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Treaty education for ethically engaged citizenship: Settler identities, historical consciousness and the need for reconciliation

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This article explores the possibilities of treaty education for reconciliation with First Nations people, as corrective to the foundational myth of Canada and as a means of fostering ethically engaged citizenship. Lack of historical understanding demonstrated by Canadians regarding treaties and the treaty relationship is examined in relation to discourses of liberal democratic citizenship. Drawing on ‘remembrance as a source of radical renewal’ ‘ethical relationality’ and ‘justice-oriented citizenship’, the argument is made that treaty education has the potential to help all students learn from and through events and experiences of the past in ways that inform not only their historical consciousness, but their dispositions as Canadian citizens, and their relationships with one another. While the discussion in this article is specific to treaty education, it is relevant to broader conversations about the role and value of including more diverse stories/experiences in national histories. Throughout the discussion, attention is paid to the interconnections of citizenship and history education, particularly with respect to possibilities for engaging differently in the world, alongside one another, politically, socially, culturally and ethically as part of the necessary and urgent process of reconciliation.
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Keywords: First Nations; citizenship; historical consciousness; identity; social justice; treaty education

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Regina

Publication date: 2012-04-25

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  • Citizenship Teaching and Learning is global in scope, exploring issues of social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy. It advances academic and professional understandings within a broad characterisation of education, focussing on a wide range of issues including identity, diversity, equality and social justice within social, moral, political and cultural contexts.
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