A group of partners have signed a memorandum of understanding promoting reconciliation through Treaty education.
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN), the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association signed the agreement on Feb. 2. According to a release from the FSIN, the agreement aims to tackle systematic discrimination “in the spirit and intent of Treaty partnerships.”
“This [Memorandum of Understanding] is the first step towards reconciliation through education,” FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said. “Our children will grow up understanding their inherent and treaty rights.”
Cameron added the memorandum of understanding can end discrimination in provincial education systems.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association members have passed a number resolutions related to treaty education. In 2017, a resolution adopted calls for mandatory Indigenous studies classes at the high school level on top of current teachings. A separate resolution was also passed, calling all schools and boards to display the treaty symbol in their offices.
“Our ongoing partnerships are very important in addressing shared responsibilities and interests in Saskatchewan’s education systems,” Dr. Shawn Davidson president of the association said.
Newly sworn in Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson said education was used in the past as the vehicle to oppress Indigenous people. She said education about the spirit, intent, and treaty relationships can be the vehicle to take Indigenous people to reconciliation.
Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre president Wanda Wilson said language and culture must be understood as the “bedrock” or foundation of Indigenous peoples' world view. Their world view must be integral component of any treaty education program. Input must also come from local language and knowledge keepers.
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