Canada’s Treaty Payments: Meager Reminder of a Painful History

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tags: Canada, reparations



WINNIPEG, Manitoba — On a brilliant afternoon in Winnipeg, scores of indigenous people lined up under a large white tent to collect what’s known as the annual “treaty payment” — money stipulated in treaties, signed by past generations with the Canadian government in exchange for territory.

The payment? Five dollars.

Yes, per year.

“That’s how much we natives were worth back then,” said Keri Buboire, 24, a construction worker who lives in Winnipeg, the provincial capital of Manitoba, and had come to collect several years’ worth of money. “But it really doesn’t feel legitimate today.”

Last increased from three dollars in 1875, the annual payments are a potent symbol of the complex legal relationship between aboriginal groups, known as First Nations, and the Canadian government — and a reminder of Canada’s long record of broken promises and unmet obligations to those communities.





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