Students need to understand the history of Canada’s aboriginal peoples from a First Nations, Metis or Inuit perspective. Be sure to establish that the many different groups of Aboriginal peoples had many different practices and traditions. Many traditions and lifestyles did not transfer from tribe to tribe.
In order to understand be able to understand the impact residential schools had on Canada’s Aboriginal people it is important that we look at how First Nations people were treated up to residential schools. It is important to look in depth at the promises that were made such as the treaty promise of “the inherent right to education, health, child welfare, shelter, justice, hunting, fishing and trapping, as well as the right to land and resources”.
With your class it is important to diagnostically assess what you students already know about treaties. From this assessment and teachings on the background understanding of the traditions and practices from an Aboriginal perspective learning about residential schools will be an authentic experience because of the learning experience from an alternative perspective.
To understand the impact of residential schools on First Nations, Metis and Inuit people we must first look at the past. Middle year students are very curious. The goal here is to lead the students in, get them curious.
Focus questions to lead into discussion on residential schools,
- What issues lead up into the creation of residential schools?
- Why did they create residential schools?
- What were the traditions of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit before residential schools?
- How are the signing of the treaties connected to residential schools?
- What was education like before residential schools?