We Are All Treaty People
We are all Treaty People and have a part to play in truth and reconciliation. Students need to connect with nature and feel empowered that their actions, however big or small can make a difference.
Our goal was to connect students to nature by getting them outside and exploring our local ecosystem. We empowered students to become citizen scientists, connect to the natural world around them and understand that their actions can create positive change. Our guiding question in both our science and History curriculum was how has Colonization impacted Turtle Island. The work was grounded in Indigenous perspectives, and we brought in authentic voices from our Indigenous community and treaty partners. Our goal was to have students see themselves as “Treaty People”. Through this lense students investigated native species to the area, and learned about the impact invasive species have on our ecosystem.
Students planned the garden based on the results of our inquiry and new learning. They consulted with community partners for feedback on the design (e.g., Indigenous Elders, P.O.W.E.R. Halton (a local non-profit)). They removed the existing weeds, prepared the land and ultimately executed their plan by planting new plants, specifically focusing on native species and ones to support our local pollinators.
Students also designed and build structures (e.g., bird houses, bug hotels) to be placed within the garden area to help encourage biodiversity and improve the ecosystem.
The space that we created will now act as a teaching space for teachers wanting to explore indigenous perspectives, biodiversity, habitats, pollinators, native/invasive species with their classes. We are hoping to add a teaching circle to the space which will help position it as a teaching garden and meeting space. We began the whole project by engaging in ‘citizen science’ by doing a bioblitz, and then followed through with the garden to help encourage native species and pollinators, improving our local ecosystem. Through their participation in the project, our students walked away with the enduring understanding that their actions can have positive and negative impacts on the environment, and that they have an active part to play in truth and reconciliation as “Treaty People”. By taking action in this way, they were able to connect with nature, and feel empowered that their actions, however big or small can make a difference.
Reflection & Celebration
We had a community planting day with a local biodiversity group “Halton Power”.
The work was celebrated with all of the students and adults involved in the project coming together and reflecting on the project. We met in a circle and summarized the impact by each saying one word that resonated with us. We also celebrated with a cake for the students. We shared the planting day, garden and the final results of the project with our school community and through social media.
Student leadership team is attached to the garden to see it through to next year. Teachers will be attached to this student leadership team to ensure the work is being done. There is also the opportunity to expand the work that has been done at the front of the school. There is also a local biodiversity group “P.O.W.E.R. Halton” watering and maintaining the garden throughout the summer.