On June 21, 1899, the eighth Treaty between First Nations of Northern Alberta, Northwestern Saskatchewan, the Southwest portion of the Northwest Territories, and the Queen of England was signed.
It was later followed by Adhesions in the Northeastern portion of British Columbia. The true spirit and intent of this Treaty was based upon principles of law, respect, honesty and acceptance, as told by our Elders past.
Hailed as a Treaty of peace, co-existence and sharing, its signing was witnessed by the Creator through the smoking of the pipe. The Treaty has a comprehensive framework that allows First Nations and the newcomers to collectively uphold all the rights and privileges of Treaty No. 8. The Treaty promotes co-existence between peoples on the landbase and the sharing of the resources, both renewable and non-renewable.
Treaty No. 8, encompassing a landmass of approximately 840,000 kilometres, is home to 39 First Nations communities, including 23 Alberta First Nations, 3 Saskatchewan First Nations, 6 Northwestern Territories First Nations, and 8 British Columbia First Nations.
Treaty rights and Aboriginal rights are different: Aboriginal rights can be exercised within the member’s own traditional land. Treaty rights include rights to areas used for hunting, fishing, cultural activities and burial grounds within all of Treaty 8. Wherever a Treaty 8 member is in Treaty 8 territory, he or she has rights within the whole territory, not just his or her own traditional land. So treaty rights give members a bigger area to live their way of life.