Writing Prompt: 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”?
In the past three years at university, I have learned more about indigenous perspectives than I have in the 13 years of being in a catholic school. I went to school in North Battleford, and half of the students in the school were First Nations students, yet we still didn’t have any Treaty Education. In social studies and in English we would discuss it when need be, but we never went into detail about it. The only class at my school that incorporated indigenous perspectives was Native Studies, which if you were in the French Immersion program (like me) you weren’t allowed to take. I believe my lack of education in regards to FNMI and Treaty Ed, has make me hesitant to learn about it. Fortunately I came from a school with diverse cultures and I was able to develop relationships and become friends with students of all cultures.
As we have noticed, students who are in a predominantly white school have little to no education on indigenous perspectives and Treaty Ed. When students don’t have the knowledge and understanding of FNMI people, they begin to believe that the stereotypes around them are true, and they begin to think of them as different, as opposed to equal. This causes them to have biases towards FNMI people which will be a barrier when wanting to build relationships with them. If students are only taught through one perspective, and not multiple perspectives, they won’t have an understanding of how others live their lives. It is important to teach Treaty Education in predominantly white schools because when students leave the school and move on in the real world, where there are many people of diverse cultures, they will be able to build relationships with those around them. If they are stuck only viewing life through one perspective, they will lack the ability to build relationships with others who are of a different culture. Every semester I continue to learn about the same topic, residential schools, but this semester I am starting to understand why it is important to teach Treaty Ed and to teach through indigenous perspectives.
When I hear the term “We are all treaty people” I think of everyone as being equal. We are all Canadians who live on Canadian land and support Canadian values, as well support and respect the values of others. We all live on this land together, and together we need to be able to live respectfully and joyfully. Indigenous people have lived on this land way longer than we have and now we live on this land together. I am a treaty person, who lives on Treaty 4 land, and we are all treaty people.