Treaty 4 Project, Here I Come

Posted on October 23, 2015. Filed under: Anti Oppressive Ed, Eci832, eci832finalproject, educational, First Nations | Tags: |

This project of mine has been in the works for months now.  Every week after school, a colleague and I run this free PD session called Appy Hour (#rbeappyhour) at W.S. Hawrylak.  Each week someone brings an app/ website or another tech tool to share. It’s kind of like a mini Edcamp every week. Sometime last year I shared this app called ARIS. It’s a GPS enabled app that uses your location to give you updates and information when you get to the right spot. Watch this little video to see it in action.

I was inspired, and I wanted to create an ARIS experience/game. At first, I was thinking about making some literature/book characters come alive, but nothing inspired me enough to start. Until…

This summer’s anti-oppressive ed course. It was here that I really had my eyes opened to the oppression and systematic racism that I am a part of.  I read parts of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation’s Call to Action and I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to make an ARIS game/experience that allowed participants to re-live the signing of Treaty 4.

I had visited Amsterdam when I was in Europe, and I got the chance to see the Anne Frank House. The story of Anne Frank came alive as you travelled through her house.

It was a very moving and engaging experience, and I wanted to create the “Anne Frank House” of Saskatchewan. I wanted people to be able to experience and really engage with the racism and oppression that existed at the signing of Treaty 4, and is still prevalent today.  This is the proposal video I made talking about my ideas for this project.

Fortunately, I have been challenged by people who have my best interest at heart on the idea of me being the “white knight.”  Is it really my place to swoop in and try to create an experience that liberates First Nation’s people’s history? Am I really any farther along if I, like Dr. Duncan Campbell Scott, am just trying to “get rid of the Indian problem?” What is my end goal here? Did I read the TRC and then decide that I am going to “solve this racism issue”? In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Friere suggests that it’s not the dominant group that can “free” the oppressed. It is actually the oppressed group themselves that have to free the dominant group AND themselves.

As I have been working on this project, it is very clear that my role needs to be as an ally. I need to come alongside other First Nations people who are working towards the same goal. I need to bring my gifts and talents to the table and see where they can be used to support the work of anti-oppressive education.

Today I started by learning the technology behind the ARIS app. The ARIS Global Jam (#arisjam) is happening today and tomorrow around the globe. (October 23/24, 2015) People from all over the world are putting together games and experiences using this app.  Some people I have interacted with today are creating virtual tours of schools/museums.  Others are making GPS enabled experiences at cemeteries to learn about the different famous people who have died and are buried there.  I was even shown some games that are similar to mine in that they are working towards anti-oppressive education. One game allows participants to experience life as a refugee, and another is an American Indian language revitalization project.

All of these projects take a lot of work and a lot of behind the scenes programming.

First I spent all morning following ARIS’s step by step demo guide.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.24.21 PM

It is here where I became familiar with how to add objects, start conversations, and provide choice within the app. The ARIS developers provided blue instructions if you just wanted to copy their demo game, and orange instructions if you wanted to start developing your own.

The hardest part about this was getting familiar with the language. I would often have to read a direction three times to really understand what it was asking me to do.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 3.26.27 PM

The next problem I faced was at the end of the demo instructions.  It technically only showed me how to do three things: 1) start a conversation, 2) pick up an item 3) add a little bit of media.  Once I had done those things, I had to decide where I was going.  I don’t plan on telling the story of signing Treaty 4 myself. I am going to consult with aboriginal advocates, elders, and other key players whose voices need to be heard through this.  My only problem is that until I have this future script, I am guessing on the framework of the game.

I have decided that I am going to keep it simple by having the tech specs ready for whatever my Aboriginal allies decide. Perhaps we need to focus on the side conversations and way of living the First People’s were experiencing in 1874.  Maybe we look at the pipe ceremony or the treaty medals as “items” within the app.  Maybe the focus will not be on the “signing” of the treaty, but the promise and spiritual significance the chief’s word held.

As I progress, I am going to create flexible spaces within the app that can be adapted and added to as necessary. My fingers are crossed that this will continue to be a successful, eye-opening journey for myself and all the others involved in the creation and participation of this experience!

Photo 2015-10-23, 9 54 30 AM

This was one of the fill-in pictures I used today because I didn’t have a picture of my game’s character yet!

TRC Poster Project pdf < My full proposal from this summer if you are interested in some “light” reading.

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2 Responses to “Treaty 4 Project, Here I Come”

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[…] story telling, and information gathering before there is a finished product.  Up until now, I have mainly worked on the tech side of the project.  I have been wanting and waiting to get in contact with some aboriginal advocates/liasons before I […]

[…] It was definitely the hardest thing I have ever worked on with a computer.  After the first day, I blogged about the experience.  I wasn’t able to put in any of the actual script because I hadn’t yet met with any […]

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