I am a white settler descendant. I am German and Polish. I am an able-bodied, cis gender woman. Regardless of any differences that I have compared to Indigenous peoples, I am in relation to the Indigenous community. I am a treaty partner. Cardinal and Hildebrandt (2002) explains the principles that are affirmed by treaties, which includes the commitment between parties to maintain relationships and peace. As a teacher, I have a responsibility to fulfill this principle. It is my responsibility to tell tâpwêwin about Canada's history to my students. As a settler wanting to become unsettled, I view my role as a treaty partner as working alongside Indigenous peoples in Canada (shown in visual diagram). This is how I view myself as a treaty partner. I also view myself as someone who does not have all the answers, as there are parts missing in my visual. It is also my responsibility to find answers and gain knowledge about Indigenous peoples and their languages, nations or membership to bands, ceremonies, worldviews, relationship with place and land. Weeks after this blog post and having done the Treaty Event, hosted by my colleagues and I, I agree with this explanation of what it means to be a treaty partner. After actively participating in the Treaty Event, I feel closer to identifying and encompassing what it means to be a treaty person. I contributed to working alongside Indigenous peoples in Canada (some whom attended the Treaty Event and critiqued my information, which was fabulous!); accepting that I do not know all that there is to know about treaties; and I gained knowledge about Indigenous peoples (specifically, Nakota peoples).
My idea of what it means to be a treaty person was further reinforced after writing this blog post as I came across a highlighted point from Vowel (2016); "A really powerful and beautiful start would be to simply learn the names in use, both historic and contemporary, for the Indigenous peoples in the area where you live” (p. 12). This supported the information I provided about the meaning behind the name, Nakota, and similar names to refer to the same group of people (ex. Assiniboine, Stone Sioux, Stoney, Nakota Sioux, etc.)
The Blanket Exercise allows me to further explore my miskâsowin in relation to Turtle Island and Indigenous history. I am here due to the historical story that the Blanket Exercise represents. It helps me towards tâpwêwin because every time I participate I learn something new or gain a new realization about this history. As an educator, it is our job to speak the truth and practice portraying multiple versions of this as well as help students to find their own truth, which may even be their own miskâsowin.
Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.sicc.sk.ca/culture_nahkawe.html