Treaty Education

I feel the need to start my post by agreeing with Dwayne Donald’s comment, “many teachers are simply not equipped to teach Aboriginal subjects.” Personally, I attended schools throughout elementary and high school that incorporated Indigenous education. It has been about ten years since I graduated high school and know that things have changed in that time. Although I did receive Indigenous education, I can also say that it was not nearly enough. Donald also talks about how many white Canadians are tired of hearing stories about residential schools and how the people affected should “get over it.” I can not count the number of times I have listened to this statement. Unfortunately, these thoughts and attitudes are still alive today. Without Indigenous education, people will continue to hold on to these harmful ideas.

Treaty education has been covered in every one of my classes in the Education program at the University of Regina. This is one reason I am grateful to be receiving my education degree at the U of R. Claire Kreuger’s introduction to Treaty Education begins by acknowledging the land we are on. I have noticed an increase in land acknowledgments within and outside of the education system. Land acknowledgement creates a conversation that leads to education. Claire also talks about her children and states that the focus needs to be on the non-Indigenous students. The absence of Indigenous students does not give any teacher a reason to remove it from the curriculum.

In considering Claire and Mike’s video, I feel I have a better grasp of stories and the problem with the lack of stories. By not sharing Indigenous stories and education, you are implying that they are not necessary. By not including Indigenous teachings in the curriculum, we are instead teaching ignorance and avoidance.

There is the chance that some of our future students are not aware of their identity or where they come from. Whether or not there are Indigenous students in the classroom, there is a need to teach every student about race, treaties and colonialism. Some students will not receive this education at home. This education must happen in the classroom. If you are not teaching Treaty Education, you are not doing your job.

This post is written based on the following articles/videos:


  • Tracy Hnybida

    I agree with you – many students will not receive treaty education at home and unfortunately it may come with a bias – which hopefully won’t happen in the classroom. I do think it is our responsibility to the best of our abilities to teach Treaty education to our students and implement it as much as possible -but organically not forced. I think if it is forced then students will pick up on the possible resistance to teach it. I have always thought Canadian history should be taught in a linear timeline because then First Nations history cannot be avoided because they were vital to the nation building of Canada. I am looking forward to having the difficult conversations with my students and exposing them as much as I can to Indigenous history.

  • hildkati

    Danielle – first, I’m so happy to hear that Treaty Education has been addressed in all of your classes! That is really great news, and something that has definitely changed in the last few years!
    I’m curious about the Dwayne Donald quote that you cite at the beginning of your post. Some teachers definitely use this idea that they are not equipped to teach about Indigenous content as a way to get out of doing it. How might you use Donald’s piece to respond to them? What would you say to teachers who feel they do not know enough?
    As well, you mention the importance of including Indigenous stories in the classroom. What are some ways that you might go about doing so in your own future classroom?

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