Aligned with Treaty Education Alliance’s mission of serving and supporting each of the member First Nations in advancing our Inherent and Treaty Rights to Education.
It is about learning from the land and understanding our connection to it. Understanding our connection will give life to what the land can teach us, how it communicates with us and how it looks after all life upon it. The land has a way to strengthen all things.
With a goal of developing Nation Builders through education, Treaty Education Alliance continues its development of a Learning the Land model based on a vision of an Indigenous education system based in Inherent and Treaty Rights.
Every culture, no matter their location, is connected to the environment. It is that connection where cultures teach their people how their traditional ways connect and respect all things in their environment. Indigenous cultures have lived off the land for centuries so traditional knowledge and connection is deeply rooted in the original relationships.
Earliest cultures have a traditional way to use land and what is upon it. The obvious being using the land to make things such as shelter and tools to aid in tasks for living off the land. Cultures have a traditional diet which includes immense knowledge of plants, animals and their properties. Traditional stories tell the generations about the connections, significance of symbolism that connect their culture to the land. By observing the land and how it speaks cultures have learned how to move with and respect
Local Indigenous cultures have a common belief that the earth is alive and that all things are related. The respect that the cultures teach us to show is essentially that spirit we give to all things. When we acknowledge it’s spirit, when we communicate to it and respect it, it becomes alive. The respect that we show to other things is embedded in the ways our cultural groups have been taught for generations.
Culture teaches us how to communicate with all things including the land. Before we can really see how a relationship with the land is fostered, we must understand culture in a way that is all encompassing of the knowledge and belief systems.
On these lands we live, treaties were signed between the Crown and the First Nation inhabitants of the land. Everyone benefits from the treaty relationship. Settlement rights were granted in exchange for specific treaty rights.
Some examples of what Treaty Rights were are:
Treaty rights are protected legislatively in section 88 of the Indian Act and constitutionally in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
(Brock Pitawanakwat, University of Saskatchewan Indigenous Saskatchewan Encyclopedia, 2019).
Inherent Rights (sometimes called Indigenous Rights) are different from Treaty Rights.
“There is a distinction between Indigenous and Treaty rights. Indigenous rights are those that stem from people’s prior occupation of the land and are considered to be inherent. Treaty rights, on the other hand, flow from the agreements made between the First Nations of Saskatchewan and the Crown” (Pitawanakwat, 2019)
Inherent rights are those bestowed upon the original inhabitants of the land by the Creator. They include such things language, traditional knowledge, culture, ceremonies, self-governance, land rights and traditions.
Inherent rights are distinct and separate from the rights of non-First Nation people and are protected under Section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights.
Through a process of inquiry-based learning, each student is given the opportunity to define themselves as Nation Builders.
Education is the key to walking on this journey of reconciliation. Teachers in particular have a sacred responsibility to ensure that all their children, regardless of their heritage, are able to think about four key questions throughout their education: “Where do I come from?”, “Where am I going?”, “Why am I here?”, and most importantly, “Who am I?”
– The Hon. Senator Murray Sinclair, Chair for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Developing a sense of self
Developing a sense of belonging
Developing a sense of purpose
Developing a plan