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Understanding Treaties in a Contemporary Context

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This lesson is inspired by the Treaty Education Outcomes and Indicators for grade 7.  The social media platform needed for this lesson is YouTube.  You can also do an extension of this lesson with FlipShare.  The topic of this lesson is talking circles that have widely been practiced by First Nations people for many years.

The outcome for this lesson is as follows: Examine oral tradition as a valid way of preserving accounts of what transpired and what was intended by entering into treaty.

The indicator for this lesson is as follows: Represent the ways oral tradition is used by diverse cultures, starting with First Nations.

The purpose of this lesson is for students to learn about the oral tradition of talking circles.  Talking circles are used to come to agreements and can be used for conflict-resolution.  Talking circles can be used from the ages of elementary children to elders.

Explain to students that they will be learning about talking circles.  Have any of the students heard of the talking circle before? Show students the following video found on YouTube of a young man sharing the meaning of talking circles:



Have students discuss what they learned from the video.  Hold a talking circle with students.  The only materials needed are a rock, stick or some sort of object.  Some people choose to smudge their rock as to cleanse it of any negative energy it may hold.

The rules of the talking circle can be orally discussed or written somewhere in the classroom:

1) The only person allowed to talk is the person holding the object.

2) Hold the object in your left hand as it is closest to your heart.  Teach students to speak from their heart.

3) If you do not have anything to say, you can simply pass the object onto the next person.

If you would like to videotape the talking circle you could do so.  You can edit the footage using FlipShare software.

Teach students that First Nations people believe in sharing knowledge through the oral tradition.  When First Nations people talk about the history of the treaties (such as Treaty 4), elders pass down their knowledge of the treaty signing through oral storytelling to younger generations.  It is important for the Canadian government to recognize oral histories as factual.


Creating a Strong Foundation Through the Treaties

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This lesson is inspired from the Treaty Outcomes and Indicators guide for grade 2.  The social media platform needed for this lesson is a blog (WordPress, Edublogs, blogger, Google+) or YouTube.  You will need a recording device such as an iPad or other tablet.

The outcome for this lesson is as follows: recognize the importance of honesty when examining one’s intentions.

The indicator for this lesson is as follows: share examples of honesty.

Have students work in partner groups.  One student will ask the questions and the other student will answer the questions.  Then they can swap.

The purpose of this lesson is for students to explore the idea of honesty in their personal lives.  Honesty is a big theme for treaty education.  Once students explore the ideas of honesty in their own lives, the idea of honesty can be discussed more in the context of treaties.

Take time to explore the word honesty with the students. Can students think of other words to represent the word honesty? What is the opposite of honesty?  Watch the following YouTube video with your students to help them with ideas for their assignment:

Now with student tablets, show students how to open the video camera application.  Ask the class a question and have them respond on a classroom projector.  Explain to the students that they will be asking questions to a partner like they are detectives.  Discuss and record the questions on a projector or whiteboard.  These are the following questions:

1) What is honesty?

2) Where is it important to be honest?

3) Why is it important for students to be honest at school?

4) Was there ever a time you were dishonest to somebody?

After students complete this activity display some of their videos on the classroom projector.  What did students learn from other videos?

Now it is time to relate honesty to the treaties.  At the signing of Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan, First Nations peoples were promised many things in exchange for the land.  Some of these things included education, such as schools on reserves.  Other promises were made as well.  However, today not all of these promises are being fulfilled.  For example, although there are schools on reserves many of them are underfunded meaning on-reserve children do not receive the same benefits as students living in urban centers.  Do students think this is fair for First Nations peoples of today?

Now have students respond to what you told them about above using the video camera application on their tablets.  Continue discussions of honesty throughout the year.

Post the videos on a classroom blog or YouTube (if you post it on YouTube you can create a response video to the one above).

Applying Treaty Understandings to One’s Life

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This lesson is inspired from the Treaty Outcomes and Indicators guide for grade twelve.  The social media platform needed for this lesson is YouTube.  Students also need iPads or other devices used for recording.  As students are creating videos for this lesson, it would also be beneficial for the teacher to have a Twitter account so they can Tweet the links to their students’ videos.

The outcome for this lesson is as follows: Investigate the values and beliefs of self, family, community, and society in relation to the importance of honoring the Spirit and Intent of treaties.

The indicator for this lesson is as follows: interview family, friends and community members to determine values and beliefs in relation to treaties.

First Nations and Metis peoples have followed the oral tradition when it comes to history and storytelling.  The history of Treaty 4 has been passed down through to the generations of today from the ancestors who were at treaty signing or whom had an understanding of those times.  In Aboriginal communities we honor and learn from the elders/old peoples who hold this knowledge.

The purpose of this lesson is for students to interview people that hold this knowledge and to present their learning through digital means.  It is important for students to ask permission from any people they interview if it okay to videotape/audiotape/record any of the information they are told and if they feel comfortable with posting the recording on YouTube.  It is also important for students to know traditional protocol as to approaching elders in the community.  It is appropriate to provide elders with tobacco when asking them to share their knowledge.

The following YouTube video, As Long As the Rivers Flow provides a good backgrounder on treaties in Saskatchewan.  Watch this video as a class and discuss some of the main points made throughout the video.  It is important for students to note that it includes Indigenous language throughout the video which honors the languages spoken during treaty negotiations and signing.

Have students compile a list of questions they would like to know about treaties in their area.  For example, if students live in Treaty 4 area they will compile a list of questions that are applicable to Saskatchewan.  They will ask these questions to a person of interest in the community that has a knowledge base on treaties.  These people can include elders, activists in the community and even family members.  The questions can be as simple as what is a treaty?

Have students practice using the camera/video camera feature on the iPads.  They will use this device to record those whom they interview.  Once students feel comfortable with the iPads have them conduct their interviews.

Once the interviews have been recorded, students can utilize the iMovie app on the iPads for editing their footage.  Show tutorials whole class or have students independently watch them so they can see the editing potential in this application. It would be beneficial for students in work in partner groups so they can help one another with ideas for editing.

This video shows an example of an individual whom used iMovie editing to upload an interview with an elder on education:

After students have edited their videos, dedicate time to watching each video and having a dialogue about what students learned.  Discuss the impact of technology on recording treaty knowledge.  Have each student upload their video to a personal YouTube account or create a YouTube account to upload all class videos.

Learning That We Are All Treaty People

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This lesson is inspired from the Treaty Outcomes and Indicators for grade one.  The theme for grade one is “Learning That We Are All Treaty People.” The social media platform needed for this lesson is YouTube.

Outcome: Explore what is meant by We Are All Treaty People.

Indicator: Represent that all Saskatchewan people are treaty people from the time the treaties were signed, through to today, and into the future.

Show students the Horizon Treaty Education video on YouTube.  This video was student produced by Horizon School Division #205.  This video will show students that no matter who you are or how you look, as long as you live in Saskatchewan you are a treaty person.  Students living in Regina, Saskatchewan live on Treaty 4 territory.

This video has a similar message and is produced by Claire Kreuger and her grade 3 students in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

On name tags, put the message “I am a Treaty Person” on them and have students wear them in class.  Explain that if you live on land where treaties were signed it makes you a treaty person.

Take a class picture of students wearing their name tags and have students hold up a sign of the words “I am a Treaty Person.”  You can use this picture for a PWIM (Picture Word Inductive Model). These discussions can then be continued throughout PWIM activities.

Assessing Treaty Making from a Global Perspective

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(James Anaya visits Treaty 4 Governance Centre)

This lesson is inspired by the Treaty Outcomes and Indicators for grade eleven students.  The social media platform needed for this lesson is Twitter.

The particular outcome this lesson addresses is: Examine how Canada’s process of treaty making could be applied to situations in other parts of the world where Indigenous people have rights recognized.

The indicator this lesson addresses is: Investigate how the United Nations addresses issues regarding the self determination of Indigenous peoples.

During the month of October, United Nations special rapporteur James Anaya embarked on a coast-to-coast mission to hear about the current state of Aboriginal peoples across Canada.  Have students read about his visit on the CBC website.

Have students research a current issue facing Aboriginal people in Canada today:

-Inter-generational effects of residential schools

-Aboriginal self-government

-Over representation of Aboriginal children in the foster care system

-Any other issues students/teachers see fit

Another article important for students to read regards a campaign that encourage the United Nations to declare Canada’s treatment of Aboriginal people as genocide.

After students have engaged in preliminary research on these topics, have them brainstorm a question(s)/comment they would ask/give UN special rapporteur James Anaya regarding any of their research information.  Twitter allows 140 characters or less in a tweet so make sure students are aware of this when creating their questions.  Students are going to put this question on their Twitter account with the hashtag #DearAnaya and/or #IdleNoMore.  Have students search the hashtag for ideas from their peers.  Have students reply to what their peers have wrote to create dialogue/discussion online and in discussion. See below for an example of a tweet:

Jessica Madiratta @wesaquje

What has happened to Aboriginal peoples in this country is genocide…do the research!… #DearAnaya #idlenomore

Getting to Know My Community

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The theme for the Kindergarten Treaty Outcomes and Indicators is “Getting to Know My Community.”  Within this theme there are four outcomes: Treaty Relationships, Spirit and Intent of Treaties, Historical Context and Treaty Promises and Provisions.

The outcome this lesson will focus on is Treaty Relationships: Examine the diversity of First Nations people living in Saskatchewan starting with the classrooms and communities in which they live.  The indicator it will focus on is: compare similarities across and among First Nations and other cultures.

The type of social media required for this lesson is YouTube.  The first video is of a young boy from the Alexis reserve about 70 KM from Edmonton.  Show students the video and ask them what they noticed about the video.  Record some of their thoughts down on a Microsoft Word document/Google+document, or other format for saving information.  Sign up for a YouTube account and leave a comment for this little guy so he can know what your Kindergarten class thought of his singing and drumming!

The second video to show students is of two Inuit throat singers from Arviat, Nunavut in Canada.  A rich part of Inuit traditions is throat singing.  Like the video above, ask students what they thought of the video.  Take some time to research throat singing so you can share this information with your students.  Please comment from your YouTube account what your students thought of the video!

Now that your students have had the opportunity to watch both videos discuss the similarities/differences amongst the two groups of Aboriginal peoples.  This lesson can be a start to a unit of study on both groups of people: First Nations and Inuit.

Tansi, Welcome!

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(Treaty 4 pow wow grounds)

For my final project for my EC&I 831 class I have created this blog to inspire educators to utilize social media to teach students about treaties.  I am an educator in Regina, Saskatchewan and therefore the lesson ideas I post to this blog will be primarily about the Treaty 4 area and other treaties signed throughout Saskatchewan.  However, some of the lessons will pertain to Aboriginal people across Canada and the globe and can be adapted for other areas.  My goal is to create a variety of lesson ideas from Kindergarten-12.

The Saskatchewan government: Ministry of Education recently published Treaty Outcomes and Indicators for Kindergarten to grade twelve students.  These are the outcomes I will be addressing in the lessons.  The types of social media utilized in the lessons will include: Twitter, newspaper websites, YouTube and blogs.

If you are struggling with how to teach a certain outcome found in the new curriculum guide, please feel free to contact me for lesson ideas and I will see what I can do!