Monday, November 19, 2018

Striving to Include Aboriginal Perspectives

The seniors voted to study Canada, among two other themes. Never has this class really delved deeply into the topic of Aboriginal perspectives. Yes, at Thanksgiving, I posted THIS VIDEO to give them something to think about and us something to talk more about. But--with their permission--I wanted to try to do more than that.

We started the unit by brainstorming what we THINK we already know about the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, on which most of us are settlers or descendants of settlers. Could we even say, perhaps, occupiers? The brainstorming session revealed that we think of native people in the past tense. So we talked about that and about the five or six most common stereotypes to come out of Hollywood and mass media.

Since I have a multilevel class and since the previous week's material had been quite challenging for some, I decided that a nice overview and starting point would be Joan Acosta's Best of the Reader - Canada's Aboriginal People. 

I've extended the content with the Heritage Minute about Chanie Wenjack and Gord Downie's short film The Secret Path.

Trying to find a suitable film created by an Inuit, First Nations or Metis individual on proved daunting. There are too many for me to preview them all! I chose to show To Wake Up the Nakota Language. We also used Our Home on Native Land interactive territory map.

I think a good final project might be for us to create a poster for the lobby acknowledging that our school is on land that is the traditional territory of the Attawandaron, Anishaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples.

As we work our way through this material, I provide opportunities for discussion and for deeper processing of the language we encounter as we read and listen.

You can find more helpful resources, especially for higher levels, on my LINKS page under Indigenous Perspectives / Reconciliation. If you know of other resources that should be listed there, please let me know.

How about you? How do you try to incorporate indigenous perspectives and the topic of reconciliation in your teaching?

#PBLA P.S. Check out the many powerful comments on my penultimate post.


  1. I teach CLB 2/3 this session and we are doing a reading project on Treaty 6 in Saskatchewan. I got this from Teachers Pay Teachers. Last session we opened the afternoon class with a land acknowledgement.

    1. Marcia,
      That's excellent. Today we also have begun opening class with a land acknowledgment. --KM

  2. Thanks for that LINKS page, Kelly!


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