In Response to the Intern

 

Dear Intern,

You have been placed in a situation where you have a great opportunity! It sounds like these students are uneducated in the area of Treaty Education, and you have the opportunity to plant a seed. I would have a conversation with your cooperating teacher and ask if you can do a lesson or mini unit on Treaty Education. Although there may not be any First Nations students in the class, keep in mind that we are all treaty people. That means that we (brown, white, First Nations, European, etc.) all live on Canadian land, and have a responsibility to understand the treaties between the original residents of Canada, and those who settled here and tried to eradicate those who were here first. Treaties do not only apply to the First Nations, Metis, and Aboriginal peoples. They are an agreement between them and those who agreed to share the land, but took away the rights of the First Nations people.

It seems like the students do not see any personal reason to learn and engage with the content, so they choose not to. I think this is when it becomes important for you to make it personal for the students. This is a 30 level class, and these students are old enough, and capable of hearing hard truths. I would show them their part in Treaty Education. I would ask them where there family came from over the generations. What are the habits and celebrations of those countries and cultures? After discussing that for a while, I would ask them to discuss people that originated in Canada, and what happened to them. We live in Canada, and what do we still see of those people? Who belongs in Canada and can’t belong anywhere else? After that, I would hit the point home, and bring out the true history of Canada. I think showing the students the reality of assimilation, and the cruelness of what the residential school system has done, will help them be a little closer to realizing the importance of Treaty Education.

Unfortunately for these students, it may be a little too late to take up the entire history, but it is in the curriculum, and your cooperating teacher should allow it if you can make your case.

Sincerely,

Kim

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