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Treaty Canoe at UKC!

Canadian Artist Alex Mckay has spent the last month building Treaty Canoe II, a gift for the British who “are all treaty people”. His art piece confronts settler nations and their responsibilities as treaty people to uphold treaty provisions. The work began on the 7th October, which coincided with the indigenous rights group Idle No More’s global day of action marking the 250th anniversiry of Britain’s Royal Proclamation. Students and members of the public were invited to transcribe treaties onto parchment that would be used as the shell of the Treaty Canoe. Once this was done, Alex spent the rest of month working vigorously on building the canoe, which now hangs in the University of Kent’s Keyenes College building, and all are welcome to view the Canoe, stand under it, and read the treaties that have been transcribed.

treaty canoe 3The Canoe is a symbol of First Nation Mythology. It was a practical tool vital to the mobile lives as shelter and transportation for First Nations. It was also an important transportational device that enabled the European fur trade to expand deep into the Western interior. The Canoe links the two cultures together, particularly as a tool for survival, transport, and drastic economic change in North America. Like the Canoe, the use of treaties aknowledges tribal sovereignty of land, and are the key component to international relations between indigenous and settler societies in North America. The Royal Proclamation set the precedant for the way in which negotiations between Anglo-American/Canadian and the indigenous inhabitants. Many Tribes have and are still contesting the legitimacy of treaties, and push for provisions of treaties to be upheld by federal governments.

treaty canoe 4

For more info. on Idle No more:

For more info. on the Treaty Canoe:

For more info. on Treaties in Canada: