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What's New


TREATY 8: 1899 - 1999

National Archives of Canada marks
National Aboriginal Day with new exhibition


 OTTAWA, June 16, 1999— The National Archives of Canada will open a new exhibition entitled Treaty 8 : 1899-1999, on June 21, 1999 — National Aboriginal Day and also the centennial of the signing of Treaty 8. The exhibition will be shown until December 31, 1999 at the National Archives, 395 Wellington St. in Ottawa and on the National Archives Web site (

Treaty 8: 1899-1999 exhibits some of the National Archives’ rich holdings related to the First Nations. It explores the reason for producing a treaty from both native and non-native perspectives, the significance of Treaty 8, how it was negotiated and subsequently administered. This is illustrated by 24 archival documents: maps, photos, a watercolour, a film and various textual records — speeches, reports, certificates and other publications. The centrepiece of the exhibition is, of course, the 100-year old Treaty 8 itself.

Treaty 8

First negotiated in late June 1899, Treaty 8 embraces an area of some 840,000 square kilometres in the Athabasca region of Canada’s northwestern interior — more than three and a half times the size of Great Britain. It encompasses much of what is now the northern half of Alberta, the northeastern quarter of British Columbia, the northwestern corner of Saskatchewan, and the area south of Hay River and Great Slave Lake in the present-day Northwest Territories. At the time, it was not only the largest land settlement undertaken by the Canadian government with First Nations, but also the first treaty to recognize that the "aboriginal title" of Indians and Métis are co-existent.

Treaty 8 is a living document. Its impact on the daily lives of First Nations and Métis peoples is as significant now as on the day it was first signed. The treaty provides the basis for continuing relations between the First Nations of the Athabasca and the rest of Canada. Given its historical and sacred significance for the signatories to Treaty 8, the original treaty has returned to Alberta for the first time since the signing to be part of the Treaty 8 Centennial Commemoration. Its journey west was recently marked by a pipe ceremony on Parliament Hill led by elders and representatives of the Treaty 8 First Nations. Until its return to the Treaty 8: 1899-1999 exhibition at the National Archives on June 30, a facsimile will be shown in its place. The treaty can also be consulted in the virtual version of the exhibition on the National Archives Web site.

Treaty 8: 1899-1999 is open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the main floor of the National Archives, 395 Wellington St. in Ottawa.

For information: (613) 992-2618.

Media are invited to an advanced showing at 10 a.m. Monday, June 21, at 395 Wellington St., Ottawa.

For more information and reservation please contact:

Pauline Portelance
Media Relations Officer
Telephone: (613) 992-9361