On Friday, May 27, St. Dominic School students, staff, and the community joined together to hold a Treaty 6 medal installation ceremony to recognize progress along their journey of learning about treaties and the need for reconciliation and healing. 

Community leaders from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, Elaine Sutherland from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Donna Harpauer with the Government of Saskatchewan, Member of Parliament for Humboldt Kelly Block, and Mayor Micheal Behiel with the City of Humboldt joined the Board of Education Chair Diane Boyko and the Catholic-school community for the celebration. 

The planning process for the event allowed school staff to grow in their knowledge of treaty relationships, states Chad Knaus, St. Dominic School principal. 

“There was a realization within our community—within our province and across the country—that we needed to know more about treaties, residential schools, and historical relationships with Indigenous peoples in Canada to move forward. We are able to bring in the expertise of our elders, knowledge keepers and members of the division’s First Nations Métis and Inuit Education team to come in and guide us, to share, and to walk along with us in the journey.” 

Knaus stated learning more about treaties brought a new form of understanding. 

“From a Catholic perspective, we incorporated the act of reconciliation—with ourselves, others and with God— in making sure we take care of our brothers and sisters,” said Knaus. “We undertook studying and learning more about treaties. We brought in speakers to come and share their knowledge of treaties and how we can grow in understanding of our own treaty relationships.”

Deputy Premier and M.L.A for Humboldt-Watrous, Donna Harpauer, spoke about the steps the Government has made to bring treaty understanding to Canadian children. 

“In 2008, Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Education enacted the construction of Treaty Education in the Kindergarten to grade 12 school system. To enhance our province's understanding of treaties and strengthen the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan; we are all treaty people. Today, we are renewing relationships and celebrating the installation of a treaty medal, a symbol that represents honoring partnerships in Saskatchewan. The permanent installation of this medal is a reminder of our past, and a relationship that we are going to have in the future.”

The celebration was filled with presentations from St. Dominic students, sharing what they have learned along the way about First Nations and Métis cultures, history, and treaties through song and dance.

Grade 7 and 8 students sang Métis songs in the language, and Grades 1 - 5 performed songs and presentations, along with other classes showing their understanding of treaties and what they mean. 

Diane Boyko, chair of Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, reminded students that Treaty 6 was created in 1876 and that partnership is made possible by having a strong relationship.  

“In all that time, that partnership still remains today, and that partnership exists in each and every one of us. That we understand what it means to be treaty people, and that with truth and reconciliation, we know that there is a relationship with each other, with our God, and with our friends and families. We need to keep making those relationships possible to remain in a partnership.”

Allison Rae Strong, a Canadian musician attended the celebration to sing “You Light Up My Life”, and “One Voice” along with students to end the ceremony.

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools states as a multi-year initiative, it plans to have Treaty 6 medals installed at all 50 schools within the division as a tangible sign and reminder of the commitment to truth and reconciliation.