I am currently engaged in an action research project through the McDowell Foundation with my co-researcher, Michael Graham. We are researching the effect of a community of teachers doing the unsettling work of Treaty Education in rural Saskatchewan classrooms. Here is the link to our project on the McDowell Foundation website.
Treaty Education has been mandatory for K-12 students in Saskatchewan for over a decade, yet many teachers still struggle with how to best implement it in their classrooms.
This action research project will investigate the impact of developing a community of rural educators to take up the deep work of Treaty Education, focusing on unpacking our identities in relation to Treaty, learning the Treaty stories of our communities, and reflecting on our Treaty responsibilities. This will include deepening our understandings of settler colonialism and the harm embedded in settlers’ historical and contemporary relationship with Indigenous peoples.
Participants will read and discuss works by Indigenous authors, participate in ceremony, learn from Elders and Knowledge Keepers, critique curriculum, disrupt dominant narratives of Canadian history, and go on Treaty Walks of our communities. Data will be collected through interviews with participants, field memos, research journals, and written reflections, and then analyzed for recurring themes to determine how this method might impact planning and teaching practices for implementing Treaty Education in authentic, meaningful ways.
Research Question: How does developing a community of teachers to do the unsettling work of Treaty Education influence teacher practice in rural Saskatchewan classrooms?
The following questions further define the research problem:
- How are teachers understanding their identities in relation to Treaty?
- How might reframing our mindsets around Treaty relationships and responsibilities impact our planning and teaching practices? How might considering our own Treaty responsibilities help us interpret curriculum toward more ethical Treaty Education?
- How might we disrupt dominant Canadian narratives that deny/ignore past injustices toward First Nations people and the ongoing legacies of colonialism in Canada?
Research Methods and Data Collection
- Data will be collected through interviews, field memos, research journals, and written reflections
- Data will be analyzed for recurring themes using grounded theory
- Throughout the research process, we will focus on relationships, relational accountability, and narrative research, or research as story
- We hope that participating in ceremony will be part of our research process but are looking for creative ways to do this with COVID restrictions