Thursday, April 18, 2013

Treaty Walk Thang by Kelli Daigneault

Kelli is one of my grade ten students. She wrote this piece for her Treaty Walks Assignment last fall.

September 15th, 1874 was a momentous occasion, the signing of Treaty 4. Now fast forward 138 years to September 15th, 2012, and here I stand in the same valley that very treaty was signed. It's embedded in my heritage as an Indigenous person, but also as a Canadian Citizen. We're all treaty people right? We must be, because the mix of people on these grounds is astounding. I adjust as I step off the bus, taking in the glorious smell of Bannock, as the teachers begin telling us about our day. We're told to experience as much as we can and meet for Trivia at 10am. As they finish I head off and begin wandering the grounds. I take notice of the many tipis and begin to wonder, "How'd it be like to sleep in those? Maybe I should try it sometime..." I get snapped back into reality as one of the ladies smoking meat waves to me, I politely wave back as I continue on.
                Some time passes and Mrs. Koops began gathering us for Trivia. I am so prepared! Or am I? I mean I like to believe I know quite a bit about my heritage, but is that the truth? Do any of us really have the knowledge we think we do about First Nation's heritage? I mean after Canada's many attempts at Assimilation... But now's not time for that! We must win the Trivia! The game begins, we're in an intense battle between ourselves, Standing Buffalo, and Pasqua. We try our hardest but in the end we still loose. Oh well, you win some you lose some, right? And I'm quite proud since I knew the correct answer to about 80% of the questions.
                Mrs. Koops dismisses us to wander the grounds and try different things until it's time to return to the school. I begin to walk when I'm assaulted by the delicious smells wavering through the air as many begin to grab lunch. Well 11am is an okay time for lunch. I walk to my favorite stand that's often on the Pow-wow trails and order a Taco in a Bag. Yum! I love them!
                As I finish my lunch one of the organizers for Lacrosse asks a group of kids from the school if we'd like to play Lacrosse, we generally all agree. I watch my classmates learn the basics of Lacrosse and realise, "This is one of the things my ancestors did for fun! Whoa." By the time I snap back to reality the game is well in swing. I laugh at Mrs. Koops’ completive nature as she and Talia try with defence against some of the guys. The game continues until another group of students come to play, and we dismantle heading off again.
                I continue my wandering; with all my wandering I'm like a chicken with its head cut off! Oh well... I notice people gathering once again in the center and I soon notice they're forming a Round Dance. I prompt Serina and Nathan to join the Round Dance with me. It is a Friendship Dance after all! As we Round Dance I begin wondering if my ancestors tried to get the settlers to join them in a Round Dance. I think they would, it's quite an easy dance to do, and so very symbolic.
                The dance subsides and the day is about to do the same, but not before I shoot an arrow! I jog to the shooting area and get in-line. I get to the front of the line and set up my arrow on the bow. I take a deep breath and aim for the fox target. Whoosh. I missed. I joking tell Serina, "I'd go hungry if I had to hunt like this!" She laughs as I prep my other arrow, and aim. I inhale and shoot. Whoosh. I hit it's leg. Closer, but I'd still go hungry. I set up my last arrow as I hear the teachers calling the students to make their ways to the bus. I aim, close my eyes and shoot. Everything seems to go silent, and I open my eyes and I get a good hit in the stomach. "Tonight, we eat!" I triumphantly say as I set down my bow. Serina just face palms at my stupidity and tells me to hurry and grab my arrows so we can get to the bus.
                We walk towards the bus and I just think about my day. On this day, 138 years ago, Treaty 4 was signed, without it I wouldn't be here today. Not only because this day was made to remember that treaty, but because Canada would not be here, and my people, the Metis, would not be.



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