Learning about the Socio-Cultural Context in Which We Live

It is beneficial for early childhood educators to have background knowledge on Aboriginal culture, history, and pedagogy (Hare and Anderson, 2010) which can then be used to support cultural sensitivity (Bond & Hauf, 2004) and intercultural understanding (Ngai & Koehn, 2010), as called on by the TRC (2015). 


Using this foundational knowledge, Aboriginal views, and understanding can be implemented into the curriculum. In doing so, I anticipate that this will not only enhance the curriculum but will also enhance the quality of the program for all children (Preston et al., 2011).

Therefore, it is important to have background knowledge on the First Nations that live in Saskatchewan, the Treaties that were signed with the First Nations, and the context of the those agreements.

Treaties in Saskatchewan

A treaty is an agreement that is made between two or more parties. According to the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website (n.d.), from 1701, the British entered solemn treaties in order to have peaceful relations with First Nations and the European settlers. Over several centuries, treaties were signed to define the respective rights of Aboriginal people and governments to use the lands that Aboriginal people traditionally occupied. 

At the time there were over 30 Aboriginal languages spoken in what is now Canada, however the treaties were in English. 


The Government of Canada and the courts understand treaties between the Crown and Aboriginal people to be solemn agreements that set out promises, obligations and benefits for both parties. These treaties are legal contracts.

Treaties include historic treaties made between 1701 and 1923 and modern-day treaties known as comprehensive land claim settlements.

Treaty rights already in existence in 1982 (the year the Constitution Act was passed), and those that came afterwards, are recognized and affirmed by Canada's Constitution.

First Nations in Northern Saskatchewan: Woods Cree and Dene (Chipewyan)

First Nations in Southern Saskatchewan: Plains Cree, Sioux (Blackfoot), Assiniboine (Lakota, Dakota, Nakota)

Different First Nations tribes spoke their own language or dialect.  Some tribes agreed to sign treaties in order to keep peace and share the land, while others did not trust the British crown.  


Meanwhile, the buffalo that roamed the prairies and were the primary source of food and clothing, were being massacred by European settlers for their hides, and food was becoming scarce. The settlers brought new diseases with them and First Nations people were becoming sick. Several First Nations Chiefs in Saskatchewan signed treaties to receive medicine and avoid the starvation of their people.  


In Saskatchewan, Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 are in effect, however, no peoples in Saskatchewan follow Treaty 2. Although there are three First Nation reserves on Treaty 2 land, the First Nations there signed Treaty 4 (Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Center, n.d.)

Video: As Long as the Sun Shines - Treaties in Saskatchewan


In Two Worlds

In Two Worlds is a document that explains the history of Aboriginal people in Canada and gives a thorough explanation about the times when the treaties were signed in Saskatchewan. 


Double click on the image for a PDF version.


Chapter 2 of the document "In Two Worlds" which describes the different world views of Aboriginal people who live in Treaty 4 land.

Dr. Marie Battiste - Situating Indigenous knowledge systems within a decolonizing framework for education
Click on the "Watch on Vimeo" Button to watch video.
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I have found images for the Metis flag, the Treaty 4 flag, and the Treaty 6 flag, but was unable to find photos of the others.  If you have a photo of Treaty 2, 5, 8, or 10 flags, please e-mail to me so I can add to this gallery.  Thank you for sharing!

Language groups in Canada

Language groups in Canada

Image source: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/3d/f5/20/3df520b0677105c7c2629eb8f754e878.jpg

Nations Map

Nations Map

Image Source: https://s3.amazonaws.com/tce-live2/media/cache/media/a82b1e59-56cd-4c30-a377-0d813503bced_thumbnail_600_600.jpg

Plains Nations

Plains Nations

Image Source: http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/aboriginal-people-plains/

Saskatchewan Treaties

Saskatchewan Treaties

Image Source: ttps://s3.amazonaws.com/libapps/accounts/7309/images/treaty_map.png

Numbered Treaties in Canada

Numbered Treaties in Canada

Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numbered_Treaties#/media/File:Numbered-Treaties-Map.svg

Metis flag

Metis flag

Image Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f4/Metis_Blue.svg/200px-Metis_Blue.svg.png

Treaty 6 flag

Treaty 6 flag

Image Source: http://ualbertalaw.typepad.com/.a/6a00d834979b7d53ef01b8d2cde0b2970c-800wi

Treaty 4 flag

Treaty 4 flag

Image Source: https://www.crwflags.com/fotw/images/c/ca-trty4.gif



Bond, L. A., & Hauf, A. M. C. (2004). Taking Stock and Putting Stock in Primary Prevention: Characteristics of Effective Programs. Journal of Primary Prevention, 24(3), 199.

Government of Canada. (n.d.). A History of Treaty Making. Retrieved from http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1290453474688/1290453673970

Hare, J., & Anderson, J. (2010). Transitions to Early Childhood Education and Care for Indigenous Children and Families in Canada: Historical and Social Realities. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 35(2), 19–27.

Ngai, P. B., & Koehn, P. H. (2010). Indigenous studies and intercultural education: the impact of a place-based primary-school program. Intercultural Education, 21(6), 597.


Office of the Treaty Commission. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.otc.ca/

Preston, J. P., Cottrell, M., Pelletier, T. R., & Pearce, J. V. (2012). Aboriginal early childhood education in Canada: Issues of context. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 10(1), 3–18.


Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sicc.sk.ca/index.html

The Canadian Encyclopedia (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/aboriginal-people-plains/

University of Saskatchewan Archives. (2008). Our Legacy. Retrieved from http://digital.scaa.sk.ca/ourlegacy/exhibit_nehiyawak_leadership