Basel A.

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Prince Edward Island Provincial Heritage Fair

As Long as the Sun and Moon Shall Endure I Am a Treaty Person

In 8 months I will become a proud citizen of this country. At my citizenship ceremony I will swear “to faithfully observe the laws of Canada including treaties with Indigenous Peoples.” I live on the traditional and unceded territory of the Abegweit First Nation. I want Canada to be the best country it can be. To achieve this we must all practice respect for the agreements between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

In my opinion the ongoing failure of non-Indigenous Canadians to respect treaties gave non-Indigenous Canadians a false sense of cultural superiority in relation to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous peoples’ cultures. As for Indigenous Canadians, the failure of non-Indigenous Canadians to respect treaties damaged Indigenous cultures, languages, families and people. I am inspired by the fact that Mi’kmaq culture, language, families and people survive and thrive today. I want to be the best Treaty Person I can be!

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

I discovered that the Maritimes is in a unique position in Canada. Because the Mi’kmaq never ceded their land, we Maritimers are in a great position to start practicing reconciliation and respect through how we as treaty people negotiate land claims. WE ARE ALL TREATY PEOPLE!

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

Since arriving in Canada my family and culture have been treated with respect. The same can not be said about the families and cultures of Indigenous-Canadians. Respecting treaty obligations is an important step for all Canadians to take.