On August 31 WRSD hosted a professional learning day for all staff focused on the history of treaties and their connection to truth and reconciliation. All of the speakers were from Treaty 6 Territory.
- Elder Wilson Bearhead began the day by helping us understand what land ownership looked like for First Nations people prior to the treaties and the strong connection Indigenous people have with the land.
- Sharon Venne taught us about the history of how treaties came into being. She also talked about the definition of the treaties as understood by the First Nations People compared to the definition of the treaties as understood by Europeans and how the treaties were based on a relationship of friendship and trust.
- Dennis Paul spoke about how land was distributed after the treaties and how this impacted Indigenous peoples.
- Last, Chief Tony Alexis shared details of what it is like in the present day for First Nations people as a result of the treaties. He also shared a message of perseverance and hope, explaining how his community has leveraged education in order to take full advantage of the kind of life the treaties originally promised to Indigenous peoples.
Each of the speakers gave us difficult truths to think about, but did so with humour and
grace. We were reminded that learning leads to humility and that our voice is our greatest gift. As a school division we want to use our collective voice to advance the cause of truth and reconciliation in our schools and in our communities.