‘Offer a balanced perspective’: Treaty history on display at The Forks

A new space at The Forks will help people in Manitoba learn about the history and impact of treaties in Canada.

The Agowiidiwinan Centre, created by the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, officially opened its doors on Thursday.

The centre will feature displays, books, music, art and archives, all aimed at teaching people about the history of treaty-making and the current relationships treaties have created.

“As we continue to share these lands, we must seek to understand our place within that history,” said Loretta Ross, treaty commissioner. “And in doing so, we must also accept our responsibilities as treaty partners to protect and to preserve these lands so that they can be shared and enjoyed in the future by our children and our grandchildren and many generations to come.”

The creation of Agowiidiwinan was prompted by the Truth and Reconciliation’s final report, which showed Canadians lacked knowledge about the treaties First Nations groups entered into with Canada.

“I think the voice of the First Nations people hasn’t been heard in the way that the First Nations people have presented it, and understanding a large part of the Canadian system is built on one perspective with respect to treaties,” Ross said.

“And so we hope to hear we can offer a balanced perspective of the treaties so that we can certainly move forward in a substantive and significant way that can affect real change, as between the respective treaty partners and for everybody that shares these lands that have had the benefit of sharing these lands.”

The province contributed $50,000 to the centre’s creation.

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