A feud between between Mistawasis First Nation and Alberta’s Tsuu T’ina First Nation that dates back over 170 years has been laid to rest.
This past week, leaders from both First Nations met and signed a peace agreement. Mistawasis Chief Darryl Watson traveled to the Tsuu T’ina First Nation.
“It (the agreement) basically sets the stage that we as First Nations people have always maintained; that we have the ability to form alliances well after and well before the existence of our current treaties and Canada becoming a country,” Watson said.
The two nations have a history of off-and-on conflict, but signed an agreement before confederation that stated that during certain times of the year, the two tribes were free to cross onto each other’s lands to hunt or gather medicine.
As a result of an incident in 1840, the original peace agreement was torn up.
Broken Jaw (formerly known as Nehiyaw), a well-respected warrior, was attacked.
“One of the Tsuu T’ina warriors, Bullhead, shot Broken Jaw in the jaw and thought he had killed him, but he didn’t. Upon going to finish him off the Tsuu T’ina warrior found that (Broken Jaw) was still alive and was singing his death song. The warrior from Tsuu T’ina was amazed that (Broken Jaw) was able to live through the blow,” Watson said.
Eleven men died as a result of the ensuing conflict.
Watson said the peace treaty he signed is not so much a peace treaty in a traditional sense, but is more about establishing a partnership.
“Each of the peoples’ involved have the ability to work collectively, enhancing some of the more important issues creating economic wealth for our nations,” Watson said.
Watson added the agreement was also about correcting history. Some historians had written that Broken Jaw was assaulted by Gabriel Dumont, which Watson said was not the case at all.
Talks around establishing the new agreement started back in August.
Bruce Starlight, language commissioner at Tsuu T’ina, came to Mistawasis to share oral history. It was then the two sides realized they did not have a peace treaty.