See “What is a Treaty” on pages 4 and 5 in the We Are All Treaty People issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.
A Treaty is much more than a piece of paper with words on it – that’s why we talk about making Treaties, rather than just signing them. A Treaty includes all the spoken words the First Nations and government people used to make promises. These words were about the land, how it would be shared and for what purposes. The Treaty was then sealed through a pipe ceremony which invited the Creator to witness the promises.
Explore the idea of historical perspective with the students. Taking a historical perspective means understanding the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past.
Give students cue cards with either First Nation or Crown written on the front; one card per student (half the class should have one, half the other). On the opposite side of the card, instruct them to print single words or sketch the perspectives held by that group regarding Treaty-making and the Treaty relationship.
More classroom activities
Design a classroom Treaty with your students and use it throughout the year as the typical “class rules.”
Explore several places and occasions that mark the importance of Treaties and stories about the historic Treaty relationship between First Nations people and the Crown.
Students will explore historical significance as the process used by historians to evaluate what was important about particular events, people, and developments in the past.
Focus on the importance of wampum belts for ceremonial and diplomatic purposes, as well as to mark agreements such as Treaties and covenants.
Explain and expand upon the concept of unceded land.
Explore the meaning and the significance of the phrase “We are all Treaty People.”
Explore the symbolism in the Treaty medal.
Have students create an invitation to an event celebrating Treaty Day.