The Bilateral Process:Summary of the Bilateral Discussions Respecting Treaty Six:
The Bilateral Discussions Respecting Treaty Six began in 1995 between the two Nations who signed the Declaration of Intent. This was confirmation that Treaty Six and the Crown (Federal Government) were willing to develop a process that would enable them to discuss Treaty Issues. As the rules of the process were discussed, the signing of the Protocol followed on May 11, 1997. The understanding, as mentioned in the Protocol, was to ensure that this was a political process established between Treaty Six and the Crown (Federal Government), with the intent to gain a better understanding of what Treaty Six meant to both Nations. This process is not a legal one, nor is it a means to re-negotiate the Treaty.
As the process started, team-players were identified by Treaty Six Confederacy and the Crown (Federal Government of Canada) to begin Main Table meetings. This included Chiefs, Elders, and Technical Staff. As the two teams came together, making presentations by way of position papers and oral presentations made by the Elders of Treaty Six, there was much learning done by both teams. Main Table meetings were planned and agenda items identified. Twenty-one items were tabled as points of Treaty issues that needed to be discussed
As more time passed, it was identified by way of joint reports that more discussions needed to take place between the two teams. As well, through the duration of discussions, it was not only a process of learning that had taken place, but also the development of mutual respect for each, for both Treaty Six and the Crown (Federal Government). Indeed, if anything was to come from these discussions, this accomplishment was worth the efforts by both teams.
As Phase One was completed, there was a joint report submitted which gave a clear report on the history of Phase One discussions, indicative of the accomplishments and understandings reached. However, it also indicates the outstanding issues that were never fully discussed, and to date, still remain outstanding. As Phase One had taken a few years to complete, there is a continued commitment of the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and a commitment of funding that is necessary to implement the tasks necessary for preparation and execution of Phase Two.
As much effort, time, and resources were expended, it is felt that the Joint Report, as submitted by both teams, must still be considered by way of utilizing the identified outstanding issues and recommendations for Phase Two of the Bilateral Discussions. This base will assist in the direction that Phase Two can be driven to better the Treaty Relationship between the Treaty Six First Nations and the Crown (Federal Government).
As per the Protocol agreement signed by the Chiefs of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and signed by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada on behalf of her Majesty the Queen in the Right of Canada, there will be an individual retained under the terms of reference of the Bilateral Process.
Terms of Reference of the Co-Chair: