I grew up in the Big Muddy Badlands in Southern Saskatchewan. The beautiful land is rich in history that has been shared with me through various tours, oral stories, and written histories. I have also been able to share the stories through my own tours.
My parents’ ranch is full of teepee rings and other First Nations artefacts. In the north pastures, we can see remains of summer camps. They have teepee rings in circles. In one particular place, the rings surrounded a pile of rocks that turned out to be an oven filled with tools. In the southern pastures, in the valleys, we find winter camps with double teepee rings indicative of the use of two canvases. My community also has a buffalo jump, a turtle effigy and a buffalo effigy which are common tourist attractions.
We talk lots about the First Nations people who occupied the land we now live on and we have made educated guesses on how they lived. However, we still do not know much about them. For example, I do not know the bands or the linguistic categories of the first nations people who lived there.
When we talk about the history of the area, there is a large gap in the stories. We talk about the First Nations people from time immemorial. Then we talk about the outlaws and the first pioneers. We do not talk about colonization.
There are currently no First Nation communities within two hundred kilometers from my home. In fact, there are only one or two people who identify as indigenous in our community. Yet we do not discuss what happened to the First Nations people who lived there for centuries before us.
My visual represents the gap I feel in the history of my community. I have asked a few people from home and they are noticing that gap even in their education.
The left side represents the time before colonization. The right side represents the history The white space represents the parts we do not talk about.
I would like to think of myself, as a future educator, I can be the bridge between this gap. I would like to learn enough about the local history and about the treaties so that I am able to fill this gap in our stories. I do realize that will take a lot of work and will not be comfortable, but it is necessary.