Indigenous Education

Celebrating the anniversary of Treaty No 1.

August 3, 2022

Today is the 151st anniversary of Treaty No 1, the original lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, a place many of us call home, including a majority of our Campuses.

Treaties were signed between Indigenous peoples and settlers based on principals of friendship, peace, and mutual thriving. They acknowledge inherit Indigenous rights to land, resources, and economy, and they remain in place “as long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the rivers flow.”

As we know, in the past, Treaties were not honoured and great harms were brought upon Indigenous communities through policies and structures of assimilation and genocide; the lasting impacts still effecting Indigenous peoples today.

Treaty relationships did not grow and evolve with society, and that’s why it’s so important that concerted efforts are made to strengthen these relationships and define how we approach being in a Treaty relationship in the present and into the future.

Last year, RRC Polytech partnered with The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce and the Indigenous Chamber of Commerce to extend the 4 Seasons of Reconciliation Education e-modular training program to the business community to support reconciliation efforts in Treaty 1 in honour of the 150th anniversary. We also held a virtual event for Indigenous students to learn and connect with Chamber business leaders. 

While institutions, government, and industry strive towards stronger and more equitable Treaty relationships, there’s many things we can do as individuals and groups to support our community towards reconciliation and greater understanding.

The College has made a public commitment towards advancing truth and reconciliation within its 2022-2026 strategic plan In Front of What’s Ahead. This includes addressing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action to advance Indigenous education in Manitoba, while also reflecting on the harms of the past, working to reconcile a broken trust in our education system and supporting the key role Indigenous peoples must play for our province to realize its fullest potential.

There are many ways to create action and movement towards reconciliation with the first being education and creating an open space for dialogue and inclusion.

A wonderful example is the initiative Paul Bourget, lead instructor in the Educational Assistant Certificate Program, took with the Origami Project with guidance from Elders. He connected the significance of the Japanese tradition of “Senba Zuru” and Indigenous teachings to his course content. The many layers of this project integrated creating 1,000 Origami cranes with students, the teachings of the Medicine Wheel, a traditional pipe ceremony and feast, and classroom assignments. One of the main takeaways for students is cultural safety as they work to enter the school system. You can watch the video on his project here.

Resources to learn about Treaties:

Stay tuned for the fourth annual RRC Polytech Truth and Reconciliation Week held during the last week of September.