I, Sydney Florette Jeanette McGrath am a white settler Canadian currently living on Treaty 4 land in Regina and grew up on Treaty 6 land near LeRoy. Treaties allowed my ancestors to come from Ireland, Germany, and France to pursue a lifestyle in agriculture. This is the lifestyle that my family follows to this day. For myself, treaty land is where I am able to be who I want to be “freely” with no judgment. Treaty land is where I go to school, work, dance, run, love, and laugh. In addition, treaties have allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming an educator.
As I live on and benefit from this land, I am responsible to only take as much as I need and leave the land the way I found it or better. I have the responsibility to be kind to all individuals and celebrate our similarities and honor the differences between one another. I am dedicated to being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community including two-spirit individuals. Understanding that allyship is a process, I commit myself to creating safe spaces in the schools I work in where students can discuss concerns, problems, and find other individuals who share and respect their beliefs and perspectives. I will also bring this inclusive aspect into my future classrooms and educate my students to be kind and respectful individuals. I have the responsibility to understand the history of this land, as well as move forward in building new relationships with diverse communities. As Justice Murray Sinclair in his speech Will Truth Bring Reconciliation? (2015) states “I really don’t care if you feel responsible for the past. The real question is do you feel a sense of responsibility for the future because that’s what this is all about.” It is now our job to love and trust one another and to find harmony on the land we all call home.
I commit myself to be a life-long learner around the topic of truth and reconciliation to help educate my future students about residential schools. I will continue learning through understanding and taking part in the TRC calls to action both in my personal and professional life. Specifically, I also believe that “treaties are nation-to-nation agreements that mediate relationships, and they can and should be revisited as the relationship progresses” (Vowel, 2016, p. 256). With that being said, as a future educator, I need to know my place and remember it is not my place to educate in all areas as a white settler Canadian. I need supports to ensure my students are getting a braided or well-rounded understanding of the history and present-day treaty agreements. As an educator I want to be a co-facilitator when teaching the topic of treaty education, inviting diverse voices to share their knowledge. As Dwayne Donald states in his article, as a future educator, I want to form a classroom that fosters a partnership between Aboriginal perspectives and Canadian perspectives to rebuild those relationships and supply an enhanced learning environment where my students are learning about our country and how it came to be. Overall, I want to form a collaboration with my students, families, and communities to form a bond where we all join together to learn and grow from other values, beliefs, and perspectives.