Treaty Education

Children’s books about Mi’kmaq history being released next week

All ages need different tools to learn

Learning about the history of treaties isn’t just for people old enough to count to 267: the number of years since the Peace and Friendship Treaty was signed in Halifax.

Nova Scotia is publishing a series of children’s books, complete with colourful illustrations, to help younger generations understand Indigenous history.

The same tools used for high school students wouldn’t teach children who “still count everything by how many sleeps there is,” Jaime Battiste, the Nova Scotia Treaty Education Lead said during a workshop for the First Nation Directors of Education National Forum on Wednesday in Halifax.

The forum takes place in a different Canadian location each year, with the goal of improving education regarding Indigenous people.

During a treaty education workshop, speakers from British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia explained how their provinces are working to educate youth about treaties.

Nova Scotia is newer to developing treaty education, compared to the other three provinces. Battiste, who was involved in Nova Scotia’s program development, worked with treaty commissioners from the other provinces but structured Nova Scotia’s approach differently.

Battiste said an important thing for Nova Scotia is to incorporate treaty education into the existing curriculum, instead of making it a separate course. In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, the material is designed for separate courses.

During the workshop, Battiste showed participants some of the books the provincial government plans on putting in every school across the province. The province is distributing them to reserve schools first, starting next week.

The book explaining the Honour Song.   Laura Hardy

The books range in topics from profiling the grand chiefs who helped settlers survive, to explaining the Honour Song, to describing what treaties are; like the 1752 Peace and Friendship Treaty signed in Halifax by Chief Jean Baptiste Cope.

Lisa Sappier, from Woodstock First Nation New Brunswick, is the director of a preschool and daycare in her area. After attending the previous day of the conference, which was focused on treaty education, she said she wanted to learn more.

“We don’t have that in New Brunswick yet,” said Sappier.  “We’re not there.”

She said hearing from the West Coast commissioners helps East Coast leaders figure out what needs to be done in the Maritimes.

The Saskatchewan Office of the Treaty Commissioner began in 1989. Nova Scotia’s treaty education officially began in 2015, when Premier Stephen McNeil, Chief Leroy Denny and Chief Robert Gloade signed a memorandum of understanding on treaty education.

8 comments

  1. As a Mi’kmaq educator, I would love to have a few sets of these for the public schools I teach in. My address is 8 Morice Dr. Sackville NB E4L3A1, How can I make this happen

  2. Well done folks. A welcome addition to any classroom or library. I look forward to reading and sharing these informational books.

  3. This would be a wonderful way to learn about my Native heritage. Can I purchase the books to be sent to the UK? Please can you contact me if possible. Well done it is vital that the younger generation learn this before it is lost.

  4. What a wonderful way to educate people on our treaties. I would like to order a few sets for my school.How do I order them? I’ll wait on your reply to this message.

    1. I spend time giving teachings to preschool children. I love stories. We usually get to make rattles, sing an aboriginal song, I retell a legend using stuf animals, do a dance and fingerprint a drum occasionally to give the group, sample fry bread, read a book, I have slowly built a little library. These books would be a welcome addition.

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