The École St. Paul School community has become the first school in Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools—and the first provincial school in Saskatchewan—to install a Treaty 6 medal as visible recognition of an ongoing relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
Working closely with staff at the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, principal Ted View and the school community spent months consulting with the division's First Nations, Métis and Inuit education team laying the groundwork to make the installation possible.
"After Bishop Don Bolen (now archbishop in Regina) installed a medal at the Cathedral of the Holy Family, and our school parish, St. Anne, installed a medal last year, I started asking questions about how we could recognize treaties in our building," said View.
Treaty education has been part of curriculum in Saskatchewan since 2008, but View considers the installation as something more significant than a supplement to classroom instruction. "We have spent a lot of time learning and preparing as a whole school community. Not all parents and guardians have the same knowledge, so we started education families about treaties in our newsletters, and we had an education evening leading up to the event."
"The treaty medal being present in schools is part of the education about treaties, the relationship and the obligations. This medal conveys the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship," said Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson. "This crucial foundation cannot be forgotten; it is through this visual reminder of the relationship and its significance that this message will be conveyed for as long students, their parents, visitors and educators walk through these doors."
View mentioned that families have been receptive: "There's a real interest in learning more, in having a more rounded perspective of history, Indigenous culture and treaty relationships. There's a recognition that this is an important step toward reconciliation."
Bishop Mark Hagemoen and First Nations elders blessed the medal in a ceremony before the public event. First Nations Chiefs, Treaty Commissioner Mary Culbertson, a representative from the Ministry of Education and Saskatoon's Mayor Charlie Clark shared remarks. Students shared some of their learning, and the school held a round dance after the event to celebrate.Visit our Facebook page to see more photos.