Week 2: Curriculum and Connection to the Land

We Are All Treaty People

Cynthia Chamber’s article, “We Are All Treaty People”: The Contemporary Countenance of Canadian Curriculum Studies explores her family’s connection to the land, impact on the land, and the perpetuation of colonialism.  The past semester, I took a class on culturally relevant pedagogy that really focused on the importance of the issue of land rights, and treaty rights.  One of the questions that were asked was to situate ourselves and to think deeply about how we are connected to the land.

I listened to Jerome Cranston deliver an online lecture regarding systemic racism in education my last semester.  He shared something that stays with me, “There is a need to discuss the importance of developing a sense of one’s own identities to understand what it means to be white and how whiteness has been privileged”. I grew up on Treaty 4 land my entire life.  Currently working in Estevan, and living in a small rural town in Saskatchewan. In my summers I enjoy existing on the land and exploring the land. I began to question, how have I benefitted at the expense of Indigenous peoples through my violence of the land, and though the violation of Treaty rights. This is still something I am continuing to work through. My family was an oil family.  My father worked in the oil field and made a living that allowed my mother to work part-time and stay at home to take care of my brother and me. My grandfather on my mother’s side was an elevator agent, and my grandfather on my father’s side was a farmer.  I have benefitted from the exploitation of the land and through a system of meritocracy that has ultimately resulted in much of the success and experiences I have had today.  I am just starting to learn more of the history of my family to truly understand the relationships with the land and how I can continue to educate myself on how to become a better Treaty Partner.

“I do not want to take for granted my treaty rights and my treaty responsibilities; and I do not want this for my children, or my grandchildren either. I do not want to take for granted this opportunities I have been given to live differently than my ancestors”

– Cynthia Chambers

What is Curriculum Theory?

William Pinar’s What is Curriculum Theory provides an understanding to those in education learning exactly that Curriculum Theory. Pinar defines curriculum theory as, “the scholarly effort to understand curriculum”.  Furthermore, curriculum theory “provides emphasis on what is one teaches, rather than on the how“. Of course the how is important, however, Pinar explains the importance of the need to move away from practices that such as standardized tests and measurements that lead to the lack of creation, critical thinking, and originality (all of which are 21st-century learning skills).

One key connection that I made between these two chapters is the importance of truth-telling. As Pinar states, “Curriculum theory speaks from actual individuals subjective experience of history and society”. Without the integration of our own experiences combined with others’ experiences, or alternative worldviews we exist in a world where systemic racism and colonialism thrive.  The curriculum needs to move from a system that focuses on the emphasis of outcomes to a system that promotes skill-building and experiences through social learning.


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