AAO 2014: Treaty 9 Travels to Northern Ontario

This is the final post summarizing my experience at the AAO 2014 conference. The first post, “AAO 2014: Context and Commemoration” can be seen here

 Closing Plenary
The closing plenary of AAO 2014 was titled “Archives Roadshow: The Journey of the James Bay Treaty to Northern Ontario” and featured talks by Paul Mcllroy, Shannon Coles, and Lani Wilson all of the Archives of Ontario.

Their combined presentations focused on the history of the James Bay Treaty (also known as Treaty 9), the impact of the treaty of past and current events, and the challenges associated with preparing the treaty to be loaned to the Moose Factory community.  Almost 108 years after the Treaty was signed in the Moose Factory area the historical document was exhibited returned to the Mushkegowuk territory for display.  The treaty was on display as part of the Treaty 9 Conference hosted by Mushkegowuk Tribal Council from July 31st to August 1st 2013.

Mcllroy opened the plenary by discussing the unique nature of Treaty 9 and the signing tour that was undertaken to gather community signatures on the document.  Treaty 9 is the only numbered treaty that has a province as a signatory and the Ontario government has been closely tied to the administration of the treaty. A detailed history of Treaty 9 compiled by the Archives of Ontario can be found here.

Cole’s portion of the presentation provided an in-depth look at the conservation efforts required to prepare Treaty 9 for travel from Toronto to Moose Factory.  She did an excellent job of breaking down the conversation concerns around the document and explaining why particular conservation treatments were used. It was interesting to see what specific challenges the parchment document presented and how specially designed cases were built for the project.

The presentation concluded with Lani Wilson discussing her experience coordinating the trip to Moose Factory and traveling with the document to the remote community.  She explained the challenges in arranging air travel to a remote community and adapting crates to weight restrictions on the small planes.  Wilson also described the desire of the host communities to have as many people as possible see the treaty while it was in Moose Factory and the emotional impact it had on the community.  Some of the descendents of the original signatories to the treaty were in attendance and participated in the event.

This was a great concluding plenary that focused on an important historical document and work being done to make it accessible to the communities it has historically and presently impacts.