Treaty Education is Here to Stay

As outlined by Dwayne Donald, Canada does not have a culture. Later on in his lecture, he invited his students (and those who were watching the lecture online) to think about what kinds of problems are associated with having no culture. He explained that since Canada has such a diverse population, its citizens fail to take the time to examine different cultures. That is one of the reasons why teaching treaty education is so important. Treaty education will help us, the people living in Canada, to understand and respect the different cultures that make up our country. Even if there are little to no Indigenous students in the classroom, Indigenous peoples have had a huge influence on the development of Canada and still continue to influence our county to this day. For example, Indigenous peoples helped defend the land that we now know as Canada in the War of 1812. Teachers need to cover instances like this so that they are not promoting the dominant European culture. Canada would not be a country if there was no collaborative effort from different cultures.

Furthermore, Donald says that Canadians have to work backwards when we think in terms of the future. In other words, the people living in Canada need to understand their past, like, for example, when Residential Schools were in place, to understand where they are now and what places they are headed towards. With the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action Act, Canada is supposed to be on its way to reconciliation. However, some of Canada and its citizens ignore its past in hopes of it going away. Yes, there are no more operating Residential Schools in Canada, but we should still care about when they were in effect. Why? Despite what people say, the past is never left in the past. People can try to suppress events that have happened, but eventually, they will come back to the surface. Indigenous peoples will not forget about how badly the European peoples treated them. It’s a big part of Canadian history and is an issue that will not be fixed overnight. It’s time we acknowledge that. It is uncomfortable talking about things like Residential Schools, but that is the only way that people can spread their knowledge (no matter how little it is) with others. Additionally, even though people do not like taking responsibility for the wrongs they have done (especially if the problem was not their fault), it needs to happen so that there is a move towards forgiveness and change. Clair explains what treaty education means to her when she defines Treaty Education as a way of honouring the history and land of Canada. In order to honour Canada, its citizens need to recognize the mistakes that have been made (again, even if they were not made by them). Being able to take responsibility for actions is an honourable trait. Sometimes, the only way out is through. By facing our problems face on, it will help us move to forgiveness and change more quickly.

To me, “we are all treaty people” because we all make promises and compromises. Furthermore, the social bond between people would not work without treaties because we all depend on someone or something. Someone does something for someone else, they return the favour, and the cycle continues to repeat. When we think about treaties, we see them as a big official document, but I do not think it has to be that way. The definition of the word “treaty” is: “An agreement or arrangement made by negotiation” (“Treaty”, 2019). Many of us have been through this process. A treaty is a form of contract; it binds people. An example of an informal treaty could be promising your boss that you will come to work on time and do all the expected tasks you have. If you uphold this promise, the company will pay you for what you do with a wage or salary. By examining the official treaty documents, it will help students better understand the relationship between two people or groups.

Lastly, for new teachers who have to tackle teaching Treaty Education, I think it is important for them to know that they will make mistakes along the way that will help them with their learning journey. It’s natural to make mistakes, but we need to make sure that we use our mistakes as learning experiences so that we do not make the same error twice. As Mike and Clair state, treaty education is not going to go away any time soon. In fact, it will become more important as time goes on and we as teachers have a moral responsibility to teach about Treaty Education. So, I think it is important for teachers to be able to work through their mistakes and be persistent about teaching Treaty Education. Depending on the education that a pre-service or regular teacher has received will influence the attitudes and amount of knowledge they have for the subject. It is essential for teachers to teachers to challenge their beliefs and continue to learn because that will help them to become better educators and well respected. Lots of people expect teachers to have a lot of knowledge, but they can serve the role of the learner too. If teachers are honest with their students and grow with them, it allows for a more authentic relationship between the two.

References:

Dwayne Donald’s Lecture: https://vimeo.com/15264558

Clair Kreuger’s Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWY_X-ikmaw&feature=youtu.be

Mike and Clair’s Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnPl9Xfd0Bw&feature=youtu.be

Treaty. (2019). In Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/treaty

5 thoughts on “Treaty Education is Here to Stay

  1. I think what you mention of the teacher also having the role of learner makes a lot of sense in regards to Treaty Ed and reconciliation. When Canadians in general are still struggling with defining Treaties and how they affect all people, we cannot be expected experts.

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  2. I think your so right that Canadiens ignore the past and hope it will go away. Or that they claim it doesn’t affect them because it’s the past and we need to move forward. I thought Donald’s words “that we need to work backwards when you think of terms of the future.” Is such a strong statement and very profound. When I have students, who complain that they have already done treaty Ed and they know enough and ask questions like “why do we need to keep learning this?” I will use Donald’s words.
    Great Blog post.

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  3. I really enjoyed reading your blog post, especially the last paragraph. I like how you said that teachers need to be honest with our students because we do need to be honest with them. We also have to guide them on a path to healing and forgiveness for the betterment of all people. I think your ideas are a way to get started on that path.

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  4. I also agree that Treaty education is an area that us as teachers in Saskatchewan may struggle in how to teach properly, but as you said, it is not going away anytime soon so we must know how to properly take on this topic and use it in our classrooms.

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  5. I really like your analogy of treaties and agreements with a boss. I think this would really help put things into perspective for students, who may not fully understand what a treaty is and what it all entails. Explaining it to them in this way would help them relate it to their own experiences, so that when they are confronted with the treaties, they know how to understand them – not as a list of suggestions or ideas, but as a list of promises intended to build a relationship

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