Leia Laing and Naomie Fortier-Fréçon from Regina have won the Governor General’s History Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, will present the award in Rideau Hall on November 22, as part of the official Governor General’s History Awards ceremony.

The Treaty4Project enabled Fortier-Fréçon and Laing’s students to understand their generation’s ties to Treaty 4 (signed in 1874 at Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan, Treaty 4 ceded indigenous territory to the federal government). Through the participation of a wide range of stakeholders, the project—presented in several Regina Public Schools and Conseil des écoles fransaskoises schools—gave students an opportunity to explore the concept of reconciliation by engaging with members of their community. It also allowed them to acquire fundamental knowledge of history.

The principal aim of the Treaty4Project is for students to understand their generation’s relationship with Treaty 4 in Saskatchewan, both today and in the future. Through the participation of elders, Indigenous artists, university professors, activists, and education students, the project provides students with a chance to engage with community members and gain the fundamental knowledge they need to tackle very complex issues. The project was first implemented in 2015 with the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board and now has two main components. The first is a youth conference for high school students at the First Nations University of Canada, which features workshops, group discussions, and reflections on treaty history and education. As a new component in 2016, elementary students collaborate with a local artist on a project that explores the concept of reconciliation. Fortier-Fréçon and Laing are enthusiastic and dedicated to teaching Canadian history and the Treaty4Project serves as an example of how educators can incorporate meaningful acts of reconciliation in their classroom.