Saturday was Treaty Education Camp. I was excited to see what it was all about and to have the opportunity to learn. Once I arrived the energy was great and I was looking forward to the day. I looked at the schedule and just could not decide on where to start! I wish I could have gone to every seminar.
The first seminar was with Lee Prosper discussing the inter-generational effects of colonialism. It was a very powerful seminar. Lee discussed his family history. He discussed the effects of colonialism had on his family relationships and how it affected him. It wasn’t until he was going to be a father at 19 that he realized he had to change things. He was such a great speaker and was unapologetic about telling it how it is. He said it was not his job to make people feel better about the past. He hopes that they can acknowledge it and move forward. The next seminar was on treaty education being a curriculum maker by Grant Urban. He discussed that there is not just the curriculum with the outcomes and indicators that we study. It is the curriculum that students and teachers bring in everyday to class. He also talked about using a narrative to discuss concepts. My third seminar was led by James McNinch discussing indigenous gender and sexual diversity. It was an interesting discussion about how indigenous people before European contact respected people who identified more with the opposite gender. It was upon European contact that their world view was pushed aside and seen as deviant. He discussed how European gender norms were reinforced in the Indian Act. It made me want to delve deeper into this topic. The last seminar that I was able to attend was by Gale Russel on mathematics and an indigenous worldview. This seminar was the hardest for my brain to wrap around as math has always been universal in my mind. Universal in the sense that throughout cultures it was the common language everyone could speak. It was black and white. Gale challenged this thinking and encouraged us to look beyond the western society and try to see it through different lenses. It was very hard to do and I am not sure I have quite got it, but I have been introduced to that perspective now and will be looking out for it.
I learned so much from this day and wished it could have gone on to a second day. Throughout this Treaty Education experience, I have gained a bit more confidence in my knowledge. I recognize that I still have a long way to go but the main point is that I am trying and willing to learn. Everyone keeps discussing how as teachers we will be opening up children’s worldviews with including treaty education and in turn changing the future which is very exciting. One thing that still gets me is for all the people out there who have not been exposed to this knowledge. I have encountered so many discussions around treaties and indigenous culture that is very uncomfortable because the person or people believe in the stereotypes surrounding the culture and contemporary issues. I try my best to explain what I have learned to them, to try and get them to see it all in a different way but I always feel like I am not successful and left feeling like I could have explained better. I wish that those people could have experienced what I have in the past week. I wonder about the greater public’s treaty education. It just makes me wonder that if they had experienced what I have through this treaty education, what would they think then?