Treaty Book Talk: Shi-Shi-Eko

Treaty Book Talks

  • Locate and read a children’s or youth literature (suitable for a K-12 classroom) that has an Indigenous issue or perspective as its core theme. It must be written by an Indigenous author or produced in collaboration with an Indigenous community. The Indigenous issue or perspective must be relevant to the Canadian context, as well as treaty education. 
  • Write a short summary about the text (2-3 sentences).
  • Write a short description (2 paragraphs) of how this text could be used in a K-12 classroom, and what (interdisciplinary) curricular outcomes it would support related to treaty education. Use proper citation.
  • Its potential uses in the classroom 

Youtube video book read aloud:

The book connects to the following social studies outcome and indicator:

Curriculum Outcome: IN5.1 Demonstrate an understanding of the Aboriginal heritage of Canada. Indicator: Investigate the significant events and principle First Nations and Inuit leaders prior to and during the period of initial contact with Europeans.

Shi-Shi-Eko is a young girl in the summer who is savouring the last few days before she is sent off to a residential school. In her remaining days, she takes in the beauty of her culture and the world by storing them in a bag. She spends her little remaining time with her family and learns valuable lessons and gains wisdom about how to survive in the trying times ahead.

Activities for this book can include: examining the importance of family and family traditions, Looking at Indigenous culture and traditions (how they are similar and different). Investigating the importance of the land for Indigenous people, and comparing the land to our land now, comparing the past and present.

For treaty education, I would use this book in the classroom to introduce students to residential schools. This book never explicitly says that is where Shi-Shi-Eko is going but as a reader who has the background knowledge can infer that is where she is headed to. The book seems positive, however it has a somber feeling when read after knowing where Shi-Shi-Eko is going to school. I would read the story before the students learned of residential schools and would then read it again after the students learned about the schools. They would track what they thought before, during, and after learning and how this piece helped them understand why Shi-Shi was holding onto her memories and taking in the world around her before it is all ripped away from her. This book can also be used for students to understand a part of Indigenous culture and to further learn the impacts of residential schools. The bag of memories would become significantly devasting for students once they learned of the schools.

This book relates to truth and reconciliation because it is acknowledging the truth of the past in a way that is not normally narrated and sheds insight into what life was like for children before they were exposed to residential schools. The reconciliation piece comes in by exposing students to this content so they are able to make changes for a better future and to support causes that promote healing.

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