Argument on ‘Datedness’ of a Document

Just thought I’d bring up something comparable to the biblical texts (as far as being aged) – treaties in Canada (from 1872 and onwards).

I was just talking with someone about this and they mentioned how we (as Indian people in Canada) get paid $5.00 based on the treaty contract from 1876. That has not changed in some 134 years although $5.00 on 1876 was likely worth like a $1000.00 in today’s society. Some would say modernize the treaty (including me) while others stick to a very literal translation.

Now although the literal translation is $5.00, the intent was financial compensation for the exchange of land…and that land is worth more now than previously. So do we follow intent or literal translation?

The idea of hunting and fishing rights, do we follow intent (provision of livelihood) or literal translation (basic hunting and fishing rights)? Fact is, less than 50% of First Nations people actually hunt or fish…a good 50% and higher get their personal sustenance from grocery stores (other people hunted/fished for us). The literal is used here in the treaties although it is clear the intent was for First Nations people to be able to ‘provide’ sustenance to their communities.

Or should we just scrap a useless 134 old document that has fallen out of touch with basic economic realities around us?

This is extremely comparable to the biblical texts – in the sense of ‘modernization’. I can’t think of a single First Nations person that would scrap the treaties because of their ‘date’. But I can think of quite a few others proposing such ideas.

The biblical texts are ‘dated’…admitted. However, does ‘date’ make something meaningless? Can something ‘dated’ be modernized?