Dear Educator,

I am sorry to hear about the experience you had regarding introducing Treaty Education into your Social Studies 30 classroom. I understand how the unwillingness of your students to learn about a subject from the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) perspective, as well as the poor response from your Coop could be frustrating. It is often difficult to introduce new ideas into a classroom where students have the benefit of privilege and lack relationships with First Nation students. However, look at this not as a setback, but as your opportunity to continue to raise awareness of Treaty Ed curriculum.

Teaching Treaty Ed and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives has a purpose and a role in every classroom regardless of cultural makeup. The absence of First Nations students in the classroom does not mean that students can’t benefit from learning about our shared history. Giving student’s the opportunity to broaden their worldview and learn about topics such as treaties, the relationships that existed between settlers and Indigenous Peoples, and the long-lasting effects that continue to be a factor in today’s society will benefit the Reconciliation journey.

One step that might help in the classroom in ensuring students understand the phrase “we are all treaty people”. Students need to recognize that the agreement of treaties was not one-sided but required two parties; settlers and the Indigenous peoples. As Chambers states in the article “We are all treaty people”, “the treaties are a story we share” (29) and having a shared experiences means that this is not simply an Indigenous story. Rather, it is a story that we are all a part of. As such, it is our responsibility to understand that despite differences that may exist, it is necessary for us “…to stop moving, to start listening” and to “dig in and take responsibility from there” (Chambers, p. 35).

I encourage you to continue to bring Treaty Ed and a FNMI perspective into the classroom and seek guidance from other educators and mentors who support this goal.

Good luck in your future teaching!