Throughout my 11 years in school, section B2 of the grade 10 PLO’s has been briefly studied each and every year. Whether something as small as telling aboriginal stories on the Adventure trip, or studying aboriginal heritage in Grade 5, as soon as the topic of aboriginal and European explorers was brought up, I ultimately felt as though I had traveled back in time. In fact, in the PLO’s of the Grade 5 socials curriculum, it can be noted that section C3 is very similar to section B2 of the grade 10 PLO’s. Even more interesting is that in the Grade 4 socials PLO’s, all of section B and C is dedicated to section B2 of the grade 10 PLO’s. What I find fascinating about section B2 is that although we’ve briefly studied aboriginal and European interaction every year, this year was the first time I truly learned about the ruthless and disturbing side on this topic of Canadian history. I remember in Grade 5, we learned about the different aboriginal groups, how they lived, how to use basic terminology, and how these groups settled on an agreement “peacefully” with the government of Canada. In grade 4, we made button blankets, visited museums, had smoke salmon, and listened to old stories. Throughout middle school, we had field trips to UBC to visit the museum of anthropology; however, it wasn’t until this year that I truly understood it wasn’t all peaceful between European explorers and the aboriginal people, as it is truly more terrifying.
Throughout the course of the semester, I’ve learned about treaties, the Indian act, executions, government and different aboriginal group conflicts, but nothing stuck with me more than the subject of Residential schools. I now know that issues between the Canadian government and the Aboriginal people of Canada has not been completely settled. I feel as though this quote puts the situation into perspective: “Peace is not the absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means” as stated by the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan. Although may seem to be a small issue at hand, this issue can actually turn into a major problem in the future. It’s strange that I never truly understood what a residential school was until this month. Sure, I had heard about aboriginal groups that looked to take the federal government to court because of the residential school systems on the news, but even hearing about it on the news, never prompted me to search up what a residential school was. It wasn’t until that morning that Mr. Jackson read us a passage from a book, that I noticed that this issue was much bigger than I had originally perceived. I now have a completely different outlook on this situation knowing what actually happened inside those schools. It shocks me that I never knew a problem of this magnitude until this year! Nevertheless, I feel as though I’ve grown very interested in all the topics mentioned in Section B2, and so far has been my favourite section on the Grade 10 PLO’s.
As for what I feel I need to know more about, I feel as though I understand the basics and big ideas in section B2, yet I don’t think I completely understand how the Indian Act works or much about the different treaties. I know that since 1975 there has been 22 modern treaties across Canada; however, my issue is what exactly are these treaties? What I can conclude about myself is that I have a hard time grasping topics on different agreements made throughout the history of Canada. I understand what happens after these agreements are made, but I don’t understand how exactly these agreements are reached. My major question that has bothered me this whole entire week is how can we know that we aren’t repeating something like the residential school problem in the future or even in the present? To elaborate, we now know that the residential schools are wrong ethically, socially, and just basically wrong in every human value. How can we as Canadians know that we are potentially doing what is right at the moment? Back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Canadians felt as though creating residential schools was the right thing to do. Now in present day, what if we’re doing something similar, but we feel as though it’s the right thing in the present as well? I’m not quite sure if this question can ever be answered because we can’t travel to the future and see the result of an event, although it’s good to be cautious about other people’s values before trying to force people into anything.
To answer my questions on the Indian act and different treaties, I will be touching on section A1, A2 C4, and C3. In section A1, I will need to critically think and understand, and summarize information I collect on section A2. To understand how these treaties work, I will have to understand how the government works relating back to section C4. Section C3 has already been mostly covered, but re-familiarizing myself with some key topics in the section can allow to better understand the treaty processes. As for my second question I cannot seem to figure out which PLO’s would be covered. I don’t think it is entirely possible to know if what we do in the present is right, therefore, it would only make sense that all PLO’s could be covered in the course of answering this question. Although I feel it isn’t entirely possible to find the answer, it doesn’t mean that the intimidation of such an open ended question should be the obstacle to stop me from researching more. Over the next term, I will try to continue touching upon every PLO in the package. Understanding the curriculum as a whole, may just help me answer my last question.