Understanding Modern Treaties

Previous Treaty Simulations

The Understanding Modern Treaties Initiative brings together emerging Indigenous leaders to learn from experts about modern treaties.

Treaties are important shapers of the relationships between Indigenous peoples and Canada.

Since 1975, 26 negotiated modern treaties have provided Indigenous ownership of more than 600,000 square kilometres of land. The legacy and impact of treaties are important knowledge for all Canadians.

It is imperative that the next generation of Indigenous leaders, in particular, are engaged and interested in their treaties, as agreements are defining the rights of many Indigenous peoples and creating paths for self-determination.

The Gordon Foundation worked with experts, negotiators, and the Land Claims Agreement Coalition (LCAC) to document existing educational treaty initiatives across the country, and identified gaps and recommendations.

Over 50 resources were identified in the report, Treaty Negotiators of the Future. The resources are also available on a portal on The Land Claims Agreements Coalition (LCAC) website.

Treaty Simulations

In collaboration with various communities, experts, negotiators and the Land Claims Agreement Coalition (LCAC), The Foundation has been implementing one of the recommendations from the Treaty Negotiators of the Future report: the Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulation for emerging Indigenous leaders.

The treaty simulation engages emerging Indigenous leaders in the treaty process, builds intergenerational connections, and transfers knowledge and skills in a stimulating and experiential way. It also builds a network of emerging Indigenous leaders and experts for future learning and support.

The model is also an effective way to explore different perspectives as participants take turns representing negotiators from an Indigenous government or organization and federal or territorial/provincial government.

Past Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulations

The second National Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulation, organized in collaboration with the Land Claims Agreements Coalition (LCAC), was held on February 9 and 10, 2020 in Gatineau. Over 40 Indigenous emerging leaders attended, representing 20 Indigenous communities from B.C., Quebec, Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut, alongside several modern treaty experts and advisors.
The simulation looked at Chapter 8, Wildlife Harvesting and Management, for a fictitious Land Claims and Self Government Agreement. The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Nicol Foundation, and the BC Treaty Commission.
Read more about the second National Treaty Simulation in this Nunatsiaq News piece.
A Yukon-wide Regional Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulation was held in Whitehorse in November 2019 in collaboration with the Yukon Implementation Working Group (IWG). 23 emerging Indigenous leaders representing ten Yukon First Nations came together with treaty negotiators, implementation professionals, other experts, and representatives from the federal and Yukon governments.
The simulation looked at a section of Chapter 10, Special Management Areas, for a fictitious Final Agreement. The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the Government of Canada,¬† the Government of Yukon, Mapping the Way, the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies, and York University.
The first Canada-wide Treaty Negotiation and Implementation Simulation was held in Ottawa in February 2019 by The Gordon Foundation in collaboration with the Land Claims Agreements Coalition (LCAC). It brought together 17 emerging  Indigenous leaders from the Northwest Territories (NWT), Nunavut, Yukon, Quebec, and B.C., four well-known Treaty negotiators, several experts, and representatives of the federal government.
The simulation focused on a fictitious First Nation based in the NWT. The participants took part in the negotiation and implementation of a Species at Risk section of a Wildlife Harvesting and Management Chapter. The event wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the McConnell Foundation, the Government of Canada, the Arctic Institute of Community-Based Research, and Dionne Schulze law firm.
Read more about the first National Treaty Simulation.