Approximately 180 classes in Near North District School Board (NNDSB) had the opportunity to listen to Knowledge Keeper Maurice Switzer on Wednesday, November 4. The presentations were to mark Treaties Recognition Week, which was introduced in 2016 by the Ontario Government, and runs during the first week of November.
In the morning, elementary students listened intently as Switzer read his book Grandpa… What is a Treaty Anyway? Students had the opportunity to ask questions afterward. The book, (a 2018 NNDSB project) which was authored by Switzer and illustrated by Jack Smallboy, features Phoenix and Migizi (the Ojibwe word for eagle) Eagle, and tells the story about how a treaty is a promise.
Further, it demonstrates how students can apply treaty learning to their lives. Additionally, Switzer used the book to explain that we are all treaty people.
In the afternoon, Switzer presented to secondary students about treaties followed by an opportunity to ask questions. Students asked questions about the significance of the wampum belt and how Switzer related treaties to current issues such as fisheries on the East Coast.
Students continue to learn through classroom and experiential learning opportunities about Indigenous teachings, and the relationship between Indigenous People and Canada.