“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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A Strong Connection Between Mother-Earth and Sky

Recently, we have studied the key understandings and significance of a pipe ceremony.  The pipe ceremony is such a profound celebration to take part in.  When Elder Alma was in our class, she introduced and described how powerful a pipe ceremony is.  It is a sacred celebration that connections both the physical and spiritual world together.  The pipe itself holds extreme power as it links mother-earth to the sky.  The smoke that rises is our words that speak to heaven and the spirits above and then it reciprocates a blessing upon our body and us.  The reason that tobacco is used within the pipe ceremony is to connect the deep roots that are in the earth to the Creator and the sky above.  It is a way of giving back to the earth what was taken away.

What I thought to be a take away that resonated with me was when Elder Alma mentioned the term ‘moontime.’  This was a term that I have heard of when I took a social studies 30 course back in grade 12.  Elder Alma went on to further describe moontime (a woman’s gift from Grandmother moon) as the time of month when a woman is menstrating.  This is a time to abstain from ceremonies as it is a time of purification for women.  Moontime holds great power and should not be present when using such powerful sacred objects like the pipe, feather, etc.  It is shown as a place of rebirth, beauty, honour and respect that women abstain from ceremony when on their moontime and meditate or call to prayer in a nearby gathering place or sweat lodge.

This was such a great opportunity to hear the stories and lived experiences from Elder Alma and to hear the significance of a sacred traditional pipe ceremony.

The “Aboriginal worldview” – guiding principles and traditional values of Aboriginal societies. This suggests the way Aboriginal peoples see themselves in relation to the world. It is a holistic process where learning takes place across different spheres of human experience including spiritual, physical, emotional and mental dimensions. Worldview’s may also consider relationships and experiences of the past, present and future as interconnected. ——-WNCP: The Common Curriculum Framework for Aboriginal Language and Culture Programs, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (2000)–

I added this quote on ‘Aboriginal Worldview’ because is correlates with the purpose of a pipe ceremony.  It is what Indigenous peoples stand for and commemorate. The understandings of worldview’s, cultural customs/traditions, celebrations/rituals, and so on, link with the understanding of Treaties as well.  Treaties were primarily constructed to unite solely to the spirituality, respect and great honour that Indigenous peoples had/still have with the Creator.  It is meaningful take the time to build upon our relationships with differing worldview’s and reason with why it stands today.

kihci-asotamâtowin [Keeh-TSI-us-SOO-tu-MAA-toe-win]

kihci-asotamâtowin [Keeh-TSI-us-SOO-tu-MAA-toe-win] – Sacred Promises to One Another, the Treaty Sovereign’s Sacred Undertakings

Adapted from google images, all rights labeled for noncommercial reuse

Visual Representation of a Blanket Exercise

I participated in my second blanket exercise, and even this time I took something different away than I did when I was first introduced to it.  A blanket exercise is a great way to visually see how colonization happened, during the time of residential schools and how our history came to be.  Seeing the visual acted out and facilitated with the variety of scripts that some individuals voiced during the time of contact, was and is extremely eye-opening.

In school, I was always taught different aspects of Treaty Education through textbooks or handouts, which doesn’t impact you the way it does when enacted through a visual representation.  I find this to be very effective to bring into the classroom as a way of introducing colonization and the way our Canadian history still affects us today.  As someone mentioned in class last week, I would love to know and learn how to use the blanket exercise and other resources from the Treaty Ed Kit within an early childhood classroom, such as in kindergarten or grade one.  I know that this is an exercise that is becoming more and more common in teacher education, but it would be highly important and effective to be facilitated and offered in our elementary schools.  We need to keep educated as teachers, but also need to educate the ignorant generation(s) and the youth of tomorrow.

 

 

 

miskâsowin[mis-skaa-soo-win]

miskâsowin [mis-SKAA-soo-win]- Finding one’s sense of origin & belonging; Finding ‘one’s self’ or Finding ‘one’s center’

Home for me is here, in Regina, Saskatchewan.  To narrow it down a bit more, home is the place(s) where I feel most comfortable, where my loved ones are, my family, where my friends are, a place that I feel the safest, a place where memories are made, a place to relax…my home is a place where I was raised and where I grew up. I consider my place of residence, my grandparents’ houses, my boyfriend’s house, my sister’s house, my elementary school and my high school, all places I call ‘home.’  I cannot just choose one particular place where home is for me because the aforementioned places are what has shaped me into the person I am today, and has defined what community means for me.  Home is also a place where I am free, where I can be myself at any given time of the day and no one is there to judge.  I have lived in Regina my whole life and I would not change it for the world…Home sweet home.