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Learning about Treaty in Manitoba through ArcGIS StoryMaps

ArcGIS StoryMaps are a great tool to engage students and present information in an interactive way.  Find out how the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba (TRCM) created their own resource to teach Treaty in Manitoba aimed at educating K-12 students and the general public.

A few months ago, I met Connie Wyatt Anderson, the Treaty Education Lead at the TRCM to chat about her work on the “What’s your Treaty Story?” resource. I first learned about the project through an avid ArcGIS user and Manitoba educator, Rob Langston.

I wanted to understand the purpose of the Treaty resource and how TRCM were planning to promote its use to K-12 educators. I also wanted to learn more about the resource and why they decided to make it an ArcGIS StoryMap.

This post will cover the project and the people involved in making an outstanding resource that can be used by educators across the country!

An image of old and new Winnipeg – this is the cover image of the What’s Your Treaty Story? resource.

This story map resource is a great example of how you can use ArcGIS StoryMaps in your teaching.

Connie, tell us about yourself – your role at TRCM and your education experience

As the TRCM Treaty Education lead, my primary tasks are to facilitate and help design Treaty Education training sessions and create our ever-growing suite of teaching and learning materials. I have been involved with Treaty Education since 2009-2010. I was the co-writer of the initiative as a whole.  

My professional background is in Education. I am a high school history and geography teacher, as well as an instructional designer. I taught for 22 years on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation, a First Nation community next to the town where I live, The Pas, Manitoba.  

I have been involved with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS)  and Canadian Geographic Education as Manitoba representative, as Chair, and a board liaison since 2010. I currently sit as VP of the RCGS and am chair of the Geographical Names Board of Canada.  

A woman wearing glasses, short hair smiling.

Connie is a passionate educator in Manitoba who supports geographic education in Canada. Image source: RCGS.

Tell us about the “What’s your Treaty Story?” story map

The idea behind the story map was to engage teachers and learners (as well as the general public) in the story of the Manitoba Numbered Treaties. The aim was for people to literally find themselves on the ground and immerse themselves in the history and present realties of the Treaty relationship.  

The resource includes maps that allow it to be user-driven and dynamic. It is also fortified with primary sources, a timeline, and videos featuring the knowledge of Elders. Users can navigate it based on their ability, personal knowledge, and quest to learn more.  

Ideally, we want the resource to be used as a teaching tool across the K-12 educational landscape, as we are going to pen a learning complement for the story map showcasing it at our training sessions.  

Just like all our other Treaty Education’s pedagogical materials, this resource will be linked to the Manitoba K-12 curriculum.

A map of Canada showing Dakota Treaty.

Learn about Treaties in Manitoba through this story map.

Who helped you with the creation of the story map and what was the process? 

From beginning to end, it was a group undertaking to get this resource completed.

While sitting on the Canadian Geographic Education board, I met Rob Langston, a fellow Manitoba geography teacher. He’s  based out of Brandon and is an expert in geographic information systems (GIS) and digital mapping. When we at the TRCM conceived the idea of a Treaty map, he was the first person that came to mind to help with the project. 

The Treaty Education Manager, Amanda Simard guided the process, while I was the primary writer and researcher. Rob designed and created the story map, as well as worked with Esri Canada’s Education and Research group to get an ArcGIS Online subscription set up for TRCM.

As per Treaty Education processes, the map text was reviewed by education advisor, Cynthia Bird and progress reports were provided to the TRCM's Elders Council.

Rob has been an integral part of the story map’s development and the Treaty Education group is thankful for his expertise.  

How is this story map being promoted to Manitobans and the general public?

The TRCM is presently set to open a Learning Centre at the Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg. The centre will serve as a public space for people to learn about Treaties and their role in the enduring relationship they created. It will also serve as a training session for teachers and other professionals.  

This past summer, our team created a large 8-foot banner with a QR code that leads people to the story map. We showcased it for the first time at our annual teacher summer institute -  where teachers got a chance to explore it and were very excited about the prospect of using it in their classes! 

The banner will be featured in the learning centre, and we hope to have the story map available for visitors to interact with it via a touchscreen application on a table or wall mount digital screen.   

An image presenting the text “What’s Your Treaty Story?” with a QR code for people to connect to the story map resource.

The “What’s your Treaty Story?” banner will be present at the Learning Centre at the Forks in Winnipeg later this month. 

What’s next?

At present, we have planned to continue to grow the Treaty story map by adding more Elders videos and learning assets. In the future, we plan to create more resources using ArcGIS online for our education program as it’s a great tool to present geographic and historical information.

Thank you, Connie for sharing the story map project with us. It’s a great resource that can be used by educators across Canada and it’s a great example of what is possible with ArcGIS StoryMaps!

We want to hear from educators

Do you have a resource you want to share? Email us at

New to ArcGIS Online?

If you are new to ArcGIS Online, educators can request an account for themselves and their students at

Explore the Esri Canada K-12 Resource Finder to find other resources for your class.

Check out the following beginner resources to get started with ArcGIS Online:

For Educators - Let’s get started with ArcGIS Online
Explore the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For Students – Enroute with ArcGIS Online

Using ArcGIS Online and want to learn more?

Discover Story Maps

This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.

About the Author

Angela Alexander is a K-12 Education Specialist in the Esri Canada Education and Research group. She has over 15 years of experience working with educators across Canada. Angela focuses on producing geographic information system (GIS) and curriculum-specific resources, and conducting and creating custom workshops for educators. She manages the GIS Ambassador Program and is the Technical Chair for the annual Skills Ontario GIS competition. Angela also writes monthly posts for the Esri Canada Education and Research blog, highlighting K-12 educators and partners, new ArcGIS resources and GIS-related events.

Profile Photo of Angela Alexander