Land Issues Course
Addressing the First Nations’ Perspective
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. – Chief Seattle, 1854
MFNERC’s Research and Development department works on a number of different projects, with the goal of creating resources that reflect an Indigenous world view. As such, they have created posters, teachers’ kits, books, DVDs and courses for high school students. One such course is the Land Issues Course that has recently been updated and reprinted. The course covers five themes: Nature’s Law; Treaties, Constitution, and Statutes; Aboriginal Land Rights and Land Claims; Manitoba Hydro Development; and Northern Flood Agreement. Each theme has one general outcome and several specific learning outcomes, with total hours for the course equalling 110 or 1 credit.
The following is an excerpt from the “Teachers’ Notes” section on Unit 2 – Treaties, Constitution, and Statutes.
The spirit and intent of the treaties according to the First Nations
First Nations believed that the treaties were sacred, spiritual agreements and are still alive today. They believed that Creator was witness to the making of the treaties because the sacred pipes were smoked at the making of the treaties.
Watch on YouTube, “As Long as the Sun Shines – the spirit and intent of the treaties” by Chief Phil Fontaine, 2008. (6 minutes and 24 seconds).
Students will research online, and talk to Elders or local people and other teachers; find and record as much information as possible on the interpretation of the spirit and intent of the treaties for First Nations; record in point form; and present information to the class.
Students will meet in small groups to share, compare, and analyze information. The students will compile their information into one package and submit.
Reasons why First Nations made and accepted the treaties
Have a discussion on the purpose of First Nations making and accepting the treaties. Students will do resarch and record the different reasons. Their work will involve the first treaties, their locations and time periods. Treaties were signed for different reasons depnding on the timing and the area in which they occurred.
Have students imagine themselves at the age they are now but in a different era of time, back to the days before colonization. Write a paragraph of what life may have been like. Second, go into another era of time, when the first settlers came, and write about it. Third, the new era will be during the signing of treaties, and being ‘escorted’ to ‘your new home.’ Fourth, write about the present era – what life is like now in a First Nations community.
Describe how First Nations developed co-existing relationships by making treaties, alliances, and trading partners
Have students research about these relationships and print out material and make a poster. The students can create a logo, use pictures and print-outs and mount.
If you would like a copy of the Land Issues Course, please contact Olga McIvor, Research Facilitator at firstname.lastname@example.org.