This past Saturday my ECCU class got on a school bus and drove out to Fort Qu’Appelle and Lebret. When we first arrived at Fort Qu’Appelle we took part in a pipe ceremony. This was an amazing experience that was made possible by some awesome elders, as well as a First Nation teen. All of these people volunteered their time to share their knowledge with our class and give us an authentic pipe ceremony experience. While we took part in the pipe ceremony the class was given a first-hand glimpse into one of the traditions of the First Nations culture. After the pipe ceremony our class headed to some statues in Fort Qu’Appelle. Both statues were vastly different. It was really apparent of which perspective was written on each statue. On the one statue it was clear that the European settler view was being told. This statue had phrases such as “the land was surrendered” and “rights were ceded” it seemed almost surreal to read this kind of stuff. It left me wondering if they keep this statue up just to provide evidence of how one sided the treaty signings were. Here is a picture of one side of the statue indicating the agreement.
On the flip side there was another statue that was put up in the late 90’s in a separate location that mentioned how both parties would work together. This statue was much better to read.
Here is another picture honouring the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assinboine Indians.
In addition on the one statue it listed some of the chiefs who were there for the signing of the treaties. The one name that stood out to me was “WA-WA-SE-CAPOW”
t immediately made me think of my time on the reserve, “Waywayseecapo” when my brother played hockey there. My brother whom is twelve years older then I played on many teams throughout western Canada while playing junior hockey. None of which I enjoyed more than his time with the Waywayseecapo Wolverines. Some of my fondest memories come from his time playing for them. There was never any discrimination or racism present towards any of the white players on the team, or my family for being white. In fact I got treated very fairly. They even allowed me to play on their minor hockey teams whenever I was out there. I feel very thankful for how welcoming and inclusive that entire community was. While riding the bus back I began really reflecting on my own relationships with people who are First Nations. I thought about my times hanging out on the reserve, the elders I have spoken to, the friends whom I went to school with. As I was reflecting I was thinking of all the good qualities these people exhibited. It made me think of our time during the pipe ceremony and the people whom volunteered their time, their knowledge, and their facility to allow our class the learning opportunity. While reflecting it also made me think of all the negative stereotypes there are about First Nation people in Canada and how we have to change this mindset. The more white people begin educating themselves and associating themselves with people of different Backgrounds the greater their worldview will become. I think the more time white people spent with First Nations people the more respect they would gain towards them. If they only experiences you have had with First Nations is through the news then obviously oyur views are going to be negative. Whereas if you had firsthand experiences with people whom are of Frist Nations descent then I am sure people would be left with a much more positive image in their head like I do. If we ever want to create a better society, we must work together, the way treaties were intended. I feel very fortunate to have been able to take part in such an experience and am very thankful for the opportunity I was given.