Talking Treaties

The website for A Treaty Guide for Torontonians is now live at

Talking Treaties was featured at the 2nd Toronto BIennial of Art, March to June 2022, including:
– launch of A Treaty Guide for Torontonians (June 5 at the Small Arms Inspection Building, Etobicoke),
– short film, Dish Dances. (March 26 – June 19,  Historic Fort York, Visitor Centre),
– pop-up window installations at The Ground Floor, 132 Fort York Blvd.

You can purchase a copy of A Treaty Guide for Torontonians, while copies last, at Art Metropole.

For information on the film – By These Presents, ‘Purchasing Toronto’ – go to
To rent or purchase a copy of this film, please visit vtape.

Ashley Riley in scene from By These Presents: “Purchasing” Toronto, 2019

Rooted in oral history and community collaboration, Talking Treaties is a multi-year Jumblies collaborative project that artfully shares Indigenous history and awareness of the place now called Toronto. Launched in 2015, Talking Treaties is directed by Ange Loft, in collaboration with Victoria Freeman and others. Talking Treaties has many branches and has engaged thousands of participants in generating symbols, poetry, improvised maps and performative explorations.

Talking about treaties with Indigenous artists, historical researchers and community leaders was our starting point. From narrative threads emerging from these conversations, the project focuses on three main agreements: the Dish with One Spoon, the Indigenous Nation agreement for resource management across the Great Lakes region; the Covenant Chain which extended, at the 1764 Treaty of Niagara, to 24 Nations, included some Haudenosaunee, the Missisaugas of the Credit and other Anishnaabeg. This became a foundational treaty for subsequent indigenous-non-Indigenous agreements in this area; and the ‘Toronto Purchase’ with the Mississaugas of the Credit, finally settled in 2010.

The knowledge uncovered and shared through Talking Treaties, was translated into a series of multi-disciplinary events and activities. In 2017 and 2018, the Talking Treaties Spectacle was presented at Historic Fort York, sharing the research through words, song, movement, giant puppets and outdoor theatre – mixing professional artists, an Indigenous cast, and diverse community performers.

In Fall 2019, Talking Treaties was featured as a multimedia installation at the Small Arms Inspection Building for the inaugural Toronto Biennial of Art. This installation, entitled By These Presents: ‘Purchasing’ Toronto, included 3 short films, and artifacts from the Talking Treaties Spectacle and interactive workshops. 

In 2020, Talking Treaties continued with workshops, screening of films, new partnerships, including Black Creek Pioneer Village, Historic Fort York and the Toronto Biennial of Art. In 2021-22 Ange Loft, Victoria Freeman, Martha Stiegman, and other collaborators, created an artful book – A Treaty Guide for Torontonians – an associated website, and a new short dance-based film (Dish Dances), all of which were featured at the 2nd Toronto Biennial of Art in Spring 2022.


Toronto Indigenous & Treaty History Timelime – Toronto Biennial of Art 2019

Click on the images below for full credits
Director: Ange Loft
Co-director: Martha Stiegman
Research: Victoria Freeman
Produced with support from:
Toronto Biennial of Art, Government of Canada, Canada Council of the Arts, Ontario Arts Council & Toronto Arts Council

Media for By These Presents
A New Kind of Land Acknowledgement – canadianart


The Talking Treaties Spectacle was an outdoor pageant explored the treaty history of the Toronto area through words, song, movement, puppetry and spectacle. The mobile performance was co-created with a team of diverse community artists, bringing together oral history, petition texts to the crown, and arts based research to an outdoor audiences with rhythmic delivery. The spectacle moves around the tightly scripted one act play “Symbolically United” addressing the marriage of Molly and William Johnson on the eve of the Treaty of Niagara.

The Spectacle premiered at Fort York’s Indigenous Arts Festival in June 2017, alongside companion composition Underneath the Concrete, as the culminating events of Jumblies’ 7-week Touching Ground Festival.

In 2018 the Spectacle was remounted for a longer run of 6 show, with an all-Indigenous professional cast, performing alongside diverse community singers and performers. 

2017 Production

Click on the program images below for full credits and more information

2018 Production

Click on the program images below for full page credits and more information
Ange Loft: Lead Artist, Co-writer, Designer, Director
Victoria Freeman: Historian & Co-writer

Original production supported by: Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Ontario 150, Toronto Foundation, Metcalf Foundation, J.P. Bickell Foundation, Inspirit Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, First Story,
Remount supported by: Government of Canada, Canada Council of the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and Historic Fort York

Media for 2017 Production
Talking Treaties in Canadian Art Magazine
Mooney on Theatre review of Talking Treaties Spectacle
New Canadian Life radio interview with Ange Loft
Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation “Indigenous Voices on Treaties” interview with Ange Loft

Media for 2018 Remount
The Whole Note Concert Report: At Fort York, Talking Treaties energizes and engages
Mooney on Theatre review of Talking Treaties Spectacle
Inside Looking In review of Talking Treaties Spectacle
My Entertainment World review of Treaties Spectacle at Fort York
Ontario Presents Spotlight On: Ange Loft


Throughout the development and into the legacy phase, we have shared Talking Treaties via a series of creative workshops, with partnerships and commissions from across the arts and education sectors. The workshops have engaged thousands of participants in generating symbols, text and performance: a process of art-based research that fed in to the creation of the Talking Treaties Spectacle and upcoming projects. See above for details on hosting a workshop.

Media Link


Over the spring of 2015, interviews were collected with local historians, educators, and public figures, on their relationship to, and understanding of, Treaties in Toronto. The four short audio art tracks presented featured six of those voices. The audio gallery was initially installed at the Ground Floor, and travelled to various venues across Toronto, including a month long stay at the Native Canadian Center. Four audio art art tracks were featured; approximately 5 minutes each. Participants were prompted to write or draw responses, key phrases, questions, or new ideas.

Voices heard
Lee Maracle, Duke Redbird, Rebeka Tabobondung, Bonita Lawrence,
Ed Sackaney, and Andrew Wesley

Audio artists

How Powerful it Can Be: Alaska B
Skullduggery: Ange Loft
Acknowledgement: Adrienne Marcus Raja
Trips and Wires: LAL (Rosina Kazi and Nic Murray)

Interviews collected by: Lilia Leon, Julia Hune-Brown, Rosina Kazi, and Mindy Stricke

Project leads: Ange Loft and Victoria Freeman
A partnership between Jumblies Theatre and Native Canadian Center of Toronto’s First Story. Funded by Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs

Media Links

Territorial Delicacy was a performance involving an audio collage of voices, laying of table settings, and sharing of a loaf of chocolate challah (a “local delicacy”), making sure that there was enough to go around the whole group – inspired by research into the ‘Dish With One Spoon’ agreement. The performance was originally produced with a collaborative of Toronto historical societies for the event The Toronto Carrying Place: A Shared Legacy, with a site specific performance set beside the Humber River at Toronto’s Old Mill. Territorial Delicacy has been remounted for various Ground Floor audiences.

Media Link


Talking Treaties was launched in 2015, and was included in the Toronto episode of Jumblies’ cross-country tour, Train of. Thought:

Media Link