In an ideal Canada, we would all consider ourselves as “Treaty people.” The treaties signed in the past of this country impact all of us in some way. The impact of those treaties are still very much felt to this day. Not every person in Canada considers themselves as a Treaty person. They either do not know the past, or see an alternate view of it. Because of this, tragedies such as the shooting of Colten Boushie divide us on racial lines as racism is a systematic institution of Canada, and a production of euro-centric past.This brings to light the idea that the Treaty relationship needs to be taught and reflected upon. For example, some of my older students did not know the extent of residential schools and how damaging the experience truly was to not only individuals, but the cultures as well. The question remains, what does being a Treaty person mean?
I did not grow up learning about the Treaties. My education in regards to First Nations people and the interaction of our cultures could be considered white washed, until going for my education degree. I am not alone. As a Treaty person, I see responsibility. There is a responsibility to respect the culture, understand the value of the learning about the culture, accept the past and educate myself so I can educate others.
Education lies at the heart of the elimination of racism. As a Treaty person, I need to participate alongside others to reinforce the Treaty relationship, and enhance understanding in myself and others. I see racism everyday, in ignorance more so than in hate. And this is something that I, as an educator and as a Treaty person, am compelled to combat.