Darin Janssen’s Weblog

Teaching Treaties in the Classroom

Last week I had the opportunity to take a workshop on teaching treaties in the classroom.  Teaching treaties is a requirement in Saskatchewan’s curriculum and I think that it should have been for years.  I was raised and schooled without much First Nations content.  I did not know hardly anything about the history of Canadian First Nations.  Since I started attending university I have had the opportunity to learn about Canada’s past.  Canada’s past, when it comes to First Nations, is disgusting.  On top of the history courses I have taken, I have had the opportunity to listen to First Nation elders speak.  I am learning both sides of the story.  Why was I never privy to both sides of the story before now?  One reason my be that I was never taught it, and the other is because I had not taken the time to learn.  In my time at the university I have learned that if I want to know something, I have to find it out for myself; no one is going to spoon feed me with the knowledge I need.

Teaching treaties and other First Nation’s content in the classroom is very important because there are so many untruths, discrepancies, and misunderstandings in society today.  With education, there may be change in the future.  I do not remember where I read it, but I read that racist attitude begin in infancy.  It is no wonder that racism is so hard to change; kids do not have a chance to escape it if family members have racist attitudes.  The more youth and adults who are educated the better the chance of racism being part of history.

The workshop was my fourth opportunity to communicate with an elder as they tell about the past, the present, and the future.  Every time I learn something new and there is never any blame against me for what my ancestors did years ago to the First Nation People.

Through understanding the past, the future is only going to get better.  And that is why we need First Nation’s content in schools.



February 10, 2009 - Posted by | EPS 255, Pre-internship


  1. Hi! I think this is a fantastic post. I am a student at the University of Toronto writing an assignment for a final year seminar in The Anthropology of the Present. I am writing a graduate school-like proposal on Teaching Treaties in the Classroom and critical pedagogy. I hope to make education a career, and this topic is incredibly interesting and provokative as it forces questions to come forth on nation-state formation, what it is to be “canadian”, and the importance of teaching children the often not-so-pretty history of our nation and how it is lived today. Not only that, but it is important to teach these things so that we can create a more holistic, critical and accepting society where First Nations is fully recognized and legitimated in the public sphere. This post let me know that all my work is not in vain!

    Comment by Julia | April 1, 2009

  2. I am a university student with ITEP through Saskatoon, Sask. I am glad that the ice is finally breaking on the history of my ancestors, and that what has happened in the past is finanlly having a voice and opinions from the whole world. We will finally be acknowledged. I am a direct decendent of Ahtahkakoop. I have been told stories about the treaties, and feel very honoured to know them. I am currently taking Native Studies and sometimes get frustrated with the information that we are learning about because it is still very close to home.

    Comment by Lillian Bear | December 20, 2010

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