Curriculum and Treaty education in the classroom.

For this week I looked at treaty education in the classroom and how it can be successfully incorporated.

To respond to the email that the pre-service teacher sent. Treaty education is very important to incorporate in schools fo all ages.  I believe that all schools need to address the issue, not only because it is mandatory and clearly stated in the curriculum.; but because treaty education needs to be a staple in the all-encompassing education experience.

However, it isn’t just important for students to learn treaty education is important for parents to learn as well.  As  Claire Kreuger talks about, parents have not been exposed to this kind of learning so when students go home and they tell parents about what the have learned; this is often the first time parents have talked about treaty education.  

I feel the whole purpose of schools is to expose students to new things and educate them on issues that are outside of their sphere of influence.  Therefore all students need to be exposed to treaty education and indigenous ways including other types of knowledge and ways of knowing.  There is no excuse for not teaching treaty education outcomes.   I can say with assurance that improvements are happening and more teachers are making strides to meaningfully integrate treaty outcomes.

Claire Kreuger explains that treaty education does not need to be a specific part of each course.  Treaty education is more easily incorporated into social studies and English classes, compared to math or science classes.  The important thing is that you find a way to incorporate treaty education and start working at it.  Claire Kreuger points out that a teacher is not going to get treaty education right the first time; trial and error are key and failure is unavoidable.  The best thing to do is to move on and strive to do better the next time.

“We are all treaty people” was an important resource and I  did not really understand what that phrase meant.  Cynthia Chambers explains that her parents are treaty people even though they come from different backgrounds and were immigrants from Irland and Scotland.   On a legal level, the treaties were negotiated and signed by the government of Canada and people living in Canada make up the government.  On the other hand, stories and experiences will be lost if we refuse to listen and learn from the past; young and old alike. Cynthia Chambers also notes that for the treaties to be upheld both indigenous and non-indigenous people have to work together and successfully communicate.   For curriculum, this means that the concept of “we are all treaty people” must be incorporated and addressed for better understanding.   I also feel that dwelling and living in the past will not resolve anything.  I have often said that we all should have a relationship to the past in the form of admiration and respect for the past and the struggles it entailed.  

Dwayne Donald’s lecture on “On What Terms Can we Speak?” outlined important points, like the idea we should strive to “amalgamate the past present and the future”.  This is an interesting concept that I hadn’t thought of before I listened to his words.   What he meant by this is that to understand the present we must understand the past.  Also that the past occurs simultaneously in the present.  I add that we must look at the past with a historical perspective and not judge past figures as if they have the information we have today because they didn’t.  The key is a locked-down insider-outsider dynamic that dose does not include denial of relationships.  Good relationships are very important.

To summarise, the important thing to remember is that treaty education looks different for every teacher and classroom.  The job of the teacher is to incorporate treaty education into the classroom in ways that fit the environment of the classroom.   I have found that treaty education is very difficult to ignore treaty outcomes because it is weaved throughout all renewed curriculum.  The teacher would have to work hard and purposely avoid the outcomes.  That said Treaty education is mandatory; therefore it is important to incorporate and address the concerns of the students.


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