TORONTO – Ontario Regional Chief Isadore Day and Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne signed a “historic” political accord Monday. Under the agreement, Ontario, commits to establish a framework for communication directly with First Nations on issues that may impact them.
Some might argue that this agreement was already made with the Silver Covenant Chain of Friendship treaty and other agreements made with the Crown of England, including a communications accord signed between Wynne and Hazel Hill on behalf of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council before Wynne became premier. That agreement expired and has not been renewed.
But either way, there is now a more modern reference to the principles of the original Covalent Chain agreements made in the 1600’s and 1700’s.
A smudging ceremony was conducted at Queens Park to clear the eyes ears and throats of the parties involved to be able to see, hear and speak the truth.
“Most of all, it is an important opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people’s across the province and to start a better future for our children and grandchildren,” Wynne said.
The accord calls promises to affirm that First Nations have an inherent right to self-government. It also commits the parties to work together on issues of mutual interest, including resource benefits sharing, the treaty relationship and jurisdiction matters. Thirdly, it sets a path for future reconciliation between First Nations and the people of Ontario.
Part of the accord also commits the province to engage twice yearly with high level meetings.
“This political path forward for First Nations is the most important collective milestone in modern times,” Day said.
Wynne also promised that there would be an official statement of apology to First Nations for Ontario’s part in the residential schools and that Indigenous history will become a mandatory part of the education curriculum.