For the past little while, the TALONS Socials 10 class has been exploring learning outcome B2, which focuses on the impact of interactions between First Nation peoples and European explorers/settlers in Canada from 1815 to 1914. What interests me about this topic is the fact that it’s something I’ve rarely heard of- which brings up some thoughts and feelings that I think were accurately portrayed by the mood in the class after our in-class reading of an excerpt from Richard Wagamese’s “Indian Horse” – upset and disappointed, but most prevalently confused as to why I didn’t know about it earlier.
I think it says something that I’m more well versed in the political racial issues of the United States rather than those of my own country. When someone asks me to tell them about racism, I can talk about the oppression of African Americans, of Ferguson and Baltimore, of Freddie Grey, Eric Garner, Antonio Martin, Michael Brown, and the countless others, but I can’t say quite so much about the atrocities that occurred (and some that are still occurring) in my own country to those of First Nation ancestry. And judging by the fact that a home grown Canadian citizen hadn’t fully known of these issues until a couple weeks ago, I think it’s safe to say that the rest of the world has no clue what happened on these lands from 1815 to 1914. Which makes me wonder- Would the rest of the world think of Canada as accepting and peaceful as it does now if it knew what the founders of this country had done to get it to where it is today? Canada, home to the friendliest, kindest, and most apologetic people you’ll ever meet, except we’re still trying to figure out how to say sorry to the people we removed both physically and culturally from their own land.
Which leads me to my next topic- While I am intrigued by the fact that I didn’t know about these issues sooner, I’m also interested by how this issue of land ownership (the laws, land claims, and all other related First Nation/government interactions and relations such as treaties from 1815-1914) has been transferred to modern day. Some questions I have about this are:
Were there any changes to the land claims between 1815-1914 and modern day (time frame that is not covered in the grade 10 curriculum)?
What are the current states of First Nation land claims?
How is the government dealing with them?
What are some examples of land that has been returned to the control of First Nations peoples?
And of course the ever present:
How does one go about taking action to help solve this issue?
I’d also like to focus these questions around British Columbia, mainly because I think it’ll be more interesting to see how this part of Canadian history affects and relates to myself and my home.
So how does this topic connect to other areas of the curriculum? I think these topics relate to most of the ‘E’ section, as it deals mostly with the use of land/resources in Canada after confederation, as well as settlement and economic development, all of which would be affected by First Nation land claims. This topic could also relate a bit to D3, which focuses on describing the development of BC’s economy through resource-based industries, an industry that would be affected by First Nation land claims.