Engaging in Treaty Education: Blog Post Week 8

For the eighth blog post of this course, I had the chance to be introduced to an interesting situation that involves pre-service teachers and the field experience that we will have the opportunity to be part of.

“ During the fall semester several years ago, Dr. Mike Cappello received an email from an intern asking for help. Here’s part of it: “As part of my classes for my three week block I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada. I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke. The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.”

Treaty Education is a topic that I have had limited experience with throughout elementary school, and in high school, there were connections and discussions toward the topic, yet still, there was no direct focus provided. Within the University of Regina, I have been introduced to a series of educators and resources which have allowed me to understand more about Treaty Education and engage with more questions that are posed.

To answer the first question, What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Education or First Nation and Metis content? we can draw upon a series of resources. Looking at Dwanye Donals’s video, On what terms can we speak, we see that having a connection to a community and traditions can be linked to healing and medicine. There is a currently identified disconnect or historical divide when looking at the basis of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and colonizers. It is through the process of decolonization and Treaty Education that we confront the barriers in place while making sure to identify and confront the captivity of colonial rule (Chambers, 26). Having the chance to practice Treaty Education as well highlights the need for this topic to be discussed more often, including for those who may not directly teach it. This is because it allows us to try a new approach to the curriculum. Currently, curriculum initiatives are focused on content delivery and pedagogical practices and impairments that are based on the thoughts of those who teach the content ( Donald, 2010). This is important to keep in mind as Donald explains, the importance of the past, present, and future are all linked and identified through actions over time. A critical point discussed by Donald is centered around culture. The dominant narratives in place discuss how Indigenous education is extremely cultural which results in failure and pressure toward the dominant forms of assessment (Donald, 2010). To help repair the relations with Indigenous peoples, Canadians need to engage with aspects of the Canadian culture that continues to cause this divide ( Donald, 2010).

To understand the second question and answer, what does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that we are all treaty people? Being a treaty person means realizing the benefits and shared history of the land that I live in and educating future generations. In the position of an educator and having to engage with material that does not often consider or engage with Indigenous ways of knowing can be challenging and result in possible resistance. Although, when looking into resources such as Claire Kreuger’s class videos, there is the opportunity to learn different aspects of Treaty Education and student engagement. For example, the signing of treaty 4 and the Indian Act of 1876 can be seen through online tools and platforms. This shows that being a treaty person means taking the curriculum and adopting it into something that works for the students and Treaty Education. Upholding the rights and responsibility of a treaty means not taking for granted the land that is lived on (Chambers, 7). Having access to the Treaty Education curriculum and the four core strands assist students’ and parents’ learning through interdisciplinary engagement.

Chambers, Cynthia. “ We are all treaty People: The Contemporary Countenance of Canadian Curriculum Studies”, URCourses, Chambers_We are all treaty people.pdf – Google Drive

On what terms can we speak? Hosted by Dr. Dwayne Donald, 2010, Dwayne Donald – On What Terms Can We Speak? on Vimeo

Kreuger, Clarie. “ Electronic Portfolio, Class Videos,” Claire Kreuger, Class Videos – Claire Kreuger

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