THE MAA-NULTH TREATY: HUU-AY-AHT YOUTH VISIONS FOR POST-TREATY LIFE, EMBEDDED IN THE PRESENT COLONIAL CONDITIONS OF INDIGENOUS-SETTLER RELATIONS IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Sloan Morgan, Vanessa
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On April 1, 2011, the Maa-nulth Treaty went into effect. Negotiated between five First Nations, the province of British Columbia and Canada, the Treaty concerned territories never before ceded on the west coast of Vancouver Island. This study utilizes the Treaty as a point of departure to explore contemporary Indigenous-Settler relations. Using digital storytelling, youth from one of the five signatory First Nations identified their priorities for their Nation in a post-Treaty era. These stories are contrasted with a discourse analysis of mainstream media coverage surrounding the Treaty and a survey of local (mainly Settler) residents’ perceptions to explore dominant perspectives pertaining to this comprehensive land claims agreement. While youths’ ideas for the future were anchored to their Indigenous cultural identity, albeit integrating technology and novel art forms, Settlers’ perspectives remained statically centered upon ill-informed strains of colonial thought premised upon socio-political and economic stereotypes. Colonialism continues to be (re)produced structurally and individually; these findings point to the need for Settlers to engage in their own processes of decolonization.