We are all Treaty People

I really enjoyed the ideas Dwayne Donald expressed in the video I watched.  When discussing colonialism, he talked about how it is an extended process of denying relationship.  He explained that there is a disconnect in the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.  When each group communicates with one another they are missing each other, because they have different frames of reference.  He stresses that this is the reason why we need to teach about the past, and look at treaty education as a relationship.  People will be more likely to move past the “get over it” attitude if they are able to understand why the past still affects the present and future of indigenous people in Canada.  His discussion on Canadian Canadians having no culture made me really reflect on my own life.  I do not think of myself as a German, Ukrainian, Englishwoman who lives in Canada.  I think of myself as a Canadian, and I agree with the feeling of not having a culture.  Yes, my Grandpa still sings and plays German folk songs on his accordion, and Christmas would not be the same if my Grandma stopped making perogees; but as far as my families culture goes, that’s about it.  So I really had to think; what kind of education did I receive to make me that I have no culture?  I think it is because I never truly learned about Canada and Canadian history until high school and university.  My schooling taught me about the provinces, but did not discuss any treaty across the country.  I did not have a serious, in depth discussion on residential schools until I went to high school.  It’s like Dwayne said in the video, “a fish wont be able to notice the water around them” just like I was not able to see the racism in schools towards First Nations people.

Therefor it really is important to teach treaty education in schools with few First Nations people.  In order to avoid having students who believe they have no culture, discussions on what Canada actually is, are needed in the classroom.  I recently had the opportunity to participate in a blanket exercise, which really helped shape my understanding that we are all treaty people.  I was able to learn that when the Europeans arrived, the treaties involved all people and descendants of the people that will inhabit Canada.  I want my students to understand that as descendants, it is our job to respect and uphold the treaties.  We need to work towards building the broken relationship between First Nations people and other Canadians.  Students need to understand the past and the broken promises, to learn that it isn’t something people can “just get over.”  Looking to the past with the goal to mend present relationships will ultimately help build a better future for all treaty people.


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