The core activity in this lesson is a game that emphasizes the issues of communication and representation in the signing of treaties. Begin by asking students who would like a loonie or a small treat of some kind. Choose the most enthusiastic student. Then bargain the student’s signature on the treaty written in Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqey Latuwewakon in exchange for the treat. Coercing the signatures may take some creativity! When the treaty is signed, without any discussion, take the student’s backpack and then the backpacks of the other students. Inevitably, this creates protest. At this point, pull out the translation and demonstrate that the student has signed away not only their personal belongings, but the belongings of others as well.
- Is this a treaty? Is it signed and agreed to? Does it have something of benefit to both sides?
- Was this a fair treaty? Why or why not? What makes a treaty fair?
- Write a statement about treaty fairness. How did you feel about the teacher taking your things?
- Is there any difference in what the Treaty says and what the teacher has done? (teacher took backpacks but the wording of the Treaty says “anything on the desks.”)
- What was the mistake you made? How could the mistake be fixed in the future?
Click here to download and print a copy of Activity 1 – Classroom treaty.