When I was reading what kihci-asotamâtowin means and its importance to treaties, my first reaction was how similar its meaning is to the sacred vows taken between two people in marriage. The treaties solidified a “relationship between three parties, [ ] [the Crown] and [ ] [First Nations] and the Creator” (Cardinal & Hildebrandt, 2000) in the same way that the marriage ceremony is between the two individuals getting married and God. I understand that many marriages do not include a formal spiritual component, but I still believe the vows they take are sacred and God is still present, blessing their union. The ceremony and protocol that the First Nations followed when signing treaty parallels the protocol and traditions that are followed during the ceremony of marriage. I have always felt the ceremony of marriage is a very special moment and that the words spoken between the two people getting married truly bind them together in more than just a legal way. This is how I have come to connect with and understand kihci-asotamâtowin.
I chose to represent my engagement with kihci-asotamâtowin by connecting it to my own marriage vows. I feel I could have just as easily said “as long as the sun shines, as long as the grass grows, as long as the rivers flow” during my vows, and it would have had the same weight and binding-power as the vows that I spoke did. I used a photo from my wedding and included the vows I exchanged with my husband as well as the lines spoken during treaty to represent that they are equally as binding and sacred. Just as my vows tied my husband and I to each other, the words spoken during the signing of treaty tied the First Nations to the settlers and made them family.
Cardinal, H. & Hildebrandt, W. (2000). Treaty elders of Saskatchewan: Our dream is that our Peoples will one day be clearly recognized as Nations. Calgary, AB: University of Calgary Press.