Renewing the Treaty Six Relationship

The Treaty Approach

Through all of our engagement initiatives and awareness programs in Devon, we strive to strengthen the Treaty Relationship in all aspects of our work.

What is Treaty Six?

Treaty Six was signed on August 23, 1876 at Fort Carlton and on September 9, 1876 in Fort Pitt. Adhesions to the treaty were signed at later dates.

The total area of the Treaty stretches from western Alberta, through Saskatchewan and into Manitoba; and includes 50 First Nations. Provisions in the Treaty recognize the notion of the medicine chest as well as the right to education. 

First Nations understood they would receive assistance to the transition of a new lifestyle, maintenance of their cultural and spiritual rights, right to hunt, trap, and fish, education, medical assistance, reserve land, agricultural tools and support, and peaceful co-existence with the newcomers.

The text of the Treaty states:

  • Reserve land in the amount of one square mile per family of five,
  • An annual cash payment at a rate of $25 per Chief, $15 per headman and $5 for all other band members, and a one-time present of $12 for each member of the band who agreed to the Treaty,
  • Twine and ammunition at a value of $1500 per year,
  • For each band and family, certain agricultural implements such as hoes, spades, livestock, horses, and wagons,
  • A school once the people settled on a reserve,
  • The right to pursue hunting, trapping, and fishing,
  • The Medicine Chest clause (free access to healthcare),
  • Rations were to be given in times of pestilence and famine, and
  • First Nations who had “settled” on reserves and were farming were to receive $1000 in agricultural provisions.

Treaty Six also stipulated that no more than the top six inches of soil shall be used by the Crown and its people. This stipulation is why engagement is important, as it shows respect for the Treaty relationship. It creates a transparent and collaborative process allowing all voices to be heard and ensures that culturally significant areas can be protected through joint collaboration. This would not mean Devon cannot proceed with future development, but instead means that consultation and engagement would show consideration of Indigenous Peoples, Nations and the land. It is a respectful way to acknowledge the Treaty lands in order to preserve important cultural areas.

The Treaty Relationship

Treaty Six is an agreement that was signed between First Nations and the Crown. This agreement was intended for all peoples - First Nations and settlers, to share the land, work together as separate sovereign Nations and live in peace while respecting Mother Earth and all that she provides for us. The Town of Devon believes that we must acknowledge and uphold this agreement and continue working towards re-strengthening the Treaty Relationship with all First Nations Peoples of Treaty Six Territory and beyond.

Click here to view the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations Treaty Principles

Understanding Treaties

Although there are numerous Treaties between the British Crown (Federal Government) and Indigenous Nations in Canada, we will focus primarily on the Royal Proclamation of 1763, Treaty Six, and the Jay Treaty.

Click here to view Treaty and Historical Maps

Royal Proclamation of 1763

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 issued by King George III recognized First Nations title, sovereignty and established the treaty-making process. The Royal Proclamation also established the relationship of mutuality between two sovereign Nations and the principle of consent between First Nations Peoples and the Imperial Crown.

Jay Treaty

The Jay Treaty was an agreement signed between Great Britain and the United States in 1794. This Treaty allowed for First Nations who were born in what is now Canada to freely travel across the Canadian-U.S. border without issue.

Still legally binding, the Jay Treaty states that “The Indians dwelling on either side of the...boundary line...shall have the right freely to pass and repass by land or island navigation...and to navigate all the lakes, rivers and waters thereof, freely, to carry on trade and commerce with each other.”

Since 1928, United States law has recognized the right of "American Indians born in Canada to pass the borders of the United States" but has only limited that right to "persons who possess at least 50 per centum of blood of the American Indian race." This means that individuals, who, according to the Federal government, contain at least 50% “Indian Blood” can freely pass over the border without issue to visit, live or work in the United States. Eligible individuals do not need to register or obtain authorization, and cannot be denied entry, services, or searched of sacred objects that have religious, ceremonial, or spiritual significance to that individual as an Indigenous person.

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Town of Devon Municipal Office
1 Columbia Avenue West
Devon, AB T9G 1A1

 Phone: 780-987-8300
 Fax: 780-987-4778
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