Taco Day celebrates Treaty Week at Manitoulin Secondary School

Taco MSS Fundraiser
Students flock to the Taco Day sale at Manitoulin Secondary School.

M’CHIGEENG—Manitoulin Secondary School students discovered a tasty way to commemorate Treaties Recognition Week as they lined up to take part in a Taco Day last week. Volunteer members of the Three Fires Confederacy student council were kept hopping in the kitchen as they assembled the tacos for teachers, staff and students.

Treaties Recognition Week took place this year from November 6-12. The week was established in 2016 as one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. The goal being to develop stronger understandings and awareness of our respective nations’ treaty relationships with an eye to moving all of us towards reconciliation.

Three Fires Confederacy staff advisor Karen McGraw took a moment out during a lull in the action to talk a bit about the event and plans for coming events at the school. Ms. McGraw noted that during Treaties Recognition Week and throughout the school year, students study treaties (including the early wampum belts constructed to commemorate and define the Indigenous perspective of the treaties), the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Robinson-Huron Treaty of 1850, the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement and a detailed analysis of the Treaty of Manitoulin Island from 1862.

It’s not all book learning and lectures though. Classes take part in Water Drum Teachings/Nibi Gwiisens Dewegan Kinoomaagewin virtually with Mike Bisson. Those classes are offered through the Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin and the Anishinabek Nation. 

The Taco Sale enjoyed by all on Thursday, November 10 was a great example of innovative approaches to building bridges toward reconciliation. Outdoor education and day treaty classes will take in the ‘Island of the Great Spirit’ video series about Manitoulin and local area treaties following a beading lesson with Indigenous Support Worker Becky Abotossaway-Madahbee. 

A treaty display will be posted in the Three Fires Room which had resources about Indigenous veterans who were honoured on November 8 (Indigenous Veterans Day). 

Ms. McGraw noted that it is important for students to learn about the Indigenous contributions made in Canada’s defence, but also the disparity in how Indigenous veterans were treated upon their return.

For many students, such reflections on history provide the foundations for understanding why our nation needs to follow a path of reconciliation, it is a history that is poorly understood by most Canadians.

The Taco Day sale is also aimed at raising funds for many student events, including the school powwow.

Among the many things happening at the school is the creation of a school drum and plans are in the works for a school eagle staff.

In the meantime, MSS is working its way toward reconciliation one delicious bite at a time.