Nation-Based Sovereign-Based Government

FNT2T: Life Long Learning – Keeseekoowenin’s, Jenny Bone, Reviews Draft Treaty 2 Storybook

January 13, 2021

Treaty 2 Territory – Good Day! We hope that everyone is well and safe. FNT2T Life Long Learning has been working on a draft Treaty 2 History Learning kit which will hopefully support Treaty 2 schools and teachers impart Treaty 2 history to students in a way that is reflective of our perspective(s). Currently, grades K-4 are drafted and the work on drafting grades 5-12 continues. One component of this Treaty Two History K-12 Learning Kit is a draft Treaty 2 Storybook which is, for the time being, titled Binenshii. The title may change upon further review.

Life Long Learning Keeper, Donna Beyer, has developed numerous First Nations teaching resources throughout her career in First Nations education including K-4 First Nations Studies booklets that outlined Manitoba Education Social Studies Learning Outcomes with a focus on First Nations’ perspective(s); Residential Schools Stories & Lessons; Gr. 9-12 ELA Indigenous Writing; Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades K-12, Buffy St. Marie (First Nations role models); and, an autobiographical study for adult learners and grade 12 on Jordin Tootoo’s book, All the Way.

Life Long Learning Keeper, Donna Beyer, still considers herself fairly new to Treaty 2 after a little over a year in the position. She believes that it takes at least a year or two to become familiar, and comfortable, in a new position; particularly, if you’re a visitor in a territory. Beyer is of the mind that it’s important to gain familiarity, build trust, and move slowly in any new position. Additionally, there have been challenges over the past year when it comes to the LLL work plan including many Treaty 2 communities experiencing a mass evacuation last fall due to a storm that swept most of Treaty 2 and Treaty 1 territory. Many were evacuated for a month or more at that time. It took some time for many to get back to business after that difficult time. And as we know, this year, covid-19 has disrupted life for many and we are all learning to navigate these unprecedented times. With these challenges, Life Long Learning has focused on drafting a Treaty 2 History Learning Kit with travel being limited and communities being more centered on safety and wellness, rightfully so.

With this, Life Long Learning Keeper, Donna Beyer, has drafted a Treaty 2 History Learning kit. Currently, grades K-4 are drafted along with the Treaty 2 Storybook, Binenshii. When developing the drafts of both the booklets and storybook, Donna reviews Manitoba Education Social Studies learning outcomes in effort to align lessons with mainstream curriculum; however, focus is placed upon First Nations’ and Treaty 2 history. Additionally, each booklet begins with reflection on identity as it is critical that young First Nations people know who they are prior to learning their history so they understand their connection to the material. Both the learning booklets and the storybook, contain important words to know for students (and teachers) who are learning First Nations’ history and treaties. All of the materials will, of course, evolve. Nothing is permanent.

Keeseekoowenin educator, Jenny Bone, reviewed the storybook along with Keeseekoowenin Elder and language-keeper/teacher, Elizabeth Loran. Jenny has been teaching at Keeseekoowenin School for many years. She is a young, brave Anishinaabe educator who is dedicated to centering First Nations’ history, culture, and perspective in her classroom. Jenny is always willing to try new things – or one might say return to old ways – in her classroom. She and Donna have teamed up on various projects in the past. Donna admires and loves Jenny’s passion and innovation in teaching. Jenny takes part in a lot of the land-based learning in Keeseekoowenin. She is always seeking resources and learning activities that strive to connect students to their history and ways.

Below is Jenny’s review of the Treaty 2 Storybook, Binenshii:

“As an educator from Treaty 2 territory and who teaches in the territory, I was kindly asked to review the draft Binenshii. This book creates an opportunity to build a foundation to learning the Anishinaabemowin language in connection to land and treaties. It can create meaningful dialogue for students that will help them embrace their First Nations identity and have them truly think about their history. There are many ways that I could use this book in my classroom. It would be relevant in all subject areas. It invites students to think critically about history – and the significance of language and treaties in relation to their history and identity. It is a resource that demonstrates how important it is for us to take ownership over our learning, to tell our own stories. Keeseekoowenin Elder and language keeper/teacher, Elizabeth Loran, also read Binenshii. I like that the title, Binenshii, is symbolic in that the bird represents freedom and strength. The little bird is like a messenger who witnessed the signing of Treaty 2 and tells us its story.”

The FNT2T Knowledge Council also received (via email) a draft copy of Binenshii back in May. Life Long Learning Keeper, Donna Beyer, also presented the story to the Knowledge Council at that time via virtual meeting. We hope to obtain some more feedback on the booklets and the storybook. LLL has approached a few organizations that may be interested in partnering to publish the booklets and the storybook, but no confirmation to date. FNT2T is currently working on its own graphic design for the material. It is quite beautiful (storybook copy in image with Jenny is not designed version). It is an important start.

FNT2T Life Long Learning is grateful to Jenny for taking the time to read and review Binenshii. Miigwech Jenn!

Renew and revitalize.

Submitted By: Donna Beyer, LLL Keeper

Last modified: January 14, 2021

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