TreatyEd Camp 3.0

Treaty Ed Camp 3.0 – U. of R. : October 21, 2017

Several weeks ago our instructor Julie sent an email to all of us regarding this workshop.  As many of my classmates are not in Regina, or were unable to otherwise attend, thought I’d share a bit of what I learnt yesterday morning.  Unfortunately, was unable to stay for the afternoon sessions.

Some of the details of the day, along with a list of presenters, are found at this link:  You may notice that one of the sessions offered was on the RIIS Cemetery Project.  While waiting in the registration line, the gentleman who was scheduled to do the presentation on this topic struck up a conversation.  Though I wasn’t able to attend his session, he explained that there was/is an unmarked cemetery near Pinky Road in Regina that is the burial site for many children who attended the Residential School near that spot.  It saddened me to think that I’ve most likely driven by this site without knowing that it was a cemetery, and that there are unmarked graves there.  He is a member of a Presbyterian Church who are taking steps in the reconciliation process in their own manner.  They have been able to notify some next-of-kin of as to who they currently know is buried there.  There is also a group who are in the process of painting the fence that surrounds this site, to show their respect for it.

After registering, two of the main organizers for this event, Katia Hildebrandt and Raquel, welcomed the approximately 400 educators in attendance.  They mentioned that there was a pre-conference on the preceding evening, with two Chiefs and others presenting; a showcase was set-up in the TBC.  There was also a Pipe Ceremony this morning, led by Noel Starblanket.  Katia then introduced Alma Poitras who commenced the morning with a beautiful blessing.  Before beginning the blessing in the Cree language, Ms. Poitras explained that she was saying it because this event was very important.  The Dean from the Faculty of Education also welcomed us and wanted to acknowledge that this event was taking place on Treaty 4 land.

The keynote speaker was Charlene Bearhead,

who is the Education lead for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.  Ms. Bearhead is also a mother of six children, and grandmother of seven.  She taught us that whether or not we have an education degree, we are all educators and all have a role to play on the path to reconciliation.  Each of our roles in the process will be unique to ourselves.   She is from Alberta, which is Treaty 6 territory with a small amount of Treaty 4 territory.  She mentioned that many, including myself, do not realize that Non-First Nations people also have Treaty Rights.

Her presentation began with the signing of Treaty 4 in 1874.  She explained that if a Treaty is a relationship, the relationship between the First Nations people and the white settlers was better before government interference.  It was been a formal relationship for 143 years.  She mentioned the need for decolonization, and that the Elders always teach us that we have to do things in good ways.  She questioned whether the 500 million dollars that was spent on celebrating Canada’s 150th (+ 10,000 years) birthday could have been spent differently.

There are 94 Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) report; it is up to each of us to decide which we can do and that it is about acknowledging the truth.

She mentioned the work that Gordon Downie (a member of the “Tragically Hip” group, who recently passed) had done with his project, The Secret Path.  Mr. Downie was not a spokesperson for Indigenous people, but he spoke of what he believed in.  As an artist, he was in a position to share his viewpoints with a wide audience.  For more information on this project, please view this link:

(Picture below is from one of the displays set-up in a room for this purpose).

secret path.jpg

Ms. Bearhead said that as far back as 1907 Dr. Peter Bryce

called Residential Schools, Canada’s crime.  There were 36 Residential Schools amongst Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan; 75% of the children who attended the residential school at File Hills died there!  Conversely, Mr. Duncan Campbell Scott

is noted as saying that Residential Schools are part of assimilation.

After touring the display room, I attended the “Walking Together Toward Reconciliation” workshop, which was facilitated by three dedicated local High School teachers.  Their philosophy is written in the picture below:

teacher's philosophy.jpg

They began with mentioning that any conversations on teaching and learning of Residential Schools must be done with humility, as for some teachers, we are/will be thought of as the white settlers.  We have to open up space for conversations from First Nations’ students.  The conversations amongst all pupils must be deeper than someone just saying, “I know this” = something that they describe as “Residential School fatigue”.  It is not a topic where we put a check mark beside it, and think that we are done.

They suggested that if a student feels that they know quite a bit about the schools, then it is up to the teacher to introduce new topics, such as the Sixties Scoop or the Pass System.  For students who are new to Canada and for students who know, ask that they do a case study on Residential Schools.  First Nations students may have a lot to offer, as they are inter-generational survivors.  (This can mean, for some students, that there may have been a lack of nurturing in their home life.  The residential schools did not provide a nurturing environment, nor an environment where their culture and traditional ways would be honoured.  Culture and traditional ways (including dress, haircuts) were replaced with a white way of thinking, dressing.  When they left the schools, some of the students didn’t know where they fit into society, as their own culture was denigrated, and they weren’t white people).

Students at Balfour High School can smudge, though they need permission from their parent/guardian to do so.

One of the pre-service teachers at this session mentioned that if a student feels they know enough, ask them to share what they know, or ask someone to bring in a First Nations artifact, and use this to get conversations going.  This will assist in getting to know each other.

(Picture of Treaty land map, in display room, along with another display, prepared by students).

treaty land map.jpg


shattering the silence.jpgI believe that all of the displays were prepared by teachers, students.

There were several handouts as well, and a few are pictured below.  One table had handouts on Treaty #2, Treaty #4, Treaty #6, Treaty #8 and Treaty #10 – I believe they were prepared by a student for a Social Studies 7/8 class.  They described the negotiations that occurred between the respective Tribes and Her Majesty, the Queen.  The only one that differed was Treaty #10, as the negotiations were with the Tribes of Indians and His Majesty, the King.

Order form for Kitoskayiminawak Pikiskwewak books prepared by students of the Prairie Valley School Division – Our Young People Speak Publications.

order form.jpg

role model project.jpg

Advertisement for the Role Model Project.

The next session I attended was presented by Mr. Noel Starblanket, a Life Speaker.

mr. starblanketHe is a descendant of Treaty Four Signatory”.  His talk was very interesting, as while he started with homilies, he was actually passing along knowledge.  He is working with Dr. Angela Snowshoe and Scott Collegiate to put a horse program in place for the students of Scott Collegiate.  He said that horses are healing animals.  He also mentioned that Scott Collegiate has a smudge room, but they were not allowed to set-up a sweat lodge.

He has assisted a teacher who wanted to learn more about First Nations culture; eventually, the teacher took part in a drumming circle with this students.

He spoke of the Doctrine of Discovery; it was enabled because of terra nullius.  (From internet: Terra nullius is a Latin expression meaning “nobody’s land”, and is a principle sometimes used in international law to describe territory that may be acquired by a state’s occupation of it).  Christopher Columbus planted a flag on behalf of Queen Isabella and the English people wanted to claim this land for Kings, Queens and other Monarchs.

When it came to the question of “title”, that was determined by fighting.

Treaty with a world-view is now mandated for education.  A world-view includes spirituality.

It was White Buffalo Calf, Noel’s great-great Grandfather, who signed the Treaty.

Mr. Starblanket mentioned that there is still some antipathy between Metis people and First Nation people.  He cited the Daniels’ case:

The word Metis means “half a son” in the Cree language.

In her keynote remarks, Ms. Bearhead said that Treaty 4 was signed in 1874.  Mr. Starblanket added that before 1874, there were people traversing this land as it was full or promises, of riches.


Additional links:

Office of the Treaty Commissioner:

Truth and Reconciliation:

Article to Read: Justice Murray Sinclair states, “Reconciliation is not an aboriginal problem — it is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us.”   Visit CBC Politics article to read, view, listen to build more background knowledge, Truth and Reconciliation report brings calls for action, not words.

View the Get Involved page on Legacy of Hope website.Think about why reconciliation matters. Why IS this important to non-Aboriginal Canadians? Why should it matter to a Canadian who never attended a residential school?

Dr. Jennifer Tupper, our previous Dean of the Faculty of Education, University of Regina, shares an important message and continues to guide our faculty today, “The Truth and Reconciliation Report released last June identified 94 Calls to Action, some of which are specifically related to education. Because of our deep commitment to reconciliation, and especially given the role of education in oppression and marginalization of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples of Canada, the Faculty of Education at the UofR has prepared a formal response to the TRC.”

She proudly referred to the work that we, as a faculty, have integrated into our teachings. We have planned meaningful ways for our students to engage with projects, resources and exhibits such as Project Heart, 100 Years of Loss and the Witness Blanket. This is where your journey begins, exploring these 3 projects.

We thank Dr. Tupper for sharing the Faculty of Education formal response, November 3rd, 2015, on the Project of Heart blog. Take some time to explore this amazing blog.

Check out the May 15th, 2016 posting called, “If These Hills Could Talk“. View, listen, feel & appreciate a performance piece portraying the complexity of the residential school experience in Lebret and Fort Qu’Appelle. The video posted on the blog is “a curated adaptation of the performance piece performed on April 14, 2016 at the Walking Together: Day of Education for Truth and Reconciliation hosted by the Faculty of Education, University of Regina and the National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR).” Daya Madhur

Powerful story that has been in the recent news…Gord Downie’s The Secret Path (2hours in length so this may be a link you want to save to view in full at a later date) On October 22, 1966 near Kenora, Ontario, Chanie Wenjack died when he walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Fifty years later, Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has taken Wenjack’s story and turned it into the Secret Path project, which consists of a solo album, a graphic novel and an animated film. The intention for Downie — who went public with his diagnosis of terminal brain cancer in May — is to utilize his celebrity to draw attention to Wenjack’s story and the legacy of residential schools.

“The Stranger” is the first full chapter and song of The Secret Path. Adapted from Gord Downie’s album and Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel, The Secret Path chronicles the heartbreaking story of Chanie Wenjack’s residential school experience and subsequent death as he escapes and attempts to walk 600 km home to his family.


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