This is the treaty that I transcribed at today’s “Treaty Canoe” event at the Art Gallery of Windsor. I took over transcribing a Muncey treaty started by another participant. She had done such a lovely job of working with the dip-pen in ink. I’m afraid I made a blotchy, horrible mess. You know you are working with wonderful artists when they tell you that’s the point.
When our ancestors were writing these treaties all those years ago they would have been working with instruments that were much more crude, and the outcome would certainly have been just as rustic.
It was my first experience with a dip-ink pen, and a really neat new skill to learn!
I was sitting beside the Treaty Canoe’s larger seaworthy sister, Voyageur, which will be paddled across the continent, in relay, like an Olympic torch, by volunteers. It was amazing to have the chance to consider this part of our history while working with the actual documents, knowing that what I was creating by hand would then be pasted onto the hull of this incredible canoe.
I enjoyed this micro-adventure with artists Alex McKay and Tory James, collaborators on the “Treaty Canoe”, covered with treaties that people like me have transcribed onto handmade linen paper with ink- dipped pens. The transcription event invites us to recognize that “We Are All Treaty People” and to discover which treaty denotes whose traditional territory we live on, we’re born on, or our ancestors landed on.
The “Treaty Canoe” is absolutely filled with the treaties that people like myself have been working to transcribe with ink-dip pens onto hand-made linen paper these past weeks. The treaties will be pasted onto the hull of the canoe.
This is an invitation to send a postcard to our elected officials about the “Treaty Canoe”. I thought the questions that artists Tory James and Alex McKay suggested were really interesting. The one that I most connected with was the premise of the event: what does it mean to be a treaty person? This completely shifted the discourse away from an ” us” vs. “them” conversation, to one of mutual understanding and interest.
I loved everything about today. Can’t wait to return to the Art Gallery in two weeks to transcribe another treaty. I hope that I can convince friends to join me. This really is a wonderful, soulful project!