Treaty Ed Camp Response

It was required that our ECS 110 class to attend the Treaty Ed Camp on October 21, 2017. The day opened with a traditional pipe ceremony both for men and women, followed by the opening blessing and the keynote speaker, Charlene Bearhead.

Charlene opened her presentation stating that she was a mother and a grandmother. Charlene is an Indigenous woman that lives in Alberta. Her main topic of the event was we are all treaty people and we all have the responsibility for treaty education and reconciliation.

Another important topic Charlene discussed throughout her presentation was that we are all really treaty people, but other than Indigenous people, who really knows what the term “treaty people” is and how does it really help us in our lives? I really considered this point. I understand that I am a treaty person since I live on treaty 4 land, but what does that really mean for me? I never took the time to consider how being a treaty person helps me, I am now interested to know what being a treaty person does for me.

Charlene also covered the topic of the lack of treaty education that has been taken effect in Saskatchewan and Canada. Before starting at the University of Regina, and before listening to Charlene’s presentation, I did not realize how undereducated I was. I thought I had a pretty good idea about treaty Ed, but after being in Indigenous Studies 100 class, ECS 110 and taking part in Treaty Ed camp, I realize I only knew one side of the story. To me that is very heartbreaking to think that the country I live in hides so much of our history.

Charlene stated that if we do not take the stand and start teaching both sides of history nothing will ever change, we will never grow or get past our history if we do not confront and face the problems history has created. She emphasises that she does not want people to not be ashamed to be white, but states that we should move on and educate other people. She recognizes that people who talk about and teach treaty education will always have resistance towards their teaching, but it is something we will just have to get used to.  As educators and people of society, it is our job to make the change our world needs to see. Charlene finished her presentation with the quote “intentions don’t make the difference, actions make a difference. It takes the will, the courage, and the humility to make a change.” As a future educator, I understand that teaching a broad view of the history of Canada will make a difference for the future.

After Charlene finished her presentation everyone separated into various sessions. I personally took something away from each of the open conversation sessions. I attended the “lack of treaty 4 representation in public treaty 4 spaces?” In this open conversation we discussed why we thought that we can represent the Canadian flag, the Saskatchewan flag, the Queen City flag but not the treaty 4 flag? Most of the people including me did not even know what the treaty 4 flag looks like. These open conversations allowed people to discuss their feelings about a subject without being ridiculed for what they had to say. It was a safe environment for people to speak their own opinions.

Along with volunteering and taking part in the keynote speaker and some sessions, I feel very empowered to act in treaty education, not just when I become a teacher, but now when I am going through my schooling. It was a very well-organized day and I would recommend it to many schools and people.