Manitoba government and the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba
said Tuesday it's time for both non-aboriginal and First Nations students
to learn about each other, starting with the treaties that form the
basis of Manitoba's history.
Pilot project started in 2010,
K - 4 ready for province-wide roll out, says province
The Treaty Education Initiative, first introduced as a pilot
project for Grades 5 to 6 in 2010, then Grades K to 4 in 2012-2013
and Grades 7 to 12 last year, will now be rolled out province-wide.
"At its core, the TEI gets students learning and talking about
how the Treaties form the very foundation of who we are as a province
and as citizens with ongoing responsibilities to each other," said
Manitoba Education minister James Allum in a news release.
Manitoba's Treaty Relations Commissioner, James Wilson said
the TEI quickly changed from a pilot project to a means for both
First Nations students and others to learn about each other.
"First Nations students were just as anxious to learn more about
their own history as non-Aboriginal students were to learn more
about First Nations," Wilson said in a statement.
Goal is to change stereotypical thinking
The mandate of the commission is to educate Manitobans about
the treaties and foster dialogue and understanding.
The hope is that educating students about the treaties will
improve the relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students
and change "stereotypical thinking."
The TRCM already offers a series of two-day in-service sessions
Officials said eventually, "all Manitoba students should be
expected to demonstrate knowledge of the topics, concepts and understandings
of the treaties and the treaty relationship by the end of Grade
Wilson said teachers who participated in the pilots were found
it was easy to bring discussion of the treaties into courses from
math to art and history.
"In turn, this opened doors to discussions that built upon the
Treaties such as residential schools, traditions, and customs and
gave students greater context in understanding issues like the court
action over Kapyong Barracks and the Idle No More movement."
Wilson said Treaties are the most important documents Canadians
have ever put their names to, yet many do not understand them.
"Within a decade, I believe we'll look back on the TEI as a
critical step in strengthening the Treaty Relationship between both
original signatory communities," he said.
resources on treaties 'incredibly valuable'
Kamal Dhillon, a student teacher at St. John's High School,
said she's thrilled with the educational workbooks and textbooks
the province has put together.
Dhillon said the information is incredibly valuable.
"I know that treaties involve a complex and complicated relationship
between First Nations people in Canada and the government of Canada,"
she said. "And it's that relationship that we need to explore and
The learning starts this week. Dhillon said it's not a moment
"There's so many different sources out there, with so many different,
conflicting pieces of information. To have a kit at your fingertips
that has been sanctioned by people who know so much about the topic
and to say, 'These are the most important resources that you can
explain to your students.'"
She hopes other teachers feel the same excitement she does in
teaching the new material.
"This is an opportunity that I think all teachers should take
advantage of. It's been laid out so clearly for us and I think it's
a really important topic that students today need to be aware of."
11 students at Kelvin High School learn about Treaty 5 through
role playing. (Raymond Sokalski)