Treaty 4 Final Project

Posted on December 13, 2015. Filed under: Anti Oppressive Ed, cultural, Eci832, eci832finalproject, educational, First Nations, Masters, Privilege, Race, Technology |

For my Ec&I832 final project, the goal was to work on the tech part of my Master’s project.  This summer, I came up with an idea to incorporate some of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action.

As the project developed in my mind, I realized this was going to be huge.  I applied to change my Master’s program from course route to project route for this very reason.  The change was accepted, and I started my journey with this project.

When I entered Alec and Katia’s EC&I 832 class, I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to work on the tech component of this project.  I was going to be developing a GPS enabled Treaty 4 experience using the ARIS app.  The app allows participants to physically travel around a space and interact with characters, videos, websites and history using augmented reality. This University of Wisconsin developed app was going to be a large learning curve for me.  It had a lot of coding involved, and I was going to have to learn step by step how to incorporate my content into their app’s infrastructure. Luckily for me, there was an ARIS Global Jam happening on October 23 and 24.

aris global jam

Photo credit: Aris Games

The Global Jam was a full two day experience where people from all over the world came together online to develop their own ARIS game/experience.  I got permission from my school’s admin to take part on the Friday, so for the entire school day, I sat in my vice principal’s office and took part in the live stream.

Photo 2015-10-23, 9 54 30 AM

During the Friday and Saturday, I was able to talk to the app’s creators and ask questions while I developed my game.  I followed the ARIS app’s demo game structure and added each individual item.

Check out this video to see their demo game:

For example, to have a participant take part in a conversation within the game, I needed to create the characters involved in the conversation and a flow chart.  The flow chart allows the game’s participants to make a choice once they’ve taken part in a conversation. Multiply this by many conversations and characters, and my hours were flying by without, what I thought, was a whole lot to show for it.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 11.27.06 AM

Furthermore, I didn’t just have to create characters and conversations, but plaques, player attributes, items and web pages.

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 11.36.00 AM


Over those two days, I painstakingly created some of the tech skeleton for my project. 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 of the First Nation’s allies who were going to help guide the content for this project.

The next month I met with Sarah Longman and Tamara Ryba.  Sarah works at my school division’s board office as an aboriginal consultant, and Tamara Ryba teaches at Scott Collegiate.  During my meeting with Sarah Longman, I share my vision and hopes for the project.  She listened to my ideas and told me she would be willing to help.  We talked about some of Saskatchewan’s history, and we discussed how residential schools might fit.  We decided that she was going to introduce me to Noel Starblanket and Gramma Bear so I could request their assistance with this project as well. She agreed to bring tobacco and help me offer it in exchange for their wisdom and guidance.  She explained that when I offer them tobacco, I am also requesting their prayers for me in this way.


“Sweet grass” Photo credit: Daniel Fuller via Flickr

When I met with Tamara, we planned out how I could collaborate with her high school students on this project.  I wanted this project to be more than just me re-telling the story of Treaty 4.  I wanted other Aboriginal and non Aboriginal students to be a part of creating this experience.  We decided that they were going to help with some of the language research.  Specifically, they were going to find some words that would be considered the “artifacts” or items to be picked up within the game.

Originally, I thought we could use some Aboriginal artifacts like tipis, buffalo skin, or arrow heads as items within the game, as the app allows you to “pick things up” and keep them in a game inventory.


Photo credit: Richard Elzey via Flickr

Tamara challenged that idea, (rightly so) and showed me how ARIS’s game structure in itself is very Euro-centric; the idea of collecting items and keeping them is not in step with First Nations beliefs.  Instead, we decided that participants will collect a Cree, Lakota or Saulteaux word every time they enter a new conversation or quest within the game. By the end of the game experience, they will have a “bank” of new words that they have learned. This felt like a much better way to honour First Nations history and language.

Sarah Longman had set up a meeting with Noel Starblanket and Gramma Bear in late November, but unfortunately due to illness, this meeting was cancelled and will be rescheduled for the new year. I am looking forward to sharing my project ideas with them and hearing their ideas of what “story” needs to be told through this.

To sum up, these are the things I have worked on for my Masters project during the  EC&I832 class.

*I’ve researched the history of the signing of Treaty 4. I read many government documents, OTC documents and re-tellings of what happened in 1874.

*Using the OTC’s resources, and other timelines, I made an online timeline of the treaty relationship in Canada. Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 7.43.17 PM

*I took part in the two day ARIS Global Jam on October 23rd and 24th where I created the game’s code skeleton.

*I met with Sarah Longman to discuss how Regina Public Schools could support and guide this project.

*I met with Tamara Ryba to discuss how she can incorporate this project into her student’s ELA curriculum. We co-planned her unit so that her students can take part in the research of Treaty 4 and the incorporation of Cree and Lakota words for the game’s word bank.

*I developed a theoretical plan to debunk some main misconceptions surrounding treaties and First Nations people.

*I made a presentation that allows me to quickly show and explain my project.  This will help others grasp what I am trying to do and help my explain to them how they can come alongside to help.Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 7.44.28 PM

Things I still need to do:

*Meet with key elders and Aboriginal allies to discuss what part of the signing of Treaty 4 needs to be told.

*Meet with another group of high school students from Campbell Collegiate. Sarah has some students in mind that she would like to see be a part of this project.  They will most likely be researching Treaty 4 history and finding Saluteaux words for the word bank.

*Using the research and following the guidance of the elders, I will create a story board and script that tells the story of Treaty 4 in an easy, concise way. The story/ game should be able to engage people of all ages including primary students, high school students, EAL learners and tourists.

*Get permission/ work alongside the First Nations University to use their land for the GPS coordinates and the “home base” of this project.

Thanks for following along this semester. Please let me know if you are interested in being a part of this project in any way, shape or form. My hope is that in a year from now, this project will be complete!

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9 Responses to “Treaty 4 Final Project”

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You’ve definitely accomplished a lot!! How long do you have going to project route to complete? Can’t wait to see the final product!

I am so excited for you Danielle!! You have completed a lot of valuable work in your Master’s project so far. It is exciting that an educator is creating fantastic work for students to learn and understand about Treaty Education. I hope you keep blogging about your project because I would love to continue to follow your journey!

Awesome work Danielle! I can’t wait to see/read all about your final project. This will be an amazing piece of work when you are finished.

[…] creating a resource dedicated to the accurate re-telling of Aboriginal stories. Specifically I am looking at re-telling the story of Treaty 4 from an Aboriginal perspective. The treaty ed resources I have come across during my 6 years of teaching sometimes lack critical […]

[…] I can take out of chapter 2 into my own Treaty 4 Reconciliation project is the value of story telling.  One of the main reasons I chose to re-tell the Treaty 4 story […]

[…] I was again reminded of how desperately we need people like Susan Dion who are trying to educate and reverse this racism wherever possible. She inspires me as I go about preparing for my own Treaty 4 project. […]

[…] really is this hope and passion that has spurred me on to take up this Treaty 4 Reconciliation Project. I think a lot of understanding can come when education around our Canadian history can be taught […]

[…] Cappello challenge me right from the beginning on being the “White Knight” with this Treaty 4 Reconciliation project. That said, I am becoming increasingly more aware of how Euro-centric understandings and approaches […]

[…] to admit how easily I am wrapped up in a colonial way of thinking. As I have been working on this Treaty 4 Reconciliation project,  I actually thought I was taking the initiative and really helping to decolonize our world in the […]

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