#TreatyEdCamp was a huge success and I am so proud to have been a part of it. Now that I’ve had some time away from it and been able to reflect on it, I’ve come to understand the more applied aspect of Treaty Education. I find that every time I have a grasp on one aspect, I find more questions. I’ve been passionate about social justice for a few years and for a long time I struggled with the How-to of it (and I still do but #TreatyEdCamp started me in the right direction). I have been consistent with being able to deconstruct my thoughts but struggled with how to bring that into action. Now that I’m learning to apply Treaty Education in my classes and classrooms, I am struggling with how to translate empathy to people who simply don’t care.
This has come through many different frustrations. Recently with the election, the ISIS attacks on Paris and how the people in my life have reacted to these situations. Until now, I’ve surrounded myself with people who I thought held some of the same values but slowly I’m finding that I’m also surrounded with people who hold views that are opposite to mine. For a while, I had to deconstruct my own thoughts in that I assumed just because someone thought one way on an issue doesn’t mean they can’t also have similar views. I took an “us against them” mentality and now I realize that that was wrong of me to do. Just because someone thinks one way doesn’t mean that they are absurd or devoid of compassion. We value different things and that’s okay and it doesn’t mean that their views are better or worse than mine. What is not okay, however, is when any view turns into systematic oppression. I have struggled with getting some of the people who are close to me engaged and compassionate about this. #TreatyEdCamp showed me that I just have to start with myself. I will face walls in the form of “we don’t teach Treaty Education here because we have no Aboriginal kids” or other excuses.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Say it loud and go from there”. You will find allies, but you have to speak up for what you think is right. Empathy is hard to teach and not everyone will get it but without diverse ideas how would we come to the sociological understandings that we have today.
Another important thing that I learned is that sometimes it’s just not worth your time and energy to fight with someone (especially someone close to you) if you know it won’t change their mind. Just because I believe something is true, right, moral or empathetic doesn’t mean that it’s their truth. I’ve taken years to get to the place I am now and if I can help even a few people then I’ve made a difference, but that doesn’t mean that I can hit people over the head with my beliefs. It’s my job to teach Treaty Education. It’s not my job to convey my beliefs. As a friend, family member or significant other, I should support the people I love in their beliefs, even if that’s not what I believe. This makes me want to work harder for equality, representation and compassion. My actions should convey this empathy and compassion, not my words. I can only do what I can do and I will continue working towards that. Critical conversations enlighten more than just one party but rather look to deconstruct the ideas of both parties and I am so blessed to have that in my life.