After viewing Dwayne Donald’s lecture and Claire Kreuger’s introduction and interview, I feel better equipped to answer questions such as the one Mike received from a pre-service teacher. Simply put by Claire within her introduction video, it is our responsibility as teachers to provide instruction to our students that each person in Canada has been undeniably effected by Treaty. From her introduction, I was most moved by Claire’s anecdotal story about her Indigenous daughters who do no simply require more cultural programming, but to be given a chance to succeed in their goals. Most prominently, when Claire poignantly stated “the focus needs to be on our non-Indigenous students, and the racism that we have gotten so good at teaching them,” I was reminded that racism and marginalization is a settler issue rather than an Indigenous one. Our non-Indigenous students are the future, and must enter into relationship with our Indigenous students through the knowledge they receive from Treaty Education.
In engaging our non-Indigenous students in Treaty Education, I believe Dwayne Donald’s comments on white culture in Canadian schools is a key understanding. Simply, Donald states that FNMI students are seen as having a hyper cultural way of knowing while white students are seen as being devoid of culture. Within this, I hear Donald referring to white culture being the common sense culture Kumashiro looks at extensively in his writing, as white culture has become so indoctrinated in North American institutions that caucasian citizens cannot see it. Making white students aware of this narrative is the first step in introducing Treaty Education into a resistant school culture.
For me, interpreting curriculum using the idea that “We are all Treaty people” is an essential lens to be placed over the curriculum as document, practice and product. This lens adds the perspective that without Treaty, the curriculum would not exist as it does today, nor would Canada exist in it’s current state. On a more basic level, Treaty Education and Indigenous ways of knowing are written into the Saskatchewan Curriculum. If nothing else, as educators we are legally mandated to teach this essential part of the curriculum, just as Mike said in Claire’s interview, we are legally required to teach Math. In the same interview, I was also inspired by Claire who said she is always learning how to best teach Treaty Education and that this journey has ended up being student led and teacher facilitated.