ECS 203

The True Purpose of Treaty Education


I am sorry to hear you have not received much support in your attempt to integrate Treaty Education during your internship. Please remember that your efforts are important and necessary, even if you have been made to feel otherwise.

The idea that Treaty Education is unnecessary in schools where there are no Indigenous students is a huge misunderstanding of the purpose behind Treaty Education as a whole. I would encourage you to try bringing up the subject again with your Coop, and share your point of view with her. It is likely she views Treaty Education as a way of teaching Indigenous culture, when in reality this is not the case. Explain to her how Treaty Education is an integral part of every Canadian citizen’s history. Explain how treaties are two-way agreements, meaning they are not only about Indigenous peoples. Explain how Treaty Education is necessary in order for non-Indigenous students to understand how Indigenous peoples in Canada have been horribly mistreated through the use of treaties and residential schools throughout history. Explain that when non-Indigenous students learn the history of treaties, it will allow them to become more understanding and empathetic individuals, which will help dismantle some of the racism and stereotypes that exist within our country.

Lastly, it is important to remember that we are all treaty people. As I mentioned earlier, treaties are a part of our shared history. This means they apply to every Canadian. Since we are all treaty people, we all have a responsibility to be educated on the history of treaties and explore what these treaties mean to us today. This is a part of every Canadian’s identity, whether or not they recognize it. As treaty people, we must continue to uphold our end of the treaty promises. This requires us to acknowledge how treaty promises have not been upheld in the past and look towards a better future.

With that, I would encourage you to continue trying to demonstrate the importance of Treaty Education to your Coop and your students. Be respectful, be kind, but also be confident and knowledgeable. Attached are a few resources to help you do so.

We are all Treaty People, by Cynthia Chambers

“On What Terms Can we Speak?”, by Dwayne Donald

Treaty Education curriculum and supports

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