In this lesson students explore the Numbered Treaties with a focus on present relevance, historical and contemporary relationships, and the benefits shared by all Canadians.

1764: An Enduring Relationship

In this lesson students explore the Treaty of Niagara as a foundational relationship in the creation of Canada.

Land Claim Literacy and Algonquin Territory

In this lesson students explore First Nation title to land in the Ottawa Valley.

Nations in Waiting: The BC Treaty Experience

In this lesson students investigate the Treaty experience in British Columbia by exploring and assembling a timeline of significant events.

Reimagining History: "Righting" Treaty Wrongs

In this lesson students examine the idea of justice as it applies to Treaty interpretations.

Treaties: Partnerships and Relationships

In this lesson students explore the enduring and cross-country nature of the Treaty relationship in Canada making note of challenges and opportunities.

Treaties of Peace and Friendship

In this lesson students use primary source material to explore the constitutional validity of the Treaties of Peace and Friendship.

Understanding Spirit and Intent

In this lesson students explore the concept of spirit and intent by investigating the differing views held by the Crown and First Nation peoples at the time of Treaty-making.

Relationships, Respect and Reconciliation

In this lesson students explore James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and the resulting affects on Cree and Inuit.

Relevance of Treaties Today

In this lesson students explore the enduring relevance and continued significance of the Treaty relationship in Canada and consider the Treaty relationship as a path toward reconciliation.

Classroom Activities (Grades 3-6)

Making Treaties

Taking a historical perspective means understanding the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past.

Classroom Treaty

Design a classroom Treaty with your students and use it throughout the year as the typical “class rules.”

Commemorating Treaty Relationships

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.

Treaty Day

Have students create an invitation to an event celebrating Treaty Day. 

We Are All Treaty People

Explore the meaning and the significance of the phrase “We are all Treaty People.”

Finding Del's Truck

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.


Explore the symbolism in the Treaty medal. 

Wampum Belts

Focus on the importance of wampum belts for ceremonial and diplomatic purposes, as well as to mark agreements such as Treaties and covenants.

Unceded Land

Explain and expand upon the concept of unceded land.