Elliot Lake – Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation critic for the Ontario NDP, Michael Mantha, issued the following statement marking Ontario’s second ever Treaties Recognition Week:
Our country was built around treaties, and we should take time this week to better understand the proud history of Indigenous Peoples and their contribution to this land that we call home. We also need to acknowledge and learn about the importance treaties have had in the foundation of our country and how they have shaped us.
First Nations, Métis and Inuit nations have an historic connection to the land we call Ontario. They have, and continue to contribute to the strengthening our province. New Democrats recognize this and want to continue working cooperatively with Indigenous Peoples to bring awareness and understanding to treaty relationships.
Treaties Recognition Week is part of the process of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. The designation of this week as Treaties Recognition Week provides us with an opportunity to study and better understand these agreements. As well it also gives us pause to recognize the injustices Indigenous communities are facing right now. We must address these issues and work hand in hand with Indigenous Peoples to make sure they have access to safe drinking water, adequate health care, equitable education, quality housing, economic opportunity, and clean air, water and land.