Treaty medal installation affirms school’s commitment to Treaty education
- Andrea Ledding | March 18, 2019
St. Michael’s School has installed a Treaty Medal plaque to affirm their commitment to teaching and respecting the treaties. Many dignitaries and community members joined in the Grand Entry and brought their greetings to the school community, while Elder Lawrence Eyahpaise brought his prayers and guidance.
“This is knowledge now that we can take out and share with our neighbours, our friends, in our community, and as we continue to grow older, in our province and our country. It’s not too small a thing or too big a thing to think that you can take this out to the rest of the world,” said Principal Mike Thorson. “It’s about the treaties, and today we have a special celebration to celebrate our treaty knowledge, and what we have done and what we continue to do.”
Thorson mentioned the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and noted that installing the Treaty Medal on Ash Wednesday was a sign of reconciliation, a time of repentance, forgiveness, understanding, and of looking inwards and seeing what can be done better, tied into reconciliation and the Treaties.
City of Saskatoon Police Chief Troy Cooper said the treaty is very simple when you look at the most important parts.
“The treaty was an agreement about how we were going to share this space, this land, an agreement between First Nations people and the people who came after them. It was about the relationship between those two groups of each other and how we were going to treat each other with respect and understanding, how we were going to live together.”
Cooper added if people treat each other with respect, it’s going to be a healthier and safer place to live, a vision which the police support.
“When I see St. Michael’s celebrating and honouring the Treaty 6 Medal, it’s a medal that’s inclusive of all of us,” said Shirley Isbister, president of CUMFI (Central Urban Metis Federation Inc.). “We’re all treaty people, it doesn’t matter what culture you come from you need to have pride in that culture. It’s important to be proud of who you are, we’re going to stop racism this way and just honour each other’s cultures.”
Isbister said that all the treaties will help us honour all the children and those yet to come, and all the old people as well.
Other dignitaries who spoke included Diane Boyko of the Greater Saskatoon Separate School Board, Councillor Darren Hill from the city, local MLA and provincial NDP leader Ryan Meili, and MP Sheri Benning. Each grade presented a brief summary of what they’d learned about treaties — that they are forever, and that they are about right relationship — and the afternoon ended with Métis dancing and fiddle music provided by the students.