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Evolution of
a Treaty Dictionary

A Treaty Dictionary for the 2RowFlow Cultural Commons has been in development since 2018. We have conducted UX Research with Settlers while using social media as our main source of information on what terms should be included in the Treaty Dictionary. We listen to both First Peoples and Settlers and note popular words and unusual words that are used in everyday conversations. We have also explored various ways of presenting this dictionary. Eventually, we will have all members of this commons, Settlers and First Peoples create their own Treaty Dictionary. This will be made from words they add or the most words that already exist in the Treaty Dictionary which will be listed on the Commons. We have considered various concepts and created several prototypes for this dictionary. Examples are posted below, in chronological order for review. 


Currently consolidating the most popular words for each letter of the English Alphabet which have been collected over the past 3 years to be listed in the main Treaty Dictionary for this Cultural Commons. All of the words in the Dictionary were heard and spoken multiple times in various contexts over the last 5 years before being posted on Twitter. Each word will include an image and a link to a Twitter post which in turn, provides more context about the word. 


NFT's had a moment in 2021 in which we considered creating a Treaty Dictionary collection. The mockup for this  collection reflects the look we would like for the final dictionary. This occurred while we were working on a prototype for an online course to be offered through the Commons entitled:

Social UX for Indigenous Youth 

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Created a persona for a Settler Ally named "Angela". Explored models to clarify the intent and information of the commons and for the Treaty Dictionary.


Explored the idea of creating unique images for each letter of the Treaty Dictionary which could be made into posters or a printed book. The selection of a single word for each letter of the alphabet, along with the images associated with said word can reveal a lot about the context of the word. 

Below are two examples. 

A is for Airplane

This image was created in December of 2019, on the eve of the COVID pandemic. The Covid virus which was already active in Wuhan, China and about to travel with humans, in airplanes, to all corners of the world by early 2020 was in the making. Ironically, this image, created by a Settler, is about the hubris of Western Culture with respect to technology. It references the Greek Myth of Icarus who flew too close to the sun and melted his wings which were made of wax. It echoes the hubris of Settlers on Indigenous lands in the West who continue to ignore the interconnectedness  that First Peoples have to Living Systems, including their relations to the Animals, Plants and Insects found within Nature. In retrospect, it also reveals the hubris of those who engineer viruses in labs, in spite of warnings, as to the possible impacts they might have on the world should there be a "lab leak." 


W is for Wet'suwet'en

This image is a collage of different aspects of the relationship between First Peoples and Settlers, in the Nation State of Canada, especially in British Colombia which is on largely unceeded territory, which means no Treaties were signed between Settlers and First Peoples. Below is some background on this contested land, from Wikipedia. 

"In 2018 and 2019 controversy around a pipeline project "highlighted important divisions within the leadership structure of impacted First Nations: elected band councils established by the 1876 Indian Act support the project, but traditional hereditary chiefs of the Wetʼsuwetʼen people oppose the project on ecological grounds and organized blockades to obstruct construction on their traditional land." "In 2019 and 2020, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) entered the blocked area and cleared road access for construction using the threat of lethal force,[3] arresting several of the land defenders. The 2020 arrests sparked widespread protests across Canada in solidarity with the original protests." 

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Conducted UX research with 6 Settlers, largely based in Vancouver, BC and Alberta on what they would like to learn about First Peoples within the framework of the original "grandfather" treaty known as the Two Row Wampum and how we might go about  the process of "self educating". Based on that research we created a prototype for this framework and a folksonomy to support it. 

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Finding, Reflecting on and Archiving knowledge related to Treaty Relations is the purpose of our wiki on this Cultural Commons. This wiki was co created by Settlers who desire to fufill their Treaty obligations and learn about the Laws, Ways and Customs of First Peoples. From this UX Study emerged the concept of a Treaty Dictionary.

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