Treaty Education // We Are All Treaty People

Pretext: For our blog this week we were asked to think about a response to a teacher that is having difficulty implementing Treaty Education in their classroom because of resistance from their students and their colleagues lack appreciation for Treaty Education

Firstly I would remind this intern that they are doing everything right by persisting with Treaty Education especially in a school where it is a seemingly inferior topic. I would also tell them that Treaty Education is relatively new to the education system and people’s resistance is unfortunately expected. Since their colleague does not see the importance in teaching Treaty Education and will likely not be easily convinced of its value, I would suggest that they remind that colleague that it is mandatory as it is a part of the Saskatchewan curriculum; as Claire said in class “back everything you do with the curriculum.” In addition, I tell this teacher to use the resources out there to try to educate their colleagues on why Treaty Education is needed in schools and what it means to be a treaty person.

In regards to their students, this teacher’s lesson is probably one of the first and few times they have been asked to think about First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples’ worldviews. The purpose of Treaty Education in to teach people about the history of the land we get to live on. It is to inform people that because of European settlement some people have been privileged to have great success and other people to be forcefully marginalized or assimilated into a new culture. Treaty Education is about informing people that peaceful promises were made between nations so that everyone could share this land and cultures could thrive together. So it is important that this teacher’s students learn these things and maybe a lesson on privilege to introduce the topic would be beneficial. Unfortunately, it can be very hard to get through to people when they have grown up hearing and learning from others who share racist or ignorant views of the Indigenous people in Canada. Hopefully, these students will eventually come to the realization that they are treaty people. They are on this land because of promises of many things such education, agricultural assistance, money, and much more; many of these promises were not kept.

I hope that my response and these points would help the teacher to persist in her mission of teaching treaty education. I know that I will likely see the same resistance in my career but I understand the purpose of treaty education and I know that I want it to be a part of my classroom regardless of others view of treaty education.

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One thought on “Treaty Education // We Are All Treaty People

  1. As you did, it is important to recognize that the promises were not kept. In a way, the recent notions and motions to formally include treaty education in the classroom can be seen as a gift; a chance of renewal for the unkept promises of a time before ours. You’re right to mention that it will be met with resistance and strategic to mention Claire’s talking point about backing this stuff up with curriculum. There will always be those who resist. Equality feels like oppression to those who are privileged. Right now, curriculum is our primary defence against the inevitable bacpklash that we are signing up for as pre service teachers. Great comments, Alex!

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