I had the privilege of attending Treaty Ed. Camp on October 1st, 2016. I did not really know what to expect before attending Treaty Ed Camp because I heard that it would be different from our Treaty Education that I received earlier that week. But when I got there, I registered, received a schedule and my certificate for the conference and was ready to learn.
My first session was called “Unsettling Settler Treaty Education” by Nate Polsfut and I learned quite a bit from his session. I learned that Treaty Education is more than a lesson and more than a class because we need to incorporate Treaty Education into all of our class subjects. We as educators need to show that Treaties are alive, ways of knowing, and valuable. We also need to teach treaties a certain way so that the deeper meanings come out. I also learned that we need to talk about the things that make us uncomfortable – like settler guilt, resistant students and parents against Treaty Ed., and foster care. We need to talk about the very things that make us uncomfortable, so that we can have great opportunities for great teaching moments. Some examples that Nate gave us to bring into our classroom were to create a Treaty for you classroom and have everyone sign it (It would kind of be like a classroom covenant). Another suggestion was to have a sharing circle at the beginning and end of every day to give students the opportunity to share and feel valued while they were sharing and the others in the circle were listening. Nate finished by repeating that we should show that Treaty Ed. is alive and real, that we should make ourselves uncomfortable, be human and humble, say sorry to our students for our mistakes, and remind ourselves that we are doing the right thing.
Another session that I attended was called “The Power of Words: Creating and (Re)inscribing identities”. In this session I learned that we need to disrupt the whiteness in our classrooms, otherwise authentic reconciliation/ effective Treaty Education will not happen. I also learned that the phrases we use cloud over the realities in our world because we are trying to protect the status quo. Most of the time we do not even realize when we are being oppressive or even passive with our language. We need to stand up and be able to state what is really happening in our world when we talk about Treaty Education. Other sessions that I attended at Treaty Ed. Camp were called “Science Education for Truth and Reconciliation”, and “Mathematics and an Indigenous Worldview”. Both of these sessions were interesting as well and made me think about how to incorporate Treaty Education into these subjects.
Overall, I enjoyed the conference style that the Treaty Ed. Camp workshop offered me. I was quite pleased with all of the speakers and I really like the Indigenous rapper and the four points that Mike Cappello stated in his talk about why we as teachers need to teach Treaty Education. Mike said that we need to teach Treaty Education first and foremost because it is our job. Second, the lives of Indigenous children matter – their culture, history, and families matter. Third, white kids’ lives matter too – they are treaty people too and they are a part of the Treaty relationship. And fourth, Treaty Education is a pathway to reconciliation. I hope to remember these four points when I go into the next classroom I will be teaching in and I hope that everything else I have learned at the Treaty Education Camp will stick with me and flow into my teaching as I practice at becoming an educator.