I think when talking to a class who is not open to Treaty Education, one way to introduce it while emphasizing the importance of it would be with the saying “We are all treaty people”. Dwayne Donald says that when Aboriginal peoples of Canada sit across from non-Aboriginals, they tend to not understand each other because both sides have their own views on the past and they don’t understand the other sides views. So, I would recommend teaching kids both sides. Once students hear both sides, whether they favored one side or not, hopefully, they will understand why either side was acting certain ways and will want to rebuild those broken relationships. Hopefully students can then move forward and be able to have meaningful conversations. Claire Kreuger took her students to the celebration of the signing of Treaty 4 and I think that is one of the best ways to introduce students to topics like that. It’s a fun but still educational day and once you get into the classroom and dive a bit deeper into the topic, students will already have an understanding of what this is, and with an enjoyable memory to go with it.
It’s especially important for us to teach Treaty Ed where there are little to no First Nations, Metis or Inuit students so then non-Aboriginal students can get to understand the whole truth of the past. Something that I found thought-provoking in Mike and Claire’s discussion was when they talked about educating students on Residential Schools, it is not only about the content-the dates, names, etc., it’s also about empathizing and understanding what these kids went through and how it has had an impact on their lives and their families. This also applies to the way the Treaty agreements were carried out. Hopefully, once students can understand and empathize with what happened in the past to Aboriginal people, then they will work towards rebuilding those broken relationships.
For my understanding of curriculum “We are all treaty people” means that we are a part of this Treaty, this is our lives and we need to understand what it means to be a part of Treaty 4, or whichever Treaty you are teaching under. Just as we are supposed to know about the Canadian government and how it came to be and all of that strictly settler history, it is equally important for us to educate students on Treaties. Just as we live under provincial or territorial law, we live under the Treaty agreement. I would say in this day and age, one of our parts in the Treaty agreement would be to continue with and work on relationships between us (settlers) and the Indigenous peoples of this land. However, the relationships did not play out how they were supposed to and now they are broken and damaged, so it is our duty to repair those relationships and fix what has been broken, and educating students on the true nature of the Treaties will help with that.