Niagara Treaty Wampum Agreements

The Covenant Chain

CovenantChain

Image: Hunter (1901), Figure 25.

Unbreakable Nation to Nation Friendship

In the summer of 1764 British representative William Johnson presented The British and Western Great Lakes Confederacy Covenant Chain Wampum Belt to twenty-four hundred First Nation leaders who gathered from surrounding areas at The Crooked Place (Niagara Falls), with a request to peacefully settle on their territories.  In exchange for permission to live here, the British made a sacred promise to First Nations that they would share the land as sovereign nations.  They agreed to be equal partners in a friendship that was as strong as a silver chain, but like silver, the relationship would tarnish over time and would require polishing.  Every few years, with successive governments, new generations of leaders were to come together to review and uphold the terms of this agreement, which lasts for as long as the grass grows, the rivers flow, and the sun shines.

References

Borrows, J. (1997).  Wampum at Niagara: The Royal Proclamation, Canadian Legal History, and Self-Government. In Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Canada: Essays on Law, Equality, and Respect for Difference. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. 155-172.

Borrows, J. & Coyle, M. (2017). The Right Relationship Reimagining the Implementation of Historical Treaties. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 62.

Chiefs of Ontario (2014). 250 th Anniversary of the Treaty of Niagara. http://www.chiefs-of-ontario.org/node/920

Gehl, L. (2013). Canada’s Constitutional Beginnings Through Wampum. Retrieved      from https://www.lynngehl.com/black-face-blogging/canadas-constitutional-beginnings-through-wampum

Hunter, A.F. (1901). Wampum Records of the Ottawas, Figure 25, Belt No. 1 in Annual Archaeological Report, 1901, Provincial Museum and Art Gallery of Ontario, Ontario Archaelogical Museum, Toronto, 52-55.

Switzer, M. (2011). We are all Treaty People. Union of Ontario Indians.