• The prosperity of the land was supposed to be shared

  • Treaty annuities were the means to do so

Sharing the land

    The Modernized Annuity Working Group (MAWG) wants to understand the real-world effects for First Nations families, FN communities and Canadian society if we, as a country, support modernized annuities. It’s an idea that is both revolutionary and practical. But because modernizing annuities is such a new idea, we want to be able to help Canadians—Indigenous and non-Indigenous—to understand the implications and consequences of proposing such a bold move.

   We start with the four principles laid down in 2004 by the Treaty Annuity Working Group (TAWG):

  • That treaty annuities be modernized to reflect land values (sharing the land),

  • That annuities be extended to all Status FN people across Canada,

  • That annuities be paid monthly directly to individuals and families, similar to the Canada Child Benefit,

  • That a modernized annuity be revenue neutral.

   These four principles serve as a starting point, and are expected to evolve with additional research and with the valuable push-pull of debate and discussion involving multiple voices and viewpoints.

   MAWG is exploring the many questions that immediately arise when considering a modernized annuity. Our team of settlers and first people are collaborating on developing sensible recommendations for managing the structure and process, and for understanding the effects on families, communities and Canadian society. There is a lot to consider, but we’re starting with the most import questions.

  • How could a modernized annuity be valued?

  • How could eligibility be determined?

  • How much might a modernized annuity cost?

  • How could funding for existing federal Indigenous services and programs be reallocated to accommodate the cost of a modernized annuity?

  • How could a modernized annuity affect FN families (on and off reserve), FN communities, provincial and municipal responsibilities and budgets, national poverty levels, and Canadian society as a whole?

  • And what about taxation? How might that work?

   There's lots to learn and understand, but that's exactly why MAWG's work is so important. And we're providing easy-to-access information so that you can learn along with us.

What we do

Research, resources, videos

Treaty annuities payable to every man, woman and child first began in 1818 with a $10 annuity...

The Indian Act of 1985 is silent on the valuation and distribution of...


Voices and viewpoints

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By Sheilla Jones and Sheilla North

Toronto Star

Op-ed, December 23, 2019

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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Commentary, January 2019

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Guest Column: Sheilla Jones

Ottawa Sun, January 12, 2019


Research deep dives

By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder,

No. 124, August 2018

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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder

No. 125, October 2018

Frontier Backgrounder header.jpg
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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder

No. 126, October 2018

Frontier Backgrounder header.jpg
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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder

No. 127, October 2018

Frontier Backgrounder header.jpg


Voices and viewpoints

first facts

Quick facts to get started

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Highlighting the necessity of modern-era first people and settlers coming together to rewrite our relationship, in the spirit of reconciliation. December 2019.

Frontier video 18:20

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Sheilla Jones on re-framing spending by Indigenous Affairs so that it makes sense.

Frontier video 3:44

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Think of IA and its 30+ co-delivery partners as a "super-province".

Frontier video 4:12

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Why is the annuity payable to Canada's Treaty First Nations people still only $5?

Frontier video 4:26

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Wayne Helgason on the implications of modernizing Treaty annuities.

Frontier video 2:21

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Leona Freed on the frustration of feeling like no one is listening to ordinary FN people.

Frontier video 2:0

MAWG is working with coalition partner,

the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg,

to explore the implications of a modern annuity.

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