The spirit and intent of Treaty Eight : a sagaw eeniw perspective
This thesis will focus on the spirit and intent of Treaty Eight. In chapter two, it will look at traditional Treaty making principles from a First Nations and Canadian perspective. Second, it will examine some of the history leading up to the signing of Treaty Eight. Third, it will analyze the spirit and intent of Treaty Eight. Some of the areas to be addressed are: land surrender and peace and friendship; reserves; education; and the Treaty right to hunt, fish, and trap. In chapter three, the focus will be on whether the Supreme Court of Canada has properly interpreted the spirit and intent of the Treaties. Specifically, I will examine how the courts have addressed the Treaty right to hunt. First, this chapter will examine the various Treaty interpretation principles as enunciated in the case of R. v. Badger. Second, I will examine how the courts have interpreted the meaning of the Treaties. Third, I will analyze the effects of Section 12 of the 1930 Natural Resource Transfer Agreement [hereinafter the 1930 NRTA] on the Treaty right to hunt, fish, and trap. Specifically, I will consider the honour of the Crown and the duty created by Section of the 1930 NRTA for Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. Fourth, I will examine the case of R. v. Horseman. Fifth, I will address the ludicrous decision by Cory J. in this case. Finally, I will examine the Treaty right of commercial hunting and whether it should be protected by Section 88 of the Indian Act. In chapter four, the emphasis will be on possible solutions to the problems faced by First Nations. From chapter three, it will be evident that the Supreme Court of Canada has, on certain occasions, wrongly interpreted the spirit and intent of the Treaties. Therefore, this chapter will examine possible changes to the Supreme Court of Canada. First, the Federal Government could appoint First Nations' judges to the Supreme Court of Canada. It would be based on the principle that the membership of the Supreme Court of Canada is reflective of the two founding Nations, the French and English, and First Nations are absent. Therefore, First Nations should also be guaranteed representation. Second, the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples of a Treaty Tribunal to consider Treaty grievances will be considered. The tribunal would include members of Treaty First Nations and representatives of the Federal Government to discuss the various Treaty concerns. Finally, I will examine the role of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner in dealing with the Treaty disputes between the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Federal Government. It is my belief that the work currently being done by the Treaty Commissioner, Judge David Arnot is invaluable and will eventually lead to the implementation of the true spirit and original intent of the numbered Treaties.