In addition to our Remembrance Day observances on November 10th, Westminster is proud to host a First Nation People's Elder as part of Treaties Recognition week. We have invited Mr. Dan Shaule, a Garden River Ojibway Nation Elder, to share about his rich culture, traditions and provide insight into the various Treaties between the government and First Nation People's in Canada.
In First Nations, Metis, and Inuit cultures, Elders and traditional teachers play a prominent, vital and respected role. Elders and traditional teachers are held in high regard as they are the knowledge keepers. They are leaders, teachers, role models, and mentors in their respective communities who sometimes provide the same functions as advisors, professors, and doctors.
In 2016, the Government of Ontario designated the first week of November as Treaties Recognition Week, to recognize the importance of treaties and increase awareness of treaty relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in the province.
First Nations were the original occupants of this land we call Ontario. Our shared history begins around 400 years ago, when Europeans first arrived.
Treaties between the British Crown (government) and Indigenous peoples were negotiated and signed with the intent of delivering mutual benefits. They signed as independent, self-governing nations. Despite the promise of early treaties and the respectful partnerships they established, Indigenous Peoples were targeted by colonial policies designed to exploit, assimilate and eradicate them. Today, the Ontario government recognizes the wrongs of previous generations. The Journey Together plan outlines Ontario’s commitment to changing the future by rebuilding relationships based on trust and respect.
Offering of Tobacco presented to Elder Shaule by our student representative...
"We have learned about First Nation People's culture and history here at school and now from you, an Ojibwa Elder. We have learned that tobacco is one of the four sacred medicines used in traditional ceremonies and prayer. We offer you this tobacco because we have asked that you be here today and thank you for teaching us. At Westminster we believe that understanding the past and celebrating our differences is the first step to ensuring a positive future." WPS student representative