Tuesday, September 23, 2014
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Letter to editor: Talk about treaties

By Lena Campeau, The Leader-Post

I write regarding Murray Mandryks Jan. 24 column, "First Nations children our shame".

This huge problem stems from successive federal governments not honouring treaties made with First Nations people. The end result is that sustainable tools and resources that could help deal with these issues have been withheld.

The first prime minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, introduced the Indian Act, which has shackled First Nations People. Indian agents were hired who were abusive, oppressive and used violence against the people.

The federal government ordered all First Nations children to be forcibly taken to residential schools, where many suffered physical, sexual, emotional and mental abuse. Many continued this abuse through the generations, the results of which we see today in some First Nations children.

Treaties between First Nations and the British Crown began as early as 1763 and were made in friendship, honour, mutual respect and good faith. Treaties were always at the forefront for First Nations people in their nation-to-nation relationship with the Crown. These treaties were meant to be of mutual benefit for both sides, but we don't see that today. Instead we see this disgrace done to First Nations children and people.

We First Nations people need recognition and respect for the treaty doors we opened for Canadians and immigrants who have come here and prospered.

It is imperative that federal and provincial governments take responsibility to respect and honour the treaties.

To avoid more ignorance, confusion, blame, stereotypes and racism governments should provide more education on treaties.

Lena Campeau


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