by Ange Loft and Jill Carter
Materials required: paper, pencil/pen
Note: This activity and the previous one are two ideas of how to conclude this Grade 5 program. The intent here is to have students understand that many things that we share need to be deliberated. This applies equally to personal things and to those which involve a whole group of people. Sharing must apply equally to all partners. By having students complete this activity on their own and then comparing their results with everyone else’s, some consensus on how best to share these items can be reached. If the sharing plan is agreed to by the group, then all parties will be self-determining.
Remind the students that traditionally, a wampum belt was created to explain, establish, maintain, and terminate relationships among Indigenous Nations and within Nations. It is a way of recording alliances, peace agreements and decisions about mutual interests. Here the wampum becomes the metaphor for the most acceptable visual plan for the sharing of these things.
The Dish with One Spoon wampum is an agreement to take only what is required and to make sure that all living things are able to sustain their lives. This includes caring for the waters and their ecosystems — the soil, the rocks, the vegetation, the mammals, and the birds.
Here is how ecological knowledge is practised with the Haudenosaunee using the Dish with one Spoon idea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5szQHeQ9FM.
Animation: Dish with one spoon
A Dish With One Spoon is a law used by Indigenous peoples of the Americas to describe an agreement for sharing hunting territory among two or more nations. People are all eating out of the single dish, that is, all hunting in the same shared territory. It is an agreement to peacefully be co-stewards of the lands and waters we all share as Wabanaki. In this animation, students will be led to understand that many things that we share need to be deliberated. This applies equally to personal things and to those which involve a whole group of people. Sharing must apply equally to all partners.
In the last part of the animation each individual will create text and pictographs about how this can be accomplished by 1) taking only what you need, 2) keeping it clean and 3) leaving some for the future. The same exercise can be done over and over. If done a number of times it becomes for the class self-determining.
Some contemporary readings of the Dish With One Spoon bring up three key teachings that mediate how we should conduct ourselves in shared or contentious spaces. These teachings can be summarized as: 1) take only what you need, 2) keep the environment clean and 3) leave some for the future. These can be viewed as ways to govern sharing with others, but also as self-regulating mechanisms for guiding our own daily choices.
Take two blank sheets of paper.
Divide one page into four long columns.
Label the headings of each column:
- Shared Things
- Take Only What You Need
- Keep It Clean
- Leave Some for the Future
Fill column 1 with Shared Things: words and/or symbols representing goods in life that sustain us, including common spaces and resources. Here are some examples of Shared Things: rare books, bike shares, wild berries, public parks, rare metals, seafood, office kitchens, an Elder’s time, a campground, waterfront access, the joy of sharing life with many generations within a community, food banks.
Think up ways to apply each of the three teachings (the headings for columns 2, 3 and 4) to each item in the Shared Things column. Explore these concepts as though you were making policies to regulate physical and conceptual commodities. Make notes in text or symbols for each subject. Repeat for the rest of the Shared Things you have listed.
Configure the second page into three sections in any way you wish. Each of these sections corresponds to one of the three teachings: 1) take only what you need, 2) keep it clean and 3) leave some for the future.
Choose one item from the Shared Things column to focus on.
Rearticulate the item’s management plan through symbols and illustrations, creating a step-by-step how-to visual guide for the sharing. Title it. Put it somewhere you will notice it.
The first page is your working document, your source for subsequent re-articulations. Keep this for the future. Repeat steps 6 through 8, as many times as you like, addressing each of your Shared Things items.
Look at other visual guides for the sharing of the same item. Pick the visual guide that is most acceptable to all.
Has studying some of the lessons in Ah, the truth. What is our truth? helped you to clarify where you stand on Treaty issues? Is it possible that your conclusions are what was intended with the Peace and Friendship Treaties? Explain your answer.