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Manidoo Mazina’igan: original Treaty #3 documents on display at CMHR

A document that forms part Treaty #3, displaying the signatures of Crown negotiators and First Nations Chiefs. Partially obscured.

Photo: CMHR, Annie Kierans

News release details

A community copy of Treaty #3 from 1873 is on display this week at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) to mark the 150th anniversary of its signing.

The documents were cared for by Chief Paabamasagaa of Naotkamegwanning First Nation and his descendants. It is one of 24 community copies that were sent to the Anishinaabe nations who were party to the treaty in 1873, and the only copy believed to remain in existence. It was welcomed to the CMHR by Elders from Treaty #3 territory, Sherry and Hazel Copenace, who are the great‐granddaughters of Chief Paabamasagaa.

The document is part of a travelling exhibition called Treaty #3: Manidoo Mazina’igan – The Sacred Document, created by Grand Council Treaty #3 in partnership with Library and Archives Canada and The Muse Indigenous Advisory Committee. The exhibition includes interpretive panels on Anishinaabe perspectives on the meaning of treaty, the negotiation process for Treaty 3, and the way in which the commitments made by negotiators for the Crown haven’t been respected. The exhibition also includes three adhesion agreements that brought other communities into Treaty #3. This exhibition marks the first time the treaty and adhesions have been displayed together to share the full story of Treaty #3.

“The commitments made in treaty should have set a path for mutual respect and co‐existence between settlers, Indigenous peoples and the land and water that give us life,” said Matthew Cutler, CMHR VP, Exhibitions. “In listening to Elders and Indigenous leadership, it is clear that we all need to recommit to our treaty promises, to be accountable to the relationships that treaties were meant to build and sustain.”

Prior to its display at the CMHR, the exhibition was showcased throughout Treaty #3 territory, which includes parts of northwestern Ontario and Manitoba. It will be on display in the Level 6 Expressions gallery until October 22, 2023.

Framed documents sit on a table as Elder Hazel Copenace smudges them, holding a smudge bowl in her left hand and an eagle feather in her right.
Photo: CMHR, Annie Kierans

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