I am really excited to have been a part of an amazing experience that showed me yet again how much I love my role!! I jumped on board this project with an invitation from two lovely educators at Campbell Collegiate. These two teachers, Naomi Fortier-Freçon and Leia Laing, were searching for a meaningful way to integrate treaty instruction and understanding into their French Immersion courses. The project evolved from its beginnings, a one-school art project, into a four school, two day youth conference at First Nations University.
The project itself took on a life of it’s own as Leia and Naomi organized speakers, collaborated with staff, organized funding, and wrote grant proposals. They were thrilled to receive a grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board in the amount of $10,000 in order to further pursue this project.
With help from the organizing committee, the project began to take shape. Regina Public Schools and the First Nations University were involved, as well as Elder Noel Starblanket. The “teaching team” was selected through an application process; teachers from Balfour, Scott, and Martin Collegiates were selected to bring students to the conference and participate in the planning of the two days.
The project itself began with a leadership retreat for the “group leaders” in the days leading up to the conference. These young men and women had the opportunity to get to know one another in preparation for the role they would need to play.
On day 2, the students all joined together at First Nations University and participated in a series of workshops led by volunteers that would allow them to better understand their role as treaty citizens.
Indigenous knowledge: Learning Cree though traditional song Shannon McNabb
Missing and murdered aboriginal women Brenda Dubois
Clearing the Plains: Dr Jim Daschuk
Treaty 4 Role Play: Calinda Hotomanie, Nicole Peigan, Crystal Starr, Amber Boddy, Whitney Cote, Winona Yuzicappi. Connie Starblanket
Art planning Ray Keighley
Indigenization: Dr Shauneen Pete
Historical Primary Source Inquiry Sandra Bellegarde
Do indigenous people have rights to mine? Dr Andrew Miller
Legal interpretation and language interpretation (spirit and intent) Riva Racette
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (McIntosh) Jessica Dieter
The Métis Experience Outside of Treaties Calvin Racette
Nationhood Interrupted: Revitalizing nêhiyaw Legal Systems: Dr Sylvia McAdam
TV NEWS: Indigenous Circle on CTV Creeson Agecoutay
Students were allowed to select their sessions based on interest.
On day 2 of the conference, the students returned to apply what they learned about treaty citizenship. They were asked to work in family groups to discuss the previous day and to work collaboratively to create the art piece that represents their understanding of treaty citizenship. You can see the process and the final product below:
The hope is that students from each of these schools will take something away from this conference. The intent was truly to understand their own role as treaty citizens as they are the next generation. Their beliefs and understandings about treaty will pave the way for people of Saskatchewan.