My summer took me to Toronto, New York City, Macoun, Kenosee Lake, and Quesnel. I'm full of questions, like, is Toronto a First Nations word? Is Wall Street on Algonquin land? Why is visiting Macoun so loaded? Is fiddle music treaty music and why does the Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party have to end? What does treaty mean to the Dene and newcomers of Quesnel in Northern British Columbia?
On one of my walks this summer I was listing all the province names, and figured only Saskatchewan and Manitoba have First Nations derivation. I had a poster in my classroom all last year from the Occupy movement and it said something about NYC and Algonquin land. I walked down the lane only once this summer at the farm and wept trying to take in the wind in the trees, ducks on the green dugout, clouds in the sky. I never even went to Dad's garden or the little heritage house. An elder in the Lhoosk'uz Dene Nation office in Quesnel told me that she didn't want treaty and just wanted the old ways. A young woman, her granddaughter, explained they never signed treaties, never gave up title to the land.
Today was the first of three days back to school before our students start on September 4th. I have an intern, Mira Krahn, who sat through meetings with me and then did some team planning. One of her goals this year is to learn more about treaty education. I am thankful for her gentle and generous spirit, and I look forward to learning with and from her this year.