Bluewater District Students Involved In Treaties Recognition Week

An art poster from East Ridge Community School in Owen Sound depicting the Seven Grandfather Teachings. (photo submitted)

This is Treaties Recognition Week across the province, and the Bluewater District School Board continues to honour its commitment to the history and culture of Indigenous peoples.

Schools are joining other Ontarians in promoting public education and awareness about treaties, and treaty relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents.

Bluewater schools are demonstrating their support across various grade levels through curriculum-related learning activities that focus on the history of treaties.

Some examples include:

Guest speakers are visiting G.C. Huston Public School in Southampton, Saugeen District Secondary School in Port Elgin, and Peninsula Shores District School in Wiarton to share presentations with students that broaden treaties awareness while depicting some of the untold stories of Canada’s past and present.

Saugeen District is also planning a school wide art-based treaty activity for all students to take part in, while an art exhibit is being coordinated at Northport Elementary School.

Macphail Memorial Elementary School in Flesherton is introducing students to the Seven Grandfather Teachings by focusing on one each day. Morning announcements are being used to instruct about the importance of the various teachings, how each is portrayed by an animal, and honouring their interconnectedness.

Each student is painting a “value rock” that recognizes the Grandfather Teaching that is central to their way of life.

At Hillcrest Central School in Teeswater, the Remembrance Day assembly will focus on the roles that Indigenous peoples played in the two World Wars, including recognition of the special skill sets that they brought to the war effort.

Many classes from Keppel-Sarawak Elementary School in Owen Sound are learning about the sculptures in the Kelso Beach area, created by Virginia Gail Smith, in consultation with the Saugeen First Nation and Neyaashiinigmiing, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.

At Beavercrest Community School in Markdale, two Indigenous students are leading class presentations about treaties to explain what they are and how they failed to be actualized as they were presented to Indigenous peoples, as well as the importance of honouring the culture, beliefs, and values of others.

A full school celebration is also planned on the story and culture of Indigenous peoples through song, dance, and art works.

Bluewater District School Board Trustee Marg Gaviller stated, “Acknowledging the history of treaties and how these agreements continue today is a positive step in ensuring that this critically important subject matter is continually embedded in our teachings.”

Beyond Treaties Recognition Week, a number of Indigenous themed awareness initiatives are being planned in Bluewater.

Saugeen District Secondary School will host learning activities for staff during the November 24 Professional Activity Day that focus on cultural competency, and implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.