One school took a huge step in their journey towards reconciliation today as they celebrated the unveiling of their new school treaty.
David Livingstone Community School's new mosaic is a project they undertook hoping to help their students understand the concept of what a treaty is.
The project began as something students were tasked with within their own classrooms. At the beginning of the school year, rather than require students to adhere to a set of classroom rules, the staff at David Livingstone asked students to create classroom treaties as a way of governing their own behaviour.
Local Artist Ursula Neufeld along with students from the school worked to smash, nibble, and grout the mosaic, which was based on the school's personal treaty, over several months. It features sections pertaining to students, staff, parents, and community members of David Livingstone Community School.
"I was just so proud of [the students], that they focused on treaties, which is such a controversial subject," shared Neufeld. "They brought such a positive perspective to the treaty, so we're going to have a generation of kids where 'treaty' isn't such a negative term."
"It's a very positive term for them."
It's a project that bears much importance within and beyond the walls of the school. "My job is to teach the importance of treaties," Manitoba Treaty Commissioner Loretta Ross shared at the ceremony for the moasic's unveiling. "You guys are doing that all on your own."
Principal Tim Cox shared the journey David Livingstone Community School has been on over the past three years, seeking to understand what treaties are, and how to go about the process of reconciliation within their school community and beyond.
"[The Treaty] gives all a voice and an opportunity to tell their own story," Cox shared. "Truth is where we want to be as we work towards reconciliation."
The unveiling of the mosaic included a school-wide assembly that featured students, parents, elders, and members of the community sharing their own contributions towards the mosaic and the importance of the visual treaty to them.
One of the students on the moasic's advisory council, Lexi McKay, says to her, the treaty encompasses every living thing. "I want people to know I was here," she said. "Later generations will be like 'I think one of my relatives did this!'"
"This is an opportunity for students to show the journey they've been on," explained Cox. "An opportunity for our students, our community to come together with a set of ideals and principles that we all agree to be.
"I think this is just an example of how all of us as Canadians need to view treaty. Treaty is for everyone, treaty is about who we are as Canadians, and if we can see how a treaty can work and be successful, I think that makes us all successful."