Teaching Treaties

The article “Teaching Treaties as (Un)Usual Narratives: Disrupting the Curricular Commonsense” describes the curriculum as the “collective story we tell our children about our past, present and our future” (p. 560).  If the curriculum is a story, why do we always pick up the same book?  Furthermore, why do we always pick the story about the past when there are new stories being stocked on the shelves?  Stories about treaties are largely part of the null curriculum in Saskatchewan schools; they are the stories collecting dust on the shelves. Treaty education should not simply be a book that never gets picked up and when it does get picked, it should focus on the present/future, as much as, it does the past.

In my first year at the University of Regina I took a native studies course.  It was very informative and I was surprised by how little I knew  about Saskatchewan’s history (OUR history).  It baffles me that most students in Saskatchewan do not learn about treaties.  Instead, we learn about some queen in England. I think this speaks to the impractically of the curriculum: learning calculus before taxes, WW2 before Canada’s own racist/genocide stories, reading Shakespeare before we can even write, etc.

Teaching students about treaties might be hard to do considering I am white. Who wants to be the nice white lady? But when it comes down to it, I will just have to suck it up and do it. No one ever died from reading another story (right?).  In my opinion, it will be important to pick “books” from both the past and present that will allow students to learn about themselves and others, acknowledge different perspectives, learn about race/racism and engage in critical thinking.

If our government/schools/curriculum/current environment/etc. tries to throw different stories/perspectives to the side… well, there is always a way to get into the restricted section. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Teaching Treaties

  1. Maybe that’s the good thing about Treaty Education, is that it will challenge us as teachers to look at our lessons and our planning in a different light. It might be hard at first, but in the end it will probably be worth it and you’ll learn as your students learn.

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