The EUC Seminar Series to discuss the Treaty of Niagara

Niagara Falls

The Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change (EUC) Seminar Series Polishing the Chain: Treaty Relations in Toronto, resumes on Jan. 31 at 12:30 p.m. with the Yellowhead Institute’s executive director Hayden King and research director Eva Jewel in conversation with artist Vanessa Dion-Fletcher. They will discuss the 1764 Treaty of Niagara.

“The Forgotten Promise of Niagara” event poster

The upcoming seminar will discuss the 1764 Treaty of Niagara as the foundational agreement between the Crown and the Anishinaabek, and a moment of renewal of the foundational Covenant Chain or Two Row Wampum between the Haudenosaunee and European settlers. Here the 1763 Royal Proclamation, which announced British arrival and supposed sovereignty in the region, was transformed by Indigenous partners as it was adopted as a treaty. Many see Niagara as a constitutional moment anchored in Indigenous and British legal traditions. British promises at Niagara included the recognition of Indigenous title and sovereignty, and an ongoing commitment to peaceful coexistence and trade for mutual benefit. Indigenous Peoples would never sink into poverty. Importantly, the Treaty of Niagara is a foundational context for all subsequent agreements Indigenous nations made with the Crown. In this talk, speakers will explore the significance of this agreement and how (or if) implementing Niagara could contribute towards decolonization and Indigenous calls for Land Back

Polishing the Chain brings together Indigenous and allied scholars, knowledge holders, artists, Earth workers and activists to explore the historical significance and contemporary relevance of the treaties that Indigenous nations in southern Ontario have made with each other, with the land and with the Crown. It also looks at the spirit and intent of Toronto treaties; the ways Indigenous Peoples have upheld and continue to uphold them; the extent to which they are (and are not) reflected in contemporary Indigenous and state relations; and the treaty responsibilities of both settler and Indigenous Torontonians. 

This event is the fourth seminar in the Polishing the Chain, 2021-2022 EUC Seminar Series.  

All winter 2022 seminars will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. via Zoom and live-streamed on the Polishing the Chain Facebook pageRegistration is required.  

This year’s EUC Seminar Series is presented in partnership with York’s Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages, Associate Professor Deborah McGregor’s Indigenous Environmental Project, and Jumblies Theatre & Art’s Talking Treaties; with support from the Toronto Biennial of Art, Vice-President Research & Innovation, the Indigenous Teaching and Learning Fund, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Faculty Association – Community Projects, and Associate Professor and Environmental Arts & Justice Coordinator Lisa Myers’ York Research Chair in Indigenous Curatorial Practice. 

For more information about the seminar series, email