Hundreds of indigenous people flocked to The Gathering Place for the opening day of Regina’s Urban Treaty Days.
From a powwow demonstration to a pipe ceremony, the event was a chance to reflect and recognize Treaty rights signed back in 1874.
“It’s an annual event that celebrates the role of treaty that celebrates the portability of treaty rights and responsibilities for all citizens in and around Regina,” Urban Services manager Erica Beaudin explained.
The day also included Treaty Annuity payments, distributed by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
“It’s really a symbol.”
Vernon Bellegarde, who sits on the board of Regina Treaty Status Indian Services, explained that the small amount of five dollars serves as a symbol of payment.
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“When they signed treaty, we got something in return, and today that continues. The treaty rights are really what our people want to maintain,” Bellegarde said.
“There are certain treaty rights that come along with this, and that includes our treaty right to hunt, fish, and trap.”
For indigenous families, the five dollar bill is a physical token of their treaty history and represents more than its face value.
“I think it just means that you’re honouring the treaties that were signed,” Chanai Anaquod explained.
“[My children] were surprised that amount was so low, but I explained to them,” Night Keetness said.
“It’s five dollars a year, then I explained to them it’s been five dollars since the treaties were signed over a hundred years ago,” she said.