Treaty 2 Territory – Life Long Learning visited Keeseekoowenin First Nation this week. FNT2T Local Nation Helper, Stephanie Swain-Lathlin, invited community members to partake in an engagement session to discuss a Keeseekoowenin Education Act.
First, the group took part in an activity aimed at creating awareness among participants of what we’re taught in school and what we aren’t taught. What is told about history, and what isn’t told. Interesting dialogue was had while looking at some First Nations’ history. Participants viewed images of Oji-Cree artist, Jackson Beardy. They discussed their own experiences in school when looking at an image of great Plains Cree leader, Big Bear (Treaty 6). One individual shared that he was once shown a picture of this great leader in school, but he was told that this man was a prisoner. Today, we know that Big Bear held a Sundance back in 1884 that brought together over 2000 First Nations peoples. This would have been a very powerful gathering for the people in this time period (and it would be about one year later that the government banned the Sundance).
Each participant shared what he or she felt was (is) their individual gift. This was important because the discussion started to focus on the importance of looking at the gifts of little ones and young people. All agreed that every individual is given a gift. Some said their gift was cooking. And we all know that food and feasting brings people together. Some felt that they were nurturers, often being told “you’re young but you have an old spirit.” Some were beaders, some storytellers.
The group then discussed local education, education as a treaty right, and education acts. It was suggested that participants take a look at other First Nations who’ve written their own education acts such as the Mi’kmaq Nation. It was agreed that language, culture, land-based learning, traditions, and mentoring were all important components of First Nations’ education to this group of community members. They have some very exciting work ahead of them!
Last modified: November 16, 2019