Our Story

The idea of creating a land sharing network was born over lunch between Valerie Zink and Philip Brass at the Valley Bake & Coffee Shop in Fort Qu’Appelle in the summer of 2018. At a time when accessing land was becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous for Indigenous people, both Valerie – a prairie settler from a farming family – and Philip – a Saulteaux and Cree artist, hunter, and land-based educator from the Peepeekisis Cree Nation – saw the need for landholders to better understand their responsibilities as Treaty people and take concrete steps toward sharing land as Treaties intended.

Val reached out to a small number of like-minded folks – Hillary Aitken, Naomi Beingessner, Emily Eaton, Martha Robbins, and later Mary Smillie and Amy Seesequasis – to turn the idea into reality.

It began with a small gathering of landholders at Wanuskewin on a snowy day in February 2019 to gauge interest. While there were many unanswered questions, everyone in attendance embraced the idea of sharing land and deepening their understanding of Treaties as frameworks for coexistence in these territories.

This was followed with a larger gathering that fall with Indigenous land users at the Treaty 4 Governance Centre in Fort Qu’appelle. The organizing committee took the knowledge and ideas that were shared there to create the bones of an organization. They met, planned, talked to many settlers, and applied for grants. A partnership with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner deepened and strengthened the network.

In the summer of 2020, the monumental start of something exciting was marked with a ceremony organized by the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and led by Elder Ross Gardypie, signifying the commitment of landholders to begin to right the relationship.