- What is the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed (specifically) or First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) Content and Perspectives (generally) where there are few or no First Nations, Metis, Inuit peoples?
When people ask me what is the point of teaching Treaty Education I become infuriated because that type of question leads to the growing separation between “us” and “them” in Canada instead of us all being “us”. It probably does not make the most sense in my words, but Dwayne was able to put my thoughts into words perfectly when he said “Disconnect is a legacy of Colonialism, extended process of denying relationships’”. I say he is able to put my thoughts into words because how we as westernizers treat Indigenous people is not very different from how we treated them when Colonialism and assimilation first became a thing. An example I have of this is that so many Canadians believe that First Nations government is a joke. When I asked people what their opinions were about the elections that just happened many of them actually laughed or gave me the funniest look when I brought up First Nations government and what they were fighting for. A very close friend of mine who I am trying to educate said “What is the point of them even having a government. You know the government should have done the job properly years ago and just got rid of them all since we don’t care about them anyways”. I had to stop myself from having multiple reactions including to straight up walk away and never talk to him again. After we talked and I told him how horrified I was he explained it was a joke but that he honestly believes our country is torturing First Nations people by not allowing them to be exactly as they are and to keep their own culture but also not completely getting rid of them and assimilating them all. He says that the First Nations people in Canada are stuck in a sort of limbo and I had to agree. Canada is aware now that the First Nations have their own culture and ways of living and slowly we are coming to terms with even though their way of life is different than ours, it does not make it wrong.
I bring all this up because it is the reason why we need to teach treaty education to EVERYONE! Canada treats First Nations like they are aliens, separate from us in every way. Just remember one of the most basic sayings and you will realise why we need treaty education forever to always be implemented; treat others the way you want to be treated. Imagine if the roles were reversed and we were the minority group. Without a doubt we would not like our culture and history being labeled as obsolete and not worth learning. We would not like having such horrible negative stereotypes that are almost impossible to break. How we treat First Nations people is learned behaviour. Our education system also treats First Nations horribly and encourages the separation. It is very important to teach Treaty Education and FNMI content and perspectives because they are a group of people, living and breathing, that are apart of our country and make it a whole.
Before I move onto the next point I want to link an article that also shares a lot of my views and goes a little deeper into various reasons why it is important to incorporate this type of teaching in every curriculum: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/the-importance-of-treaty-education
2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
We are all treaty people means to me that everyone in this country has treaty rights and responsibilities. If you are someone who believes this saying is false then there is very high possibility that you are a treaty settler. For my understanding of curriculum it means that I need to be teaching students about the past so that my students are aware of the negative effects of colonialism as they are apart of First Nations and Treaty Education for the rest of time and also educating them to be thinking not in traditional stereotypes of the past. “The past simultaneously occurs with the present which is constantly affecting our future and our future relationships” is something that Dwayne also said in his video that stuck with me or it was from the single story TED talk but this post struck a nerve because as a teacher I am not prepared right now to teach about Treaty Education. My own education has taught me to naturally want to separate the two groups but that can’t happen anymore. When you are asked to incorporate Treaty Education this means having it naturally flow with what you are teaching, not you teach something and then say how it can relate to treaty education.I also found another article (this one is more a blog) that is from an Indigenous woman’s perspective: https://decolonization.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/we-are-all-treaty-people/