This is a real issue in schools. As you listen to Dwayne’s invitation/challenge, as you listen to Claire’s lecture and as you read Cynthia’s narrative – use these resources and your blog to craft a response to this student’s email. Consider the following questions:
1. What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?
2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
1. Coming from a community that had very little Indigenous representation, I struggled to understand why Treaty Education was involved within the schools. Like Dwayne Donald, I came into university with very small understanding of Indigenous culture and history. Many times teachers are not taught a lot about Aboriginal perspectives, especially when they were growing up, so the lack of knowledge is spread to the students which creates an ongoing cycle. Learning about Native studies can be very isolating to Indigenous students, many of them already know this information or have lived in the areas where injustice has happened. Non-Indigenous students are less likely to be exposed to Indigenous culture by their families and communities, so it is the schools’ responsibility to teach those students the history and culture that their Indigenous peers are already aware of. As Claire explains, students teach their parents, for example when society wanted people to wear seatbelts it was first introduced into schools so those students would go home and tell their parents. Just like seatbelts, students will go home with new found knowledge, vocabulary and identity about Canadian history and Treaty Education that can impact their families. By not properly teaching treaty education, we as teachers are continuing the racism and segregation around Indigenous people. If students are taught with racist terms, then they will continue using them until they are taught otherwise. I think the most important part of teaching Native studies or Treaty education is the connection that the students can make. It is not as important for a student to know when the last residential school close but rather understand why residential schools happened and how those effects are still a part of society today.
2. The idea that “we are all treaty people” is true but it is complex and confusing to understand at times. It was not only the First Nations people who signed the treaties, as the treaties were agreements between European settlers and the First Nations people. Two groups of people signed the legal agreements, so both parties must honor those agreements. It is important not to blindly say we are all treaty people without having the knowledge and understanding to back that statement. I was nervous when watching the class video title “We are All Treaty People” because students could blindly be saying the statement without understand how or why but their explanations for ‘why’ were amazing because it was at a level that anyone, with or without treaty education, could understand. As explained in Mike and Claire’s video, treaties are complex and never truly understood, but the idea that the treaties are not over but rather are negatively impacting people every day is something students should discuss. It is one thing to say that we, as people of the U of R, are on Treaty 4 and 6 territories but understanding what that means and what has happened to have the university on this land is another. The approach that is taken to show the unity of treaty people can impact how students receive the information. To me, the statement that “we are all treaty people” means that both European settlers and First Nations signed an agreement to share the land, we should be equal in society and should have equal chance for resources. All land under the treaties should have the resources for clean running water and basic needs. Canada is a land for Canadians, meaning everyone who associate themselves as Canadian, including First Nations people and European settlers.
In response to the email…
The students this intern is teaching are the students that treaty education can have the biggest effect on, as they represent the students that do not understand that Canadian history continues to affect society today. Like Claire explained within the video, taking those students back to the beginning basic information and building upon it because those students have to make connections and understandings of treaties or Indigenous people so there is no way for them to comprehend the impacts colonization had on Indigenous people. For my social studies 30 course, my teacher relied heavily on the Canadian history series titled Canada: A Peoples History, here is a link to the first episode (https://vimeo.com/204048014). Through this, she was able to show the class the history aspect of Canada while showing how events and problems are still happening within Canada today.
Claire and Mike’s Presentation and Conversation