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?
It’s important for all of us to understand the people, place, history, and culture of the people we live with. The only way we can understand First Nations peoples is know them. As a society Canada hasn’t wanted to learn anything about Aboriginal ways, customs, and traditions; Canada has treated First Nation people with disrespect and attempted genocide. The only way to move forward is with mutual respect and understanding.
Understanding comes from shared respect, an open mind, and a willingness to learn about each other. Learning about Aboriginal people isn’t just about learning about them but understanding that Canada’s history is “our story: the one about commons, what was shared and what was lost” (Chambers, p. 30). We all have a role in changing the wrongs of the past and creating a better society for everyone. We shouldn’t have guilt of our ancestor’s deeds, as their behavior is part of our history, but we do have the power to control ourselves and change the present. Each one of us needs to empower ourselves with knowledge; to ensure the wrongs of the past are not repeated and have an attitude of kindness and respect for a new future.
That respectful future begins with learning about First Nations peoples, whether there are Indigenous students in class or not. Learning respect gives us an appreciation for Aboriginal culture and customs. First Nations people are not forced to stay on reserves anymore, and we need to acknowledge who they are and respect them as people. For example, standing at the bus stop during our winter storm, I had an interesting conversation with an Indigenous man. He was from the Northwest Territories and we talked about the harshness of the weather there compared to here. He talked about his experiences when visiting Inuit friends and describe the traditional Inuit way of life. Both of us marveled at their strength and fortitude for living in the North. This was an interesting conversation for us both.
What does it mean for your understanding of curriculum that “We are all treaty people?”
To be treaty people means that we all come together with mutual respect and encourage everyone’s successes no-matter what our skin colour. Those of us who are immigrants or are from settler ancestors live in a country where we reap the rewards of lands that were negotiated through treaty. We benefit from history, and we need to understand it’s time to put our prejudice aside and work together. We need to be more aware of the environment and First Nations attachment to the land as well as our attachment to it. First Nations people want to protect the land and its welfare, as they understand the importance of clean waters and healthy land. We too as treaty people need to take greater care of the land we live on; healthy land equals healthy people.
It’s important for everyone to understand that we live in Canada together, what one person does has ramifications for others. We need to treat our First Nations brothers and sisters with love, care, and kindness. Being treaty people means we are all related and need to come together as a family unit, rather than squabbling over egocentric greed.
Chambers. C. “We Are All Treaty People”. Referred from https://ecs210.wikispaces.com/file/view/We+are+all+treaty+people.pdf