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Category: Classroom Practice: Secondary

First Nations Traditional Plants and Uses

Source: Walking Together: Education for Reconciliation, Alberta Teachers’ Association

Focus:  Senior students

Summary: Many Indigenous Peoples share a holistic world view that has humans living in a universe made by the Creator and needing to live in harmony with nature, one another and with oneself. This world view has an interconnectedness and interrelatedness to all aspects of living on this earth. Each Indigenous culture expresses this world view in a different way and with different practices, stories and cultural items. First Nations ceremonies and cultural practices including powwows, sweat lodges, smudging, singing and dancing are expressions of spirituality within this holistic, balanced and harmonious world view.

BC First Nations Land, Title, and Governance Teacher Resource Guide (2019)

Source: First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)

Focus: Grades 2-12

Summary: The BC First Nations Land, Title, and Governance Teacher Resource Guide is designed to support the understanding of traditional and contemporary forms of First Nations governance specific to First Nations in BC. It provides background information relevant to all teachers and students, and provides suggested activities and resources for grades 2 to 12.

This guide is divided into six different multi-grade thematic units as well as additional support material.

The introduction offers key information to support and guide teachers in facilitating the respectful and meaningful inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in the classroom. While the first four units are organized by grade level, teachers will find activities in all of them that can be adapted to other grades as needed. Unit 5 and 6 can be applied to Grades 4-12.

Observing Snow: Toward a Culturally Responsive Curriculum

Source: Alaska Native Knowledge Network

Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: Observing Snow is intended as a journey to bridge the gap between the old and new, the traditional and the scientific, Native and Western approaches to education. A generation of sharp young minds from Native communities are encountering substantial roadblocks when faced with the typical western school curriculum. Observing Snow is an attempt to teach basic core subjects, especially science, and listening and reading comprehension, using materials that make sense to the Alaska Native student. Snow is a natural choice. Everyone who lives in the interior subarctic has a personal and intimate knowledge of snow.

Gabriel Dumont: Indigenous History

Source: Historica Canada

Focus: Senior Students

Summary: This lesson is based on viewing the Gabriel Dumont biography from The Canadians series and focuses on Dumont and the history of the Métis people. Through Dumont’s life, we can trace the culture of the Métis and identify the injustices that were inflicted upon them by an indifferent government.


With a variety of role-playing activities and debates, students will assess the life and accomplishments of Gabriel Dumont to gain a broader understanding of Métis culture and history.

Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History

Summary: Curriculum Connections for Ontario

A Teachers’ Guide is available for each of the twelve Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History, and includes background materials, activity sheets and detailed lesson plans for one or more grade-specific units for elementary or secondary students. Some suggestions are relevant for college and university classes. Just fill in our online registration form and download the guides in PDF format.

These are short, focused, age-specific, single-lesson MysteryQuests lesson plans relating to one or more of the Mysteries.

Teaching Guides: The Indian Act

Source: CBC

Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: In 1876, the young country of Canada passed a set of laws intended to govern First Nations people in Canada. Decades later, those laws still exist and are largely unchanged.

So, how and why did The Indian Act come to be? And why is it still on the books? This episode of The Secret Life of Canada explores the federal law that overhauled settler-Indigenous relations.

Possible teaching connections include Geography, History, Social Studies, Law, Civics, and Anthropology.
This teaching guide includes:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slideshow
  • Ad-free audio for download
  • Activity sheets
  • Episode transcript

Frontier School Division Social Studies 9-12

Source: Frontier School Division, Manitoba  

Focus: Grades 9-12

Summary: This page is the gateway to Grade 9-12 SS/NS resources that can be integrated into the provincial Social Studies Curriculum.  They may consist of material with an Aboriginal focus or relevant new material not yet available in existing texts. The inclusion of culturally-sensitive materials is based on the belief that affirmation of one’s culture and history can promote confidence and self-esteem, and lead ultimately to greater success in life. This is especially critical for Aboriginal students (defined here as Status and Non-Status Indians, Métis, and Inuit) within Frontier School District. Thus, one of SS/NS Department’s main roles is the creation/acquisition of materials with an Aboriginal focus. Not only can such material have a positive impact on Aboriginal students, they can also help non-Aboriginal students become aware of and sensitive to Aboriginal concerns.

Secret Path Lesson Plans

Source: The Manitoba Teachers’ Society

Focus: Elementary and Secondary

Summary: In October 2016, Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire formally launched the Secret Path, a book and CD which chronicles the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died after running away from Residential school in the 1960s.

As part of our ongoing commitment to engage teachers in reconciliation work, the Manitoba Teachers’ Society recently assembled a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous teachers from across the province to discuss and explore the Secret Path and to create lesson and unit plans to support the use of this resource for the teaching about Residential schools in Manitoba classrooms.

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