Final Project

Final Project Video


Hi, my name is Mikaela and welcome to the beginning of my journey of discovering myself as a treaty person. When I first started this course, I was excited to learn more about Treaties, as my knowledge on Treaties was quite limited. The first time I have ever heard about treaties was when I started school at the University of Regina in 2017, but I don’t think my journey to becoming a treaty person started until halfway through this course. I say this because I didn’t know what it meant to be a treaty person and I say that I am just starting my journey as a treaty person, as I know I am not an expert on treaties, nor do I think I will ever be. I believe that a treaty walk is a life-long journey and to really be a treaty person, I must make the promise to be a life-long learner.

For my visual representation, I have decided to create four different pieces that come together to represent my journey as a whole. Each piece represents each of the four course themes – Miskâsowin, Tâpwêwin, Miyo-wîcêhtowin, and Wîtaskêwin. For each one, I have chosen a symbol, as well as several different words or phrases that come to mind when I think of these learnings.

I chose to represent Miskâsowin with a picture of myself because my Miskâsowin journey was about finding myself, my identity, and how I am a Treaty person. Naming myself and describing my identity was an easy process – I am Mikaela, a second-generation Filipino-Canadian immigrant, I am an able-bodied, cisgender woman. I am Catholic. I can speak three languages. I am a student, daughter, sister, partner, niece, cousin, granddaughter – I was able to find several words that I associated with my identity, but something I struggled with was figuring out how these all related to being a treaty person. I struggled because my family had nothing to do with the Treaty agreements. I am not Indigenous, I am not white, I have no Canadian-Indigenous blood, nor do I have any European-setter blood – I am Asian, my parents only came to this land around thirty years ago – So I questioned, HOW am I a Treaty person? What makes a person a “Treaty person”? I have included these questions in this piece, as it was part of my Miskâsowin journey. After reading the first reading of Chelsea Vowel’s book Indigenous Writes, I learned that I do not have to be white to be a settler. My parents immigrated to Canada and settled on Treaty 6 land. I was born and raised on Treaty 6 land. Making me a non-black person of colour, second-generation settler.

I chose to represent Tâpwêwin with a mouth. I wanted the words to look like they were being spoken by the mouth, but I wanted it to look very projected or amplified, because I believe that the truth should be spoken with confidence. Throughout my life, I have only heard one sided stories about Canada’s history in my history classes, but it is important to hear both – both the colonial history and the Indigenous stories. Some of the words I have included in this piece connect to some of the student-led seminars we had this semester. For example, precision and accuracy connect to my group’s seminar on cultural appreciation versus cultural appropriation. To be able to demonstrate cultural appreciation, we must ensure that what we are saying is said with precision and accuracy. The words recognition, genuine, and authenticity connect with the seminar on land acknowledgements, as it is important that we are ensuring that we aren’t only using them for the purpose of “checking it off the list”, but to do it with sincerity. This can be done by reflecting on the words we speak and making these acknowledgements personalized and meaningful, rather than scripted. Finally the words stories, speak up, justice, voices, and advocate connect to the seminars on the missing and murdered Indigenous women, as well as FNMI youth leadership. I thought that these words connected with these topics, as they tell true stories about Indigenous peoples and they also include the voices of these people who have gone missing, who have been murdered, and as well as the youth working towards justice. I also included the word listen, as I believe that in order to achieve Tâpwêwin, we must be willing to listen to and hear the truth.

For Miyo-wîcêhtowin, I drew hands holding each other to represent living together in harmony. The first time I learned about Treaties, I was introduced to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. I believe this demonstrates how Miyo-wîcêhtowin ties in with Tâpwêwin, as it is important that the truth is told and listened to for everyone to be able to live together in harmony. Something that Wendell Starblanket mentioned on our fieldtrip to Fort Qu’appelle that resonated with me was the importance of getting along with each other and the importance of understanding that you don’t need to like everyone, but it is important to love and respect everyone. I believe part of Miyo- wîcêhtowin also includes learning from one another. Through Alma and Wendell’s teachings, I have learned so much – such as the smudge ceremonies, learning about the sacred medicines, the sweat lodge, and what the sacred and living Treaties means to them. Through this, I have also learned that there is no end to the learning and that I must commit to be a life-long learner. In 2017, my Indigenous Studies professor, Wendy Lerat, stated that learning about Canada’s history is like peeling an onion – there are several layers, each representing colonialism, oppression, traditions, teachings, trades, etcetera. And it is not until we peel each layer back that we are able to get to reconciliation. Through this course, I learned that through this journey of “peeling the onion”, we must learn to love, respect, understand, appreciate, and get along with each other.

Finally, for Wîtaskêwin I chose to represent the land and nature with a tree. Trees have a lot of meaning; some have been here for hundreds of years, while some are just starting – Just like us in this class, some of us have started our Miskâsowin journeys years ago, whereas some of us are just getting started. Trees also have strong roots and through this course, we were encouraged to learn and recognize our own roots. One of the words I have included in this piece was reciprocity. I learned this term in ESCI 302 last Spring with Audrey. I learned the importance of reciprocity with the land – it nourishes us and gives us a home to live on and therefore we should do that same and respect it. Likewise, we should also practice reciprocity with each other by loving and respecting each other.

As this video and this course comes to an end, I understand that this does not mark the end of my Miskâsowin journey, but rather the beginning of it. To be able to grow as a Treaty person, I must be willing to be a lifelong learner, because one class cannot teach hundreds of years of history, nor can it predict what Treaties will look like in the future.

(I have kept this piece with shades of black, white, and grey. I did this on purpose, as I have learned that several colours have different meanings associated with them. For example, I could have used the colours from the medicine wheel for each quadrant, but I learned through this course the importance of being cautious before using any type of symbol, as several of them have sacred meanings that I have no right or not enough knowledge to use.)

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