A group of Saskatchewan teachers are taking time out of their summer holidays to pursue a designation that aims to help advance treaty education in the province.
On Wednesday, 18 educators took part in a treaty catalyst teacher workshop at the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation office in Saskatoon.
The workshop is a two-day event led by Cort Dogniez, who said he aims to create an environment where teachers aren’t scared to ask questions about a topic they may not know a lot about.
“We just answer the questions that they have and hopefully we equip them enough so that when they go back to work, they have starting points,” Dogniez, the workshop’s facilitator, said on Wednesday.
Treaty catalyst teachers are tasked with ensuring students engage in essential treaty education, as well as aid their colleagues in approaching the subject.
The number of educators with the designation has grown over the years in Saskatoon’s school divisions.
“When you have people in a school who can help those people who are kind of on the fence and not quite sure and are intimidated and you have a treaty catalyst teacher there, it makes a huge difference,” Dogniez said.
Certified treaty catalyst teachers can also lead workshops on the history of treaty making and how to teach the subject in a classroom.
Cristin Dorgan Lee was one of the educators taking Wednesday’s session and said the opportunity to pursue the certificate is an empowering experience.
“We’re really teaching people about living in relationship with each other and what is important in being in community,” Dorgan Lee said.
The efforts of treaty catalyst teachers and their colleagues is paying off, according to Dogniez. He said students are becoming more informed and there’s a shift in the mentality around the subject.
“When this generation of kids gets through school and gets into the work force and into education or wherever they’re going … think about how that’s going to change the thinking of our society,” Dogniez said.