Week Four

It’s troubling to hear about the difficulty and lack of respect shown towards treaty education in some classrooms and schools; however, I believe there are a several discussions that can be made to make the experience better for everyone involved. What needs to be addressed first is the comment from the Coop on the importance of learning Treaty Education – no matter what the student population looks like. This situation directly reflects the issue on how Canadian-Aboriginal relationships are perceived in Canada, and the disconnection between the two (Dwayne Donald). Even though there are no First Nations, Metis, or Inuit students in the classroom, if we choose to ignore the topic of treaty education, we are continuing to subtly affirm whose history and voice matters (Claire Kreuger). The consequences of sweeping the history of treaties under the rug not only repeats and maintains a colonial-dominant narrative, but also neglects the opportunities to decolonize and reconcile Canadian-Indigenous relationships. Dwayne emphasizes that “decolonization can only occur when we deconstruct historic divides and colonial past.” It seems bizarre to think of treaty education and Indigenous perspectives in a binary way: Treaties impact everybody – it is not an “our history vs. their history” discussion, rather a collective form of history that is every Canadian’s responsibility to recognize. From a colonial perspective, ignoring treaty education and Indigenous perspectives would seem like an acceptable choice when there are no Indigenous students in a classroom, however, these are actually perfect opportunities to discuss Indigenous studies/content and how treaty histories still affect all Canadians today – no matter what ethnic background an individual is. Dwayne also talks about the contrast between the lack of culture and abundance of culture between European settlers and Indigenous peoples. The importance of learning about Indigenous perspectives is to erase the idea that some Indigenous students have “learning difficulties”, when the truth is that settler ways of knowing, and Indigenous ways of knowing differ vastly in many ways, and this contrast reveals itself in colonial classrooms. The notion that “we are all treaty people” is vital for the curriculum being that they were originally created to largely benefit (and to continue benefiting) the settlers: “The trick of the treaties is that they both recognize Aboriginal title and extinguish it in a single sleight of hand” (28, Chambers). The treaties are a commonality between all Canadians, and once again, should not be perceived as a binary concept.

3 thoughts on “Week Four

  1. I really appreciated your statement, “collective form of history that is every Canadian’s responsibility to recognize.” This so clearly articulates a reason why it is important to learn about Treaties in Canada. It is a part of all of our history and our future and we need to learn what our responsibility as a Canadian is.

  2. Hi Janelle,
    I absolutely agree with your post about how troubling some peoples views of Treaty Education is. I also wrote about how important it is to teach Treaty Education even when there isn’t any First Nation students in the class, and it even be more important in some cases. We seemed to form a lot of the same ideas from the readings and our own point of views, which is good. Knowing that future teachers know how important Treaty Ed is for all students makes me glad for the future generation of teachers. How would you respond and try to “educate” your coop if they had the same views or even other teachers in your future school?

  3. Janelle – thanks for this thorough response. I appreciate the way that you brought in specific quotes and details from the readings to support your arguments. You did a nice job of explaining the importance of Treaty Education for all students.
    I found it interesting that you cited Chambers’ statement, “The trick of the treaties is that they both recognize Aboriginal title and extinguish it in a single sleight of hand.” You are correct that this statement supports the idea that settlers were the main beneficiaries of Treaty, but I’m wondering what else you make of Chamber’s assertion. How can we teach treaties in such a way that students don’t come away with the idea that the treaties represent First Nations’ peoples voluntary relinquishment of the land?

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