We Are All Treaty People
Guelph is situated on treaty land that is steeped in rich Indigenous history and home to many First Nations, Inuit and Metis people today.
Guelph Museums respectfully acknowledges the ancestral homelands of the Attawandaron (Neutral), Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Metis Peoples, and recognizes that we are situated on Treaty 3 territory, the traditional territory of Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. This territory is part of the Dish with One Spoon Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Anishnaabe Peoples to peaceably share resources and welcome in newcomers as they entered Turtle Island.
Guelph Museums accepts responsibility for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s Calls to Action. We continue to strengthen our relationships with the Original Peoples of Turtle Island, as we move forward together in the search for collective truth and healing.
Guelph Museums, inclusive of the Guelph Civic Museum, McCrae House National Historic Site, and Locomotive 6167, is part of the Culture, Tourism and Community Investment Department within Public Services at the City of Guelph.
Why Are Land Acknowledgements Important?
To recognize the land is to pay homage to the Original Keepers of the territory we reside on and to acknowledge that the land is an extension of the Indigenous identity. We must remember the broken treaties of the past and the ways in which colonialism harmfully persists today. Awareness is a collective responsibility and we all must take part in the justice, truth and reconciliation process.
Beyond Land Acknowledgement
Land acknowledgments are crucial in sustaining awareness and remembrance, however, they require action and participation in order to fulfill a purpose. We each hold responsibility for participating in this process as we are all treaty people. By taking time to learn about the truths and histories, through self-reflection and building relationships with the Indigenous community, we can begin to heal.
Guelph Museums’ Commitment
Guelph Museums is accountable to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. We are adjusting the way history has been portrayed at the Museums to incorporate accurate Indigenous perspectives and ideologies which have traditionally been sidelined in favour of colonial narratives. Guelph Museums considers truth and reconciliation fundamental in upholding its mandate to be a community museum that makes a difference, improving the lives of residents and visitors to the City of Guelph.
Treaty 3 Territory
Guelph Museums is situated on Treaty 3 Territory: Between the Lake Purchase, established in 1792. Treaties have been used in practice between Indigenous Nations long before European Settlers arrived. Treaties represent an agreement and respectful partnership peoples, and are constitutionally recognized agreements between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown. Treaties cover relationships, titles to land, payment of goods, protection of rights, conservation and self-government. These arrangements were often betrayed, and colonial policies were put in place to exploit, assimilate and eradicate Indigenous Peoples.
Treaty 3: Between the Lakes Purchase is an agreement between the Haudenosaunee, Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Settlers, and covers the municipalities now known as Guelph, Brantford, St. Catherines, Hamilton, Waterloo and Cambridge. The alliances state the land between Lake Huron and Lake Erie, 550,000 acres, was granted to the Six Nations in 1792 along with six miles on each side of the Grand River (Haldimand Proclamation, 1784). The Crown aquired 3,000,000 acres of land from the Mississaugas of the Credit, distributing 550,000 acres to Six Nations and 2,450,000 acres to the British Loyalists.
Treaties were often represented in ways other than paper documents by Indigenous Nations. Haudenosauee practice is to use wampum belts to document treaties and narrate traditions, histories and laws. Beads made from Quahog shells, both white and purple, are held together by string. The Two Row Wampum (Guswenta), created in 1613, is an agreement between the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and the Dutch Settlers stating that each party would respect one another and live in peace. Two purple lines run through a row of three white wampum lines. The two purple lines represent the sailboat and the canoe meaning: “We will go down the river of life, parallel to each other and never merging.” The first-row of white beads symbolizes Peace, the second-row Friendship, and the third-row Forever, altogether resembling a river.
We have an individual responsibility to recognize and honour the treaties of Turtle Island. Treaties Recognition Week, during the first week of November, is an initiative introduced in 2016 to encourage learning about the importance of treaties, treaty rights and relationships.
We Are All Treaty People
Be sure to visit the Families Gallery at Guelph Civic Museum to learn about Treaties Recognition Week and to be a part of the installation.
Draw and design a cut out of yourself to add to our Guelph Treaty board to demonstrate how we are all treaty people.
All ages welcome!