Treaty Confusion Can Cause Confrontations: Atleo

Thursday, December 03, 2009 at 12:33



Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people have to discuss the treaties and agree on what they really mean, or expect to have more confrontations, according to Assembly of First Nations grand chief Shawn Atleo.


Atleo made that point yesterday, while testifying before the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal People.


“It’s when we only cut across the very top layer of an issue, and not take the time to drill deeply, do we miss it sometimes. And then it becomes about conflict, because where else is there to go, except to rise up and go to the courts — or some First Nations take the action of direct action on the ground. That deep sense of understanding is not facilitated,” he says.


That lack of understanding leads to some awful situations, Atleo says.


“I talked to one chief just two days ago, who told me about living between two dams. The dams (are) used obviously to provide power, and then the ancestors’ bodies (are) floating to the surface of the lake that’s been flooded,” he says.


Atleo says the whole country needs to do what Saskatchewan has done, namely make the study of treaties mandatory in school curricula.