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Sharing the land
  • The prosperity of the land was supposed to be shared

  • Treaty annuities were the means to do so

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What we do

    The Modernized Annuity Working Group (MAWG)

has been working since June 2019 to explore whether there is a historical and legal foundation to modernizing Treaty annuities, and if so, how to go about implementing the idea. This involves research, education and engagement.


   Three of our team—Gregory Mason, Sheilla Jones and Wayne Helgason—have co-authored an overview that explores the rationale, design, implementation, and cost of a modern Treaty annuity, which would acknowledge the value to Canada of the land ceded by the Indigenous Peoples and serves as a concrete measure for reconciliation.


A Modern Annuity for Canada—Concrete Reconciliation

Journal of Aboriginal Economic Development

Volume 12, Issue 1, Fall 2020, pages 92-110

(Released April 2021)

Read the full paper here.



first facts

  There's lots to learn and understand about modernized annuities, but that's exactly why MAWG's work is so important. And we're providing easy-to-access information in one-page first facts pdfs so that you can learn along with us.

Let the People Speak: Oppression in a Time of Reconciliation

By Sheilla Jones

Foreword by Sheila North

   We—Settlers and First People—can take concrete steps towards reconciliation when we arrive at a shared understanding of how our relationship got to where it is today. Let the People Speak looks at the oppressive power dynamics of Indigenous politics that have grown dramatically over the past 50 years as funding for Indian Affairs/Indigenous Affairs rose from $105-million in 1966 to more than $21-billion in 2019. Yet, despite the resources allocated to the two IA departments and the 32 federal departments and agencies that co-deliver Indigenous programs and services, too many FN communities and individuals continue to face grinding poverty and despair. Jones argues that ordinary Indigenous people remain uniquely powerless and voiceless when it comes to influencing the federal policies governing their lives, from birth to death. And she makes the point that Settlers have also been silenced on Indigenous policy executed in their names. Both First People and Settlers need to make their voices heard for their to be meaningful change that leads to reconciliation.

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First Nations Modern Annuity: A Guaranteed Income for FN People was presented by MAWG at The BIG Forum on basic income at the University of Ottawa, May23-26. Download the presentation here.







First Nations Modern Annuity


   MAWG has distilled its extensive research into a presentation that was given to the Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada minister's political staff in 2022. It has also been shared with all the national, provincial and regional organizations funded by CIRNAC to speak for First Nations people.

   The First Nations Modern Annuity presentation is intended as a catalyst for discussion. Therefore, the next step is to create a forum for First People and Settlers where, with respect and inclusiveness, we can share, debate, discuss and, we hope, find the kind of meeting ground that is so important for reconciliation.

   Groups, organizations and reconciliation committees that would like to participate in such a forum can contact:

              Sheilla Jones and Wayne Helgason

              MAWG Co-Chairs


              or utilize the Contact form.

Research, resources, videos

first facts

Quick facts to get started

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

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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

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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder,

No. 124, August 2018

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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder

No. 125, October 2018

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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder

No. 126, October 2018

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By Sheilla Jones

Frontier Backgrounder

No. 127, October 2018

Frontier Backgrounder header.jpg


Voices and viewpoints

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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

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