Training for Quint Staff about Indigenous People and Treaties

“You plant the seed, you may not see the bloom, but you helped plant that seed for their future.” – Laverne

Laverne has been an essential part of Quint since it was created. She is a founding board member of Quint, and one of the reasons the organization has the pulse and impact it does today.

As a lifelong resident of Pleasant Hill and many years of community organizing in the core neighbourhoods,  Laverne’s leadership was an instrumental part of the vision that led to the formation of Quint. As a member of the founding Board, Laverne helped ensure that the foundation of Quint was solid with a clear strategic plan and policies that have shaped the organization as it developed in the early years.

To continue Quint’s honouring of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, Lyndon Linklater of the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, presented a day-long workshop on Indigenous People and the Treaties.

Lyndon used stories, magic, humour, music, and facts to deliver his message. With the Office of the Treaty Commissioner’s Speaker’s Bureau since 2000, Lyndon shared many stories from his own personal history and his family’s as Indigenous people in Saskatoon.

Supported with numerous facts, photos, examples, and historical context, we learned about:

  • First Nations People and who they are;
  • what is a Treaty?;
  • the Indian Act, Residential Schools and what happened to the Treaty relationship; and,
  • that Reconciliation is how we, as Canadians, must move forward as a nation.

Important lessons included learning about First Nation worldviews and how they differ not only from those of non-indigenous Canadians but within different First Nations. But, notwithstanding these differences, Lyndon taught us that, as a single human race, we must all live in balance — as well as personally being in balance in mind, emotion, body, and spirit. 

An equally important take-away emphasized how First Nation traditional cultures are oral, that the 11 numbered Treaties are “all about the land”, and that they confer rights and benefits both in spirit and in intent. First Nation cultures, which are “thousands and thousands” of years old, are not merely historical artifacts but living and evolving as conditions, technologies, and conditions change.

The Treaties were “made” not “signed” between sovereign nations, based on honour and trust. But we also learned how First Nation People have been and are, too-often, “ripped-off”.

First Nation People made treaties to share, not sell, the land. Being controlled by the Indian Act, however, — to the point of imposing complicated formulas that decide who even is an Indian — ultimately threatens First Nation People with the extinguishment of their rights.

The history and implications of the Indian Act and of the Residential Schools were and continue to be the worst reasons. Control, oppression, and vastly different interpretations and implementations of the treaties, especially with respect to the land (Mother Earth) being ongoing difficulties.

Intergenerational trauma, poverty, and loss of culture — especially language — are very common for all Indigenous peoples. Lyndon mentioned several times that so many are “PTSD’d” as a result. 

And, unfortunately, the ‘divide-and-conquer’ mentality used since before Confederation by the Federal Government to enforce these controls happens within some First Nation governments to benefit certain families at the detriment of others.

To summarize, a quote Lyndon shared with us is very appropriate:

How you see your world
   will impact on how you act as a people.

 

As the organization continued to grow, Laverne’s position evolved into the  Director of Operations but she continued to oversee and guide the affordable housing program. She is also one of our main social function organizers ensuring that we maintain a strong and cohesive staff team/family, something that she prides herself on. She has worked hard to make sure staff feel included, heard and part of the decision making process within the organization.

Laverne also played a large role in organizing Quint’s community events, what she calls “the fun work”. This included launching and planning the annual Our Core Communities Shine events, numerous community BBQ’s, and anniversary celebrations.

Laverne’s impact is throughout all aspects of Quint’s programming and practices. Her legacy will be that of dedication, compassion, and perseverance, always fighting for the good of her community and the people in it. On behalf of the Quint staff, board of directors and the community at large, Laverne we are so thankful for your leadership and vision to bring Quint to reality. Your contributions will continue to transcend the 26 years you have committed to our west side core communities and beyond.

Happy Retirement!