A number of Canadian High Schools have begun taking part in recognizing Indigenous history through devoting a week towards focusing on The Numbered Treaties.
From 1867 to 1921 The reigning monarch of Canada signed a series of 11 numbered treaties with various Indigenous tribes.
The treaties provided the Canadian government with land for settlement and development purposes. The treaties forced the Indigenous people onto Reserve lands in exchange for cash subsidies, hunting and fishing tools, healthcare and like.
These treaties resulted in the loss of Land for our Nation’s Indigenous community. The treaties that included provisions about education on reserves were intended to assimilate Indigenous children into the more dominant Catholic and Settler Society, the process more commonly referred to as Residential Schools.
While this part of Canadian history is often suppressed, seeing how 67% of non-Indigenous High School students believe that Residential Schools have no effect on today’s Indigenous community, many Younger Canadians are looking ahead towards the path of Truth and Reconciliation.
“Treaties Recognition Week is an opportunity to reaffirm the importance of learning and understanding Indigenous issues, histories and perspectives in a safe and caring learning environment,” said lkdsb Director of Education Jim Costello.
Treaty Recognition Week was introduced on May 30, 2016, declared to be held every year on the first week of November in order to honor Canada’s Indigenous community and educate Canadians on the importance of treaties in modern Canadian Society.
Students participating in Treaty Recognition Week took place in a number of activities this week, including Guest Speakers, Posters/artwork, Class Discussions, Morning announcement’s in regards to certain Treaties and other minor activities that would help educate Students on treaties.
“I think Treaty (Recognition) Week is a great way to help our community understand the history of Canada’s Indigenous people and the struggle’s they still face in Canadian Society as a result of these Treaties,” said Thador Tekhli, a senior student of Chatham Kent Secondary School.
While many Canadians still don’t fully understand the effects of the Numbered Treaties on Canadian Society today, many Club Members and Social Science teachers still feel it is necessary to continue educating each other on these events throughout the year.
“The intended goal of this is to raise awareness so the more kids we get to, the more dinner conversations change, the more awareness that’s raised and you’ll slowly start to see a shift take place,” said Ashley Nurmela, the First Nation, Inuit and Metis liaison officer for Lakehead Public Schools.