So for this week’s blog post, I have decided to reflect on my experience in Fort Qu’Appelle this past weekend.
The day did not start out so well, as the weather was quite nasty and I was not looking forward to the drive out. In all honesty, I thought the trip was going to be cancelled when I woke up in the morning. But we were able to get out to Fort Qu’Appelle, and while it was a slower than usual drive out we safely made it and were able to start the day.
My group ended up starting with the Treaty Walk through Fort Qu’Appelle. This was a very cool experience and one that I was really able to see the benefit of. It would have been nice to have been able to finish the walk, but unfortunately, we ran out of time. The weather also put a slight damper on the walk,. but we live in Saskatchewan so we should be getting used to it by now. What I found to be really unique about this walk were the different perspectives that were involved. At the Treaty Four monument, it said that the First Nation Peoples ceded their land to the Crown, which was clearly not the case or their intention. It was good to have the script to follow along and provide good questions for dialogue.
After that, our group went to the Fort Qu’Appelle museum. I was really unsure about this whole experience. While I did enjoy being there, I wasn’t really sure of the connection to the rest of the day. I was able to have a nice conversation with one of the curators about D-Day and World War 2 in general, which I thoroughly enjoyed. During this time we were largely left alone, and it felt like a time filler to me. There was some mention of Treaties in the museum, but it was largely just a collection of historical artefacts.
After lunch, we headed out to Lebret and visited the site of the old residential school. For me, this was the most moving part of the day. We were able to hear a residential school survivor tell his story. He had a number of really important messages throughout his talk and he was able to mix in humour as well as talk about some really serious issues. He was definitely someone that I would like to listen to speak again. He discussed how important it is that we stop picking sides in the path to reconciliation. His children and my children need to be able to work together, so it’s important that we as adults are able to work together. Following his speech, we were able to make an offering of tobacco in a fire. This is a form of prayer or meditation and he explained the significance of offering tobacco when we do so. I also noticed and really liked the idea of how he had us all stand in a circle around him to show that we are all equals, and no one person is more important than the other.
To continue on with the theme of circles and everyone being equal we went to the Treaty Four Governance Centre after Lebret. Once there we went into the meeting room. This was a very cool setup in which the room was a circle and there was no clear head of the table. It symbolized that each and every person in the room was equal to the person beside them. Being someone who really enjoys governance and meetings I found it to be a very cool setup. I was comparing it to some of the meetings at the University where there is a very clear hirecrchy and where you sit directlycorrelatess to your involvement in the meeting. We were able to have a nice conversation as a group at this time, and reflect on our day. It was interesting to hear all of the different perspectives of my peers and how the experince was similair and yet at the same time different.
So that is a wrap of my day in Fort Qu’Appelle. I think this is a really unique experience and one that I would like to continue to build upon and reflect as I move forward in my teaching career.