Treaty 4 Project: Moving From Tech Specs to Story Starters

Posted on November 15, 2015. Filed under: Anti Oppressive Ed, Eci832, eci832finalproject, educational, Privilege, Race, teaching and learning |

My final project is definitely a long work in progress. It is going to take layers of coding, 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 started the story component. This week I was able to meet with Regina Public School’s divisions aboriginal advocate, Sarah Longman.

For those of you who don’t know, I will give you a quick review of my plan for my final project.

  1. I would like to use a GPS enabled app called ARIS to recreate the signing of Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan.
  2. I will need to set up the web based code that allows participants to use a mobile phone for the video/game experience.
  3. I want to connect with First Nation’s allies and stake holders for the story part of the ARIS experience.
  4. I want this GPS re-enactment of Treaty 4 to be Saskatchewan’s equivalent to the Anne Frank House of Amsterdam.

At my introductory meeting, I basically explained my vision to Sarah Longman for this project. She was very interested, and she said she was definitely willing to help. She helped guide me with some future steps as I continue with this project. She also offered some of her own thoughts and wishes. I will discuss some of the things we talked about in our meeting:

  • Thomas Moore– Sarah would love to see an inquiry project into Thomas Moore and his story.  Below you can see Thomas Moore’s before and after pictures from the Regina Indian Industrial Residential School. Sarah was explaining to me some of the spiritual/cultural meanings behind the clothing and hairstyles Thomas Moore wore in the before picture. For example, his hair was in long braids.  In traditional First Nation’s culture, people only cut their hair if someone close to them passed away. The closer the person was to you, the more hair you cut off.  As you can see, Thomas Moore’s hair had been completely cut off. Without him speaking English, he would have had no understanding of why his hair was being cut. He most likely would have thought that his parents and family had been killed.  Thomas’s story and death is somewhat of a mystery, and Sarah would love to see an inquiry project into his life.  I’m not sure if Thomas Moore will fit into my project, but her explanation did cause me to contemplate incorporating Thomas Moore into the ARIS experience as one of the characters.
Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 9.20.01 PM

Photo credit: Great Lakes Environmental Justice

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Photo credit: Great Lakes Environmental Justice

  • Tamara Ryba– Tamara is a teacher at Scott Collegiate.  I met her this summer through my anti-oppressive education class in July. Sarah suggested that I might be able to connect with some of the supports and teachers within the division.  In fact, Sarah thought that I might even be able to have some high school students (aboriginal and non-aboriginal) do some research about the signing of treaty 4. I have reached out to Tamara and will be meeting with her this week to discuss how her students might be able to help with this project. I will need help deciding who or what story to tell throughout the Treaty 4 re-enactment. Though I have done my own research on the signing of Treaty 4, my plan is to suggest that her students help create a timeline for my ARIS game.
  • Noel Starblanket, Alma Poitras, and possibly some other elders will help guide and direct my project.  It is extremely important that I am seeking the advice and council of Aboriginal elders throughout this process.  Sarah said that she can help me learn how to offer tobacco to some of the elders as I ask for their help and wisdom. There were Aboriginal ceremonies and rituals surrounding the signing of Treaty 4, and if I want to create an accurate representation/experience of history and honour the narrative of the people present, I will need to include the spiritual understanding that accompanied these ceremonies.
    20364534362_3fa0eefea8_o

    Pipe ceremony Photo Credit: Provincial Archives of Alberta

    I also have to be hyper aware of my own place as a white female settler in this way. These ceremonies were and ARE symbolic, and I don’t want to downplay or showcase a ceremony that is meant to be experienced, not exhibited.

  • Residential Schools– Sarah and I discussed how residential schools might fit into this project or if they even do.  My Master’s project supervisor, Michael Cappello has suggested that I might want to consider doing a second, 2.0 ARIS experience that is around residential schools. I’m struggling through how much story I can fit into this mobile experience.  What is going to be the right amount of story that will carry participants through the history of Treaty 4 while not loading them down with vast amounts of information?! One of my main goals for this project was to keep it light on text, and accessible to grade ones, EAL students and tourists. If that is the case, where will I have to sacrifice information for engagement?
  • Next steps- Sarah said she would help me out by contacting some of the people I will need to meet with.  I will have to wait until she can set up a time for me to meet with the elders and teachers. During this time, I will continue digging in to find “the story” behind the signing of Treaty 4. My next step is really nailing down some of the misconceptions around the Treaty 4, and finding ways to overcome those through the ARIS story.
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3 Responses to “Treaty 4 Project: Moving From Tech Specs to Story Starters”

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This is amazing! I can’t wait to see your final project. I hope you can get those additional stories in because that is what the students will remember. My students don’t always remember the facts, but they do remember the stories. Please send us the link when you are done. I can’t wait to try it out with my FN DHH students.

[…] Met with Regina Public School’s aboriginal consultant, Sarah Longman.  She dropped names of people and resources that I had never heard about. Meeting […]

This is super interesting, Danielle! I am completely unfamiliar with ARIS so I don’t really have a picture in my mind about what you are creating… so I’ll wait in suspense! I think taking my Masters degree has helped me truly value the learning process over my final products, or at least I have a healthier balance of the two! I’m guessing that this project will be rich, very rich, in terms of how it shapes you through the process, and I can already see evidence of that in your most recent post.


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