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Students get Treaty Smarts

By Derrick Kunz

06/29/2016

SASKATOON — Through a partnership with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) and funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s Treaty Smarts program, students at Bishop Klein School have been learning about treaties in Saskatchewan.

“Treaty education should be integrated across the curriculum,” said Gordon Martell, superintendent of learning at Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS). “We really need more teaching tools to make the abstract concepts more accessible, especially for young students. We need to talk about treaties in a way that students can relate to from their own experiences.”

Through the partnership, culturally responsive online literacy resources were developed. Teachers now have resources to help students relate to treaties in a personal way. Teacher Elaine Sutherland, Métis artist and author Leah Dorian, and Frist Nations storyteller Lyndon Linklater worked with the students to create a mural that was revealed June 14.

“We need to improve student knowledge of our First Nations and Métis people and how important treaties are to everyone in our province,” said Treaty Commissioner George Lafond. “I’m really proud of the work done with Bishop Klein students. Now we have a resource that can be used throughout the school division, and maybe one day throughout the province.”

The Office of the Treaty Commissioner, an independent body, serves as the primary mechanism to co-ordinate and facilitate a bilateral process between the Government of Canada and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations to achieve a common understanding on Treaties No. 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10.

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