My name is Amy Durand and I was, and am, honoured to be invited to write for ReconciliACTION YEG this year. As the Friday writer, my hope is to leave you with something to ponder over the weekends while you wait to hear from Liz on Mondays.
My family and I are settlers on Treaty Six territory. I am a second-generation Albertan, and a first-generation law student. But most of all, I’m a mom. In the lifetimes before motherhood and law school, I worked as a human rights educator at home and abroad, spent too short a time supporting the community at Boyle Street Community Services, and worked as a political staffer.
Since having children, sayings like “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” and “be the change you seek in the world” took on new meaning. I was now accountable for showing my kids what these words mean. So I came to law school, because it was the shot I hadn’t yet taken, and I got involved with equity-seeking student groups knowing that seeking to be an ally and raising my kids to be allies too, means I better walk the talk.
Last Fall, I had the immense pleasure of learning about Treaty Law with Dr. Darcy Lindberg. He asked us to write about how we understood our relationship with treaty. I can pinpoint the first time ever I heard the phrase “we are all treaty people” – I was 18 and sitting in what is now Native Studies 200. I understood the statement to mean that I was a party to the treaty contract, and that I had obligations under it. I saw the contract as broken. I saw my role as being part of the solution, the reparations.
Now, when I hear “we are all treaty people” I understand that I not only have obligations, but I have derived incredible benefit from what settlers decided treaty did. It’s the reason I own my home and the (stolen) land it sits on. It’s the reason my family calls ourselves Canadian. Until I got to law school, I never thought to ask how settler law became the law. Or how the land became the Crown’s sovereign territory. It just was.
Dr. Lindberg had us read Two Families by Harold Johnson. Johnson writes of treaty as family-making, as connecting two peoples as cousins. We’re all called to be part of keeping the promise now.
In my role as mother, it seems to me that helping my children understand what it means that we are all treaty people is among the most important ways I can be part of keeping the treaty promise. If you’d like to hear how the beginning of that conversation went with my five-year-old, you can listen to it here.
Working with the ReconciliACTION YEG team this year is the next part of those conversations - with the team, with you - the readers, with my kiddos, and with myself. I hope that, together, we’ll have a dialogue that is part of action towards reconciliation. I’m grateful for the opportunity and excited to get started.
Until next time,