Student-organized installation on Treaty 6 coming to humanities

Next week, students can take a break from studying to attend an installation of videos, poems, and research on different perspectives of Treaty 6.

The installation on the 140th anniversary of Edmonton’s adhesion to Treaty 6 will be in Humanities L1 from 2 to 4 p.m. on April 19. The presentation is the final project for students in WRITE 495 (Poetics of Treaty Six) and ENGL 308 (Aboriginal/Indigenous Literature: Intellectual Traditions).

Janine Mergl, a second-year Arts student and participant in the event, said the installation will provide historical context for Treaty 6, which is the agreement between the Canadian monarch and the indigenous groups in central Alberta and Saskatchewan.

“The installation is going to be very informational,” she said. “But it’s also going to be emotionally-charged because there’s going to be so many perspectives coming to this presentation and people are bringing their own background.”

The event is open to anyone and will also include traditional indigenous aspects such as dancing, singing, and drumming. Chief Calvin Bruneau and other members of the Papaschase First Nation will be attending the installation.

“Another component of the installation is recognizing that we’re all treaty people and everyone in Canada is able to occupy this land because of treaty,” Mergl said. “That’s why it’s relevant to everyone on campus.”

25 per cent of Mergl’s final mark for the class will come from her presentation at the installation.

“I’m a little bit nervous to present my own piece but I’m excited to have my perspective heard,” she said. “I’m excited for everybody; it’s a poetics class so you know students will be coming with some profound, poetic words and that’s what I’m excited for.”

Throughout the semester, Mergl and her classmates have been learning about Treaty 6, including the written document and the perspectives of elders who remember the promises that were made and weren’t kept. Mergl encourages anyone who enjoys creativity and history to attend the event.

“If you want to be woke, if you want to know the multiple sides of the truth, and if you want to be well-informed about the origins of Edmonton, then this is for you,” she said.