- What are 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?
- What does it mean for your understanding of the curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
In response to this students email:
I am sorry that you are experiencing this in your school and with your co-op. I wish that this was a “one-off,” but unfortunately, that is not true. That being said, we can use this as a learning opportunity for future altercations.
I believe that often when people are uncomfortable, they do not act themselves. In this case, your students become silly and resort to racist remarks. This is the blatant result of the lack of treaty education in their past education. This also goes to your school and co-op. They are likely also misinformed and uneducated on the topic. If there is still pushback from the school and co-op, I recommended placing the blame back onto the university. “The university requires that you cover treaty education.” The argument that could also be put forth is that, at the very least, it is your job to teach the curriculum, and the curriculum includes treaty education.
As Clair covers in her video with Mike, she states that due to the “rocky” path treaty education has in our curriculum. Students may not have the prerequisite learning that the curriculum says they do. It would be appropriate to start at an outcome that is not necessarily in the grade 10 Treaty Education curriculum. Clair states that you can start in the Kindergarten outcomes and indicators if need be.
A way to challenge your students in addressing their responsibility in treaty education is to make them accountable for their words. Clair states that she pours her time into planning large events where students need to speak at rather than individual assessment. This setting creates accountability, and your students will have to stand by their words. Given the 2020-2021 school year we live in, these events may not look like assemblies or field trips, preferably an online event. Possible resources organizing an event like this are Zoom seminars, having your students pre-recorded interviews and upload them, have your students prepare powerpoints etc.
Another way to get your students thinking about the importance of treaty education is to have them look into their identity. I believe that your students understand that because they are not indigenous, this does not matter to them. In doing this, it introduces the topic of “we are all treaty people ”. Ask students to address what this means to them, make it personal and relevant to their lives. Clair states that treaty education is not only about the facts, it is about “owning our history, relationships, identity and creating future leaders.”
I commend you for not conforming to the understanding that treaty education is not essential. Simply leaving it out of the schools and your classroom is to feed Canada’s history of racism and assimilation of Indigenous people and culture. As Mike would say, this is not going to get less important as time goes on; this will only continue to grow in importance. We need to start now because we have a long way to go, and your Social 30 students are a prime example of this.