"It use to be that all the old people would sit together in one place, make some tea and one man would begin telling a story. Then another would tell one and another and so on like that. They would keep telling one after another, sometimes for five or six days. When they would tell the stories, the people would have to behave and just hear the story really good. I listen really well. When the old people die, the younger ones would take the stories and pass them on. That is why they had to listen to get them right. Some people didn't behave themselves and would forget everything. That is what all the old-timers said. That is how I got these stories."
David Laird explaining the terms of Treaty 8 at Fort Vermillion, 1899. [Select from the slides below.]
Photo: Glenbow Archives, NA-949-34
On June 21, 1899, the eighth Treaty between First Nations of Northern Alberta, Northwestern Saskatchewan, the Southwest portion of the Northwest Territories, and the Queen of England was signed. It was later followed by Adhesions in the Northeastern portion of British Columbia. The true spirit and intent of this Treaty was based upon principles of law, respect, honesty and acceptance, as told by our elders past.
Hailed as a Treaty of peace, co-existence and sharing, its signing was witnessed by the Creator through the smoking of the pipe. The Treaty has a comprehensive framework, which allows First Nations and the newcomers to collectively uphold all the rights and privileges of Treaty No. 8. The Treaty promotes co-existence between peoples on the landbase and the sharing of the resources, both renewable and non-renewable.
Treaty No. 8, encompassing a landmass of approximately 840,000 kilometres, is home to 39 First Nations communities.