“We are all Treaty People”: More than Just Words

Email Prompt: 

“As part of my classes for my three week block I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada . I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke.

The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.”

This is a real issue in schools. As you think about what TreatyEdCamp offered, 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”?

Information I would include in my response:

  • Equity: in regard to standard of living, Indigenous peoples receive inequitable funding for education, healthcare, and other essential services. It is crucial that non-Indigenous peoples know these inequities and the reasons for them, in order to help bridge the gap for a more equitable and sustainable system.
  • Relationships: relationships is one of the guiding ways of knowing for Indigenous peoples. Building meaningful and genuine relationships with Indigenous peoples is a step toward reconciliation. When we build relationships, we not only show that person trust, patience, and loyalty, but we are able to gain an understanding of what we can do to work together. Whether that be addressing an issue or simply being there as a friend or companion, relationships are crucial.
  • Understand the past and present so we can reconcile for a better future: when we know the traumas and injustices of the past and present (i.e. residential schools, foster system and overrepresentation in jails), we are able to understand our role in reconciliation to create a better tomorrow for everyone. It is important to look to the future in a positive light because otherwise, we will not get anything accomplished.

“We are all Treaty people” is more than just words. Acknowledgements are meaningless if we do not have the understanding and education to know what those words mean. Simply put, this phrase means that we all have right to uphold. If you own land, you are exercising a Treaty right. Treaties have not adjusted with the ever-increasing standard of living, which has created a significant gap in funding and provision of services. We must learn what Treaties represent so that we know how to responsibly and respectfully exercise our rights and advocate for an equitable system.

We are not fully engaged citizens until we understand our shared history, because it is a part of our collective identity.

One thought on ““We are all Treaty People”: More than Just Words

  1. Thank you for your rich understanding of Learning from Place: A Return to Traditional Mushkegowuk Ways of Knowing. I found the information that you would include within your blog very useful for explaining your perspective. Your quote “We are not fully engaged citizens until we understand our shared history because it is a part of our collective identity.” encompasses the whole article perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

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