I found this week’s reading especially interesting and pertinent because the question of why we must learn treaty education in schools is always a commonly asked question by students and even teachers. Coming from a school with no aboriginal people, I myself asked this question as a student. With this reading and lecture I have begun to understand the answer to why treaty education is important for all of us and that this understanding is possible once we know the meaning of being treaty people. “We are all treaty people”, is a commonly used saying but it isn’t until now that I begin to understand it.
When learning treaty education, we are not just learning about aboriginal people and their history we are learning about the history of the land we all live on. What is important to understand is that treaty education is directly linked to all people, aboriginal or not. Our way of life, as Canadians, is based on these treaties. It is because of treaties that we are able to buy and sell land. A treaty, by definition, is an agreement between two parties. Therefore, by only teaching about treaties as an aboriginal subject we are ignoring the other half of the agreement. In my understanding, the statement, “We are all treaty people” means that because everyone who lives in Canada is living on treaty land, we should all be learning about it equally. Everyone is affected by treaties in some way, whether positively or negatively, so it is our responsibility as citizens to know our own history. Treaties are not historical events, they are living, breathing documents that affect everyone in Canada whether we realize it or not.
As someone preparing to enter the teaching profession, I feel ill-equipped to teach treaties in the classroom. It is my goal to learn more and be able to answer my own questions as well as those of my future students.