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This Rich Land
An activity for use with the Canada
in the Making site
When Europeans first came
to North America, they were looking for a shorter route to the gold, spices and
silk available in Asia. But once they were in North America, they discovered that
there was much more of value than just a route of passage. Beaver furs for the
hat-making craze in Europe and farmland for settlers, for example. Of course,
there was a problem: about 2 million Aboriginal peoples already occupying the
land - their land - which now makes up Canada. Much land - especially in the United
States - was simply seized. Ownership and rights over other land was obtained
by treaty. Some of these treaties were signed when Aboriginals had little choice,
either due to economic hardship or defeat in battle. This activity will give students
the opportunity to study each of the treaties and the geography of the lands involved
to learn what it was (and is) that makes Canada so valuable.
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Social Studies (History) and Language Arts
Ages 16 and up
learning activity will enable students to examine the geography of different treaty
areas in order to see what it was that made these areas valuable to Europeans
and Aboriginal peoples. They will look at the treaties to see how these resources
are dealt with, or how they were not, and what the immediate and long-term consequences
were for Aboriginal peoples. The entire activity should take between four to five
Note that the sources used in ECO can be printed
from the browser and then photocopied.
(WCP, APEF); Expectations (ON); Objectives (QC)
Table of Curricular Relevance by Course and Province
and Yukon Territory
Newspaper clippings or other periodical information on land claims settlements
of treaty disputes in Canada.
Computers with Internet access.
card/paper for map backing.
Student Work Sheet
Suggested Assessment Criteria
Early Canadiana Online: Canada in the Making
Essay writing resources can be found in the Writing An Essay unit
Other links can be found in the Student Work Sheet.
Students will need
An understanding of
Web navigation symbols, tools and terminology, particularly the tools used in
Familiarity with research and presentation skills.
A basic understanding of the basic shape of Canadian history,
especially from the 18th century on.
a recent treaty dispute together. Ask students what the dispute was about - land,
resources or other issues. In the case of land and resource disputes, discuss:
- What they think the basis of Aboriginal claims are.
Draw them to the conclusion that treaties were negotiated
to deal with questions of ownership and rights over lands and resources, and that
recent disputes are signs are a sign that these issues are still being negotiated.
Hand out Student Work Sheets
and introduce students to the ECO Canada In the Making Web site. Read the
assignment and discuss.
Assign each group a particular
treaty areas (or areas) to investigate. They may look at background material on
the ECO site or other sites.
Students search for
the required resource and geographical information for each treaty area.
Students examine the historical context and the text of the treaty
documents. They should discuss the European and Canadian government motivations
behind seeking the treaties, as well as the forces which pushed Aboriginal nations
to sign the treaties.
When all information has been
gathered, drafted, reviewed and printed as a final draft, groups should make short
presentations to the class.
Work could be assembled
on a presentation board with an enlarged map. Students could also use other forms
of presentation, such as Web sites. Students could assess one another's work using
a rubric created as a class.
were the main motives behind the treaties for Aboriginals and Europeans?
Which (Europeans or Aboriginals) do students think did better out of the treaties?
Do students think that current developments with respect to treaty renegotiations
and court challenges are fair? Why or why not?
the Suggested Assessment Criteria.
could research efforts to reform the Indian Act since 1965 and attempts to reform
the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. What are the federal government's
motives? Why are some aspects opposed by native groups? What do students think
should be done, especially in the area of financial transfers and self-government?