Treaty Education in the Classroom – ECCU 400

Hello everyone!

Treaty Education is a highly discussed topic in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina. In Saskatchewan, Treaty Education actually has a curriculum. Teachers across the province should be teaching Treaty Education in their classroom regardless of the grade level or subject they are teaching. Despite there being curriculum in place for teachers to teach Treaty Education in the classroom, it is often an overlooked curriculum that is skimmed over or not taught at all.

Prior to entering the University of Regina, I did not know that there was a Treaty Education curriculum or that Treaty Education outcomes should be incorporated into every subject. I thought that Treaty Education was only part of the social studies curriculum. Once I entered into the University of Regina in the Faculty of Education, I noticed that there is a huge emphasis on Treaty Education and the importance of teaching Treaty Education in all subjects.

Through my studies at the University of Regina, I have learnt that Treaty Education is often not incorporated in many classrooms. In many curriculums, including the math curriculums, Indigenous content and Indigenous ways of knowing and learning are included. Despite the curriculum including Indigenous ways of knowing, many teachers often do not teach these outcomes or indicators for various reasons. If teachers are teaching the outcomes or indicators, they are often only taught on one very “special” day when teachers incorporate Indigenous knowledge or Treaty Education simply to check off that they have completed the outcome or indicator.

Throughout my education degree, I have struggled with the idea of how I can incorporate Treaty Education in all subjects, especially math. I have struggled to find ideas or ways to meaningfully incorporate Treaty Education into the math classroom. However, as I have learned more about Treaty Education, I have learnt that it is not something that we can force into every single lesson or force to make work with western ideas or subjects. Mathematics is a subject that is greatly influenced by Western and European ideas. Most of the mathematics that is taught in many schools is taught through a very abstract approach. Through EMTH 351, I have learnt that many Indigenous forms of mathematics use concrete understanding and concrete problems, rather than an abstract approach.

An example of an image that would be used in a word problem about Indigenous People of Canada

As a future educator, I would like to incorporate Treaty Education in my classrooms. I do not want to force Treaty Education or Indigenous concepts into the Western mathematics. I want to infuse Treaty Education into my classrooms in a meaningful way. By meaningful, I do not mean simply incorporating one word problem that includes an Indigenous person or an Indigenous cultural event. Most Indigenous groups did not use Western Mathematics when they created drums, Totem Poles, or any other Indigenous items that are often used in word problems in mathematics. By forcing mathematics upon Indigenous items or cultural events, I would not be honouring the culture.

Photo Credit: daryl_mitchell Flickr via Compfight cc

In my effort in taking steps towards reconciliation and incorporating Treaty Education in my classroom, I know that I need to continuously learn more about Indigenous cultures and the history of treaties and the injustice many Indigenous People have faced throughout history and continue to face. As an educator, I would like to incorporate more Treaty Education and Indigenous ways of knowing into my math classroom. Outside of the classroom, I would like to be an advocate for Indigenous People. I will continue to call out my family and friends when they are making racist comments or judgements. I will continue to engage in difficult discussion and conversations with my family and friends and give them another perspective that is different from their own.

Overall, I want to continue to learn more about Indigenous ways of knowing and different ways of teaching Treaty Education in the mathematics classroom. As I continue to go through my education degree, I have learnt that there is not one way to teach Treaty Education in the classroom. There is also not one way to incorporate Indigenous knowledge in the classroom. As an educator, it is my job to continue to learn more about Indigenous knowledge and ways to incorporate Treaty Education in the classroom. As an educator, I must educate my students on the injustices that Indigenous People have faced in the past and continue to face. To do so, I must teach Treaty Education in my classroom and incorporate Indigenous ways of knowing in my classroom. It is important to begin to incorporate Treaty Education in the classroom and make a mistake, rather than simply not teaching it at all in fear of making mistakes. Making mistakes is an important part of learning and growing.

Treaty Education is not option, it is an important curriculum that must be taught. As educators, we must ensure that Treaty Education is being taught and Indigenous ways of knowing are being incorporated into the classroom.

Thanks for reading my blog post!

Ashley Osachoff

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