Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat Inc.
Q. What is a treaty?
A. A treaty is a formal agreement between two or more nations which recognizes specific rights and obligations set out within the context of the treaty. Basically, treaties are meant to define the relationship between the signatories. The SCC decision in sioui, finds that treaties are mutually binding obligations, and solemn undertakings. Ininterpreting the spirit and intent of treaties, oral history and collective memory are both valid tools.
Q. Can anybody sign a treaty?
A. According to international law, the only treaties which are recognized are those signed between nations or nation-states. The definitions for a nation-state involve having a territory, language, culture.
Q. When did the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet enter into treaties?
A. The Mi’kmaq and Maliseet have a history of treaty making with other Aboriginal nations which pre-dates European arrival in North America.
Q. When did the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet enter into treaties with the British Crown?
A. From the information that has been gathered to date, the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet first entered into a treaty with the British Crown with the Treaty of 1725, signed at Boston.
Q. What was the nature of the treaty relationship between the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet and the British Crown?
A. The treaty signed at Boston in 1725 and all subsequent treaties were “Treaties of Peace and Friendship”. The treaties did not deal with surrender of lands and resources but in fact recognized Mi’kmaq and Maliseet title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship.
Q. How many treaties did the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet sign with the British Crown?
A. Most experts on Mi’kmaq and Maliseet treaties would argue that there are eleven Maritime treaties in existence but some say that there are as many as thirty Maritime treaties. The Covenant Chain of treaties signifies an on-going treaty relationship.