Mapping a Brighter Future: Students Learn About Responsibilities to Land and Treaties 

In 2016, the Ontario government passed Bill 207, declaring the first full week in November as Treaties Recognition Week. This legislation was introduced in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, specifically Call to Action 10 which is about respecting and honouring Treaty relationships. This annual event recognizes the importance of treaties and helps students and staff learn more about treaty rights and relationships.

In classrooms and schools across our Board, many learning activities occurred to deepen student understanding about treaties and treaty relationships. Grade 10 students attended assemblies at each of the secondary schools where Indigenous leaders from our local Treaty area shared their knowledge, understanding, and experiences related to treating making and the Land in this territory where we live, work, and learn. In addition, 14 groups of Grade 5 students from 11 schools participated in an engaging experiential learning activity using the Canadian Geographic Indigenous Peoples Atlas floor map. Students had the opportunity to explore treaties in Ontario and across Canada through hands on learning on the 950 square foot floor map.

Jasmine Sgambelluri, the First Nation, Métis, and Inuit education resource teacher at Lakehead Public Schools, coordinated and facilitated the activity with members of the Program department. She shared, “It is important for all students across Canada to recognize the importance of treaties and to understand the shared history of our country. This provides the foundational understanding necessary for us as treaty people to move forward in our relationships in a way that promotes peaceful coexistence, mutual respect, and mutual benefit.” At the end of the treaties mapping activity, students reflected on what it means to be a treaty person and were encouraged to share their new learning with their families.

Families and members of our school communities are invited to learn more about treaties through some of the following resources available online.