The Treaty invitational event reinforced in me that truth, reconciliation, and decolonization will only happen if we widen the circle. I think it’s important that as a settler Canadian, I continue to be an active treaty partner and work to widen the circle of truth and understanding. I believe our treaty event allowed for meaningful and informative conversation in a way that wasn’t forceful or hurtful to any one person. I think we did a good job at recognizing what discussion topics were important to us, and taking the opportunity to share our areas of interest/passion with our guests.
At our school, we work hard to honour and commit to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Last year, we did a school-wide project with the Calls to Action, and this year many teachers have continued to recognize and incorporate the Calls to Actions in their classrooms. One way I think we could further expand our knowledge and promote the work we are doing is by involving the community. It seems we do these great things, but it primarily just stays within the building. I would like to see how we can take our work of recognizing the Calls to Action and introduce those into the community centres. By expanding school’s treaty event to more than just friends, families, and classmates, schools can continue to expand the circle in communities.
One thing I think that is important if I were to do this at school would be to ensure there is no cultural appropriation. It would be important that those running each aspect of the event are aware of their parameters on the information they can share. For example, as a Settler Canadian, it would be inappropriate and disrespectful for me to explain the teachings of drum groups, then lead a drum group.
I think a treaty event in our building would be a great opportunity for all learners to incorporate Indigenous teachings into their practices. This would be beneficial for Indigenous learners to promote their cultures, while the non-Indigenous students can promote the work of being active treaty partners. We currently are fortunate enough to have two strong Elders in our building. This treaty event can help students and family members become connected with our Elders.
The treaty event really allows students to take ownership of their learning. I believe students learn best when they have some control over what they learn and how they learn it. This would be a really good opportunity for students to collaborate with one another, inquire into themes that are important to them, and figure out how best they want to show what they know.
For me, our treaty event has opened up conversations with my family. I think that my mom walked away with a lot of new information, and a different perspective than she was used to. So, we have discussed her new information since then. Although these discussions surrounding truth and reconciliation with family members may not always end in agreeance, there are more of these conversations happening. I think this is a step in the right direction, and I hope to continue the discussions with my family regarding truth, justice, and reconciliation.