“We Are All Treaty People”

Saying that ‘We are all treaty people’ means that both Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada are apart of the treaty.  Also meaning that both are benefitted in the wealth generated from land and the rights provided in these treaties. The phrase mentions that “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow, we are all treaty people.”   It is the understanding of each other, in schools, community and workplaces.   We are treaty people because we are Canadian and treaties were signed by 2 parties.   It is learning to break down the barriers of the reality of racism and work together to educate ourselves and others on treaties and treaty education.  It is part of my identity as a Canadian citizen, with knowing and modelling that every body is equal, educating others and helping them better understand about Indigenous culture and history through treaty education teachings, and also to inform that cultural appropriation/misappropriation is derogatory and wrong.

Cultural appropriation is something that people do, but don’t always know that they are doing because they are ill-educated towards it.  Cultural appropriation is when one culture dominates and adopts the elements and customs of another culture and deems them less or the minority culture.  This is mainly due to the fact that there was a presence of colonial elements and imbalance of power.  For instance, as we talked about in class, how wearing a headdress can be detrimental and should not be replicated by any other culture as it is sacred and important to the Indigenous peoples.  As Chelsea Vowel states in her chapter about cultural appropriation, “even if you have “Native friends,” or are part-Indigenous yourself, individual choices to “not be offended” do not trump our collective rights as peoples to define our symbols,” (Vowel, 2016, p.84).  This goes the same for dressing up in another persons cultural clothing and dress for Halloween.  It is both misrepresented and inappropriate to do so.  I wouldn’t want someone to dress up for Halloween in my Italian cultural clothing, because I find that very disrespectful and the meaning behind it gets lost.

More recently, more and more schools are getting into treaty education (age-appropriate language/content) in every grade and in every subject.  This is what I can do to help, to educate young minds so they know what is proper and right and grow to have the knowledge needed for understanding and learning about the history of our country and Indigenous ways of knowing.


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