ECS 210

Dear: Intern (future me)

It is unfortunate that our education systems still lack to see the importance of including proper First Nations education in our classrooms.  First, I want to applaud you for recognizing your voice as a coop student by choosing to continue to pursue these topics in the classroom. I can imagine it would be difficult process if your coop does not withhold the same views as you. It is irrelevant whether the students you are teaching are of Indigenous decent or not, we are all treaty people and all need to learn the truth behind Canada’s history. The purpose of teaching all Canadians a proper Treaty Education is to provide knowledge of the injustice that is the product of colonialism. We must educate our students on Canada’s past to prevent it from reoccurring in our future.

Although you are teaching a high school class I think it is important to realize that these students may have minimal background knowledge on the treaties and Indigenous ways of knowing. If it were me I would give it a completely fresh start. Perhaps for the subject of standard living you could begin by introducing the Treaty Map of Canada. I believe that many Caucasian students are apprehensive to acknowledge that they are indeed Treaty People because their previous education experiences explained treaties in a way that only indigenous peoples could make and be a part of treaties. By showing this map, you can explain that Canada became the country it is today due to the treaties both Westerners and First Nations signed together.

When approaching an Indigenous ways of knowing lesson plan, I would consider trying an approach that does not require a textbook and writing notes. I am a true believer of learning through experiences and this is a type of subject that is most definitely best learned through doing. If possible invite an Elder into the classroom to explain the importance of storytelling in their culture. I would also invite you to practice embodiment with your students. Take your students for a walk outdoors and allow for them to use all five of their senses and enjoy the environment the world has given to them. During this time you could read your students Indigenous stories about nature and nurture. The outdoors are known to have significant benefits on one’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Embodiment is something that all people of all cultures could practice more of.


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