I thought both the Truth and We are Treaty People seminars were well done. I also thought both seminars complemented each other well, almost like the seminars were planned together.
I always struggle with name changes to buildings and things like that. I am a bit of a traditionalist, and I don’t like change. So, when I hear of proposed name changes for those types of things, I usually have the thought of why waste all that money. After the What’s in a name portion of the Truth seminar, it has gotten me to reconsider my thinking. I naively thought that those we honour by naming something after them would be stand out citizens of the time. It was shocking that Davin was not such a stand out citizen, and still had a school of all things named after him. As part of my miskosowin process for this class, in the future I will be doing some research into the name changes that are proposed.
During the debrief of the Truth seminar, the topic of the land acknowledgement statement and plaques/pictures recognizing We are Treaty People are being placed in visible places in the schools. It was mentioned that these are just tokens with no real value, and that my idea of it’s a starting place was another common rebuttal. During the discussion I wasn’t able to articulate my thoughts, but as we moved into the We are Treaty People seminar it became clearer.
We were asked in the Treaty people seminar to do a mind map of what the statement We are Treaty People meant to us. Through that mind map and the video the group showed, I was able to sort my thoughts out.
I do acknowledge that the statements and plaques can easily become just tokens and that the it’s a starting place can be a rebuttal, for those that don’t want to do much, or just tick of the Treaty Ed box. I also see those things in a different light. I see those statements and plaques in a prominent place as tool to start a conversation, about a very hot topic in this province. I also see placing those things on the walls in the schools, tells the children that this is important. Kids are taught implicitly and explicitly at home and at school, that things that go on the walls are important. In our homes we place photographs, art work that have meaning to us, in the school when things are hung on the bulletin board the children know that it is important and meaningful. I also feel that if parents and visitors are seeing these things, it becomes a little easier to ask questions about it or for those who are nervous to brooch the subject it gives them a starting point in non-threatening way. I don’t believe most people are ready for an in your face approach to these topics and I think that approach will turn people off and they will tune out, then we make no progress. This is most definitely an issue that will not be solved in a few years. As Justice Murray Sinclair says it will take generations. I know most us of hope not, but the rift has been growing for generations, it won’t close quickly. What we can do is start with our young kids and teach them well, and they will teach others.