During fall semester last year, I (Mike) received an email from an intern asking for help. Here’s part of it:
As part of my classes for my three week block I have picked up a Social Studies 30 course. This past week we have been discussing the concept of standard of living and looking at the different standards across Canada . I tried to introduce this concept from the perspective of the First Nations people of Canada and my class was very confused about the topic and in many cases made some racist remarks. I have tried to reintroduce the concept but they continue to treat it as a joke.
The teachers at this school are very lax on the topic of Treaty Education as well as First Nations ways of knowing. I have asked my Coop for advice on Treaty Education and she told me that she does not see the purpose of teaching it at this school because there are no First Nations students. I was wondering if you would have any ideas of how to approach this topic with my class or if you would have any resources to recommend.
This is a real issue in schools – use your blog to craft a response to this student’s email. Consider the following questions:
1. 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?
2. What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people”?
I believe that the purpose of teaching Treaty Ed in schools is to teach our history. To understand where we come from, and what happened, is important. Regardless of whether there is a low indigenous population in the school, it is still something that all students need to be educated on. It has been said that “we are all treaty people”, but often times, the meaning behind that statement is not understood. I believe that by living on treaty land, that is what makes us all treaty people, regardless of whether you were born here or moved here.