Modernizing Treaty Annuities – A Policy Blueprint

Policy Blueprint, Aboriginal Futures, Sheilla Jones

Almost all aspects of the historical treaties signed between Indian bands and the Crown between 1850 and 1921 have been modernized over the past forty years. The notable exception is the treaty annuity, the single provision in the treaties specifically benefiting individuals within the collective. Annuities are, today, $4 or $5 per person, unchanged from when the treaties were signed.

The historic treaties contained two key livelihood support provisions to provide individuals and families a degree of economic and political independence within the collective: the right to continue to hunt, fish, trap and otherwise pursue traditional activities on ceded lands, and annuities payable to every man, woman, and child belonging to those bands.

By federal government policy, annuities are paid directly to eligible recipients in the amount of $4 or $5 per year, either in cash or by cheque. The current Indian Act is silent on the valuing the annuity, how it is administered, and who is deemed eligible. These issues are a matter of government policy.

Read the entire Policy Blueprint here.