FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
SASKATCHEWAN TEACHER TREATY WALKS TOWARD DAY 100
Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Canada – January 18th, 2012 A teacher from Bert Fox Community High School, nears the half mark on her year-long-treaty walks, bringing fresh perspective to Saskatchewan Education’s mandated treaty teaching. At the beginning of the school year, Koops, who has taught in the Prairie Valley School Division for ten years, decided to walk to and from school, meditating on Canadian treaties, posting stories and pictures along the way http://www.treatywalks.blogspot.com/ In her forty minute trek (one-way) she passes the Treaty Four Governance Centre with the world's largest inhabited tipi; Treaty Four grounds which is one of Saskatchewan's largest urban reserves; and Canada's only All Nation's Healing Hospital.
As Koops blogs and posts pictures from the historic and scenic Qu’Appelle Valley, she is gaining readers from across Canada, the United States, Hong Kong, Russia, Germany, UK, as well as hits from around the world. “I think interest in my Treaty Walks will rise as the temperatures drop and storms threaten; although, I’ve had it pretty good so far this winter,” says Koops who will reach her halfway mark on January 30th.
“I would like to thank Sheena for sharing her thoughts on her Treaty blog,” says Sandy Pinay-Schindler, PVSD First Nations and Métis Education Coordinator. “Tonight I was reading Day Sixty-Seven: Step into the Problems; it captured exactly why we do the work we do. It reminded me of the urgency of eliminating the achievement gap, the urgency of people learning our shared Treaty history, and the reason why we need to celebrate and honour the leaders who are significant to our students. I had to quote what Sheena wrote and send it to all the contacts who are significant and in decision-making positions.” Pinay-Schindler adds, “The writing is beautiful, and I love the photos; the images speak volumes.”
On the anniversary of the 1874 signing of Treaty Four, Koops dedicated her walks (see Day Eleven) to friend and mentor, Keitha Brass, Executive Director of Fort Qu’Appelle’s Community Outreach Management Centre, a grassroots organization supporting marginalized people and enhancing First Nations and Newcomer relationships. Brass’s great, great grandfather, Chief Ben Pasqua, was one of the original signatories to Treaty Four.
On Sunday, January 29th at 3:00pm, Treaty Walks’ friends will gather in Bert Fox Community High School to launch Koops’ blog and celebrate Day One Hundred. A panel discussion, “Our Relationship to Treaty”, featuring journalist, Michelle Hugli-Brass; local historian, Lynn Anderson; educator, Sandy Pinay-Schindler; artist and community member, Kate Hersberger; moderated by artist and educator, Michael Koops, will follow a short Treaty Walks reading.