Residential schools are a part of Canada’s past that many people have denied or do not want to believe. However, it is important to own up to the mistakes in order to help the healing and reconciliation for the Aboriginal peoples that attended residential schools. In my personal opinion educators are currently not doing enough to teach students multiple perspectives as well as teaching about treaties and First Nations content. I argue, it is not that many teachers do not want to teach about treaties and residential schools, I believe that teachers often do not know the right way to come about these issues and teach them in their classroom. I believe a starting point for teachers to introduce First Nations, Inuit and Metis perspectives into the classroom is to introduce First Nations, Inuit or Metis content.
It is important to keep in mind that many of the schooling experiences that our students have can rely on outside sources. If parents, grandparents, or other family members have had a poor educational experience they can pass down the same mindset. I believe that it is important that you recognize these various experiences as educators because it can guide your teaching.
I believe that teaching about treaties, and topics such as residential schools is a starting point to help create anti-oppressive communities. We must be teaching our students respect and empathy towards others, as well as how to be active citizens in our communities to help act against social issues that we are facing in our communities. Many students will come to school ill-informed about many of the social issues that our communities are facing. As educators it is important to not point fingers and say what you have learned about race, poverty, is wrong but you must teach for a broader understanding. Schools do not teach for the broader understanding. However, I think this is going to change. Saskatchewan has mandated that treaty education be taught in every subject area K-12. More and more resources are being created and an openness and safe spaces are becoming available for people to talk freely about what they believe about race and treaties. As educators I think that it is important that we create these safe spaces for students to talk about race safely. I believe it is not beneficial to blatantly call out students racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. because of the fact that many of the students don’t know better, this is what the media, friends, family have told them. It is our job as educators to lead them into the direction of becoming educated on these issues.