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Aboriginal Literature in Canada

Secondary, Elementary, Middle

Description

Aboriginal Literature in Canada: A Teacher's Resource Guide consists of narrative comments along with the annotated bibliographies and related readings, explanations, interpretations and suggestions for six different Aboriginal cultures. The six cultures are Mi'Kmaq, Mohawk (Six Nations), Anishnabe (Ojibway), Cree, Metis and Okanagan. The Inuit culture has a few anthologies listed.

Very few student activities are listed, which is meant to encourage teachers to find their own voice in teaching Aboriginal literatures, engage in a dialogue with these texts, and bring in their own background. The few student activities that are listed have students compare several versions of legends, investigate the role of animals in stories and translate Cree poetry.

Aboriginal Literatures in Canada contains a wealth of selected literature by Aboriginal authors, native anthologies, texts, related readings, and suggested websites. It is a well-researched and insightful resource.

General Assessment

Strengths

  • The resource contains a wealth of Aboriginal literature for six First Nations groups across Canada.
  • The introductions and narratives give amazing insight into the culture and literature.
  • Vast amount of topics, issues and legends are covered.
  • The teacher guide is easy to follow and contains lots of contact information for literature.
  • A variety of literature is recommended for a wide range of abilities.
  • The resource gives the teacher the freedom to develop lessons based on the provided pieces of literature.

Weaknesses

  • This resource is not a Teacher Resource book full of Lesson Plans. That is not its intention. The resource gives a thorough list of Canadian Aboriginal literature and lots of insight into authors, culture and the literature.
  • Students will need background information prior to learning about the culture. This will foster respect and more understanding.
  • Only literature published in 2003 or earlier is included.

Relevant Curriculum Units

The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.

  • Step 1Select a province
  • Alberta
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 4
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture: Strategies
    • Grade 5
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture: Strategies
    • Grade 6
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture: Strategies
    • Grade 7
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture: Strategies
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture: Strategies
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture: Language Competence
        • Cree Language and Culture: Strategies
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, print, and other media texts
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences.
        • Respect,support and collaborate with others
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture 10: Applications
        • Cree Language and Culture 10: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture 10: Language Competence
        • Cree Language and Culture 10: Strategies
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Aboriginal Studies 10: Aboriginal Symbolism and Expression
        • Aboriginal Studies 10: Aboriginal Worldviews
        • Aboriginal Studies 10: Origin and Settlement Patterns
        • Aboriginal Studies 10: Political and Economic Organization
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend literature, and respond personally, critically and creatively
        • Explore thoughts, ideas,feelings and experiences
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture 20: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture 20: Language Competence
        • Cree Language and Culture 20: Strategies
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English 20: Comprehend literature, and respond personally, critically and creatively
        • English 20: Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences
        • English 20: Respect, support and collaborate with others
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Western Canadian History 20:Course Content
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Languages and Cultures
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Cree Language and Culture 30: Applications
        • Cree Language and Culture 30: Community Membership
        • Cree Language and Culture 30: Language Competence
        • Cree Language and Culture 30: Strategies
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Aboriginal Studies 30: Aboriginal Land Claims
        • Aboriginal Studies 30: Aboriginal Peoples in Canadian Society
        • Aboriginal Studies 30: Aboriginal Rights and Self-Government
        • Aboriginal Studies 30: Aboriginal World Issues
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend literature, and respond personally, critically and creatively
        • Create oral, print, visual and multimedia texts, and enhance the clarity and artistry of communication
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences
        • Respect, support and collaborate with others
  • British Columbia
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    • Grade 9
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      • English/Language Arts
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        • Oral Language (Speaking & Listening)
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
    • Grade 11
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Oral Language: Speaking and Listening
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Writing & Respresenting
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • First Nation Studies 12: Contact, Colonialism, and Resistance
        • First Nation Studies 12: Cultural Expression
        • First Nation Studies 12: Land and Relationships
        • First Nation Studies 12: Leadership and Self-Determination
        • First Nation Studies 12: Skills and Processes
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English Literature 12: Literary Analysis
        • Oral Language (Speaking and Listening
        • Reading & Viewing
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comparative Civilization 12: Culture and Values
  • Manitoba
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    • Grade 9
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      • English/Language Arts
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        • Celebrate and build community
        • Comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, print, and other media texts
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Celebrate and build community
        • Comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, print, and other media texts
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
      • Family Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Family Studies Senior 2: Diversity in Society
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Celebrate and build community
        • Comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, print, and other media texts
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
      • Family Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Family Studies Senior 3: Diversity in Society
      • History
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • History of Canada:First Peoples and Nouvelle-France
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Celebrate and build community
        • Comprehend and respond personally and critically
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
      • Family Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Family Studies Senior 4: Diversity in Society
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Citizenship and Sustainability:Area of Inquiry: Indigenous Peoples
        • Global Issues
  • New Brunswick
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 8
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Culture
    • Grade 9
    • Grade 10
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English 112/113: Reading & Viewing
        • English 112/113: Speaking & Listening
        • English 112/113: Writing & Other Ways of Representing
    • Grade 12
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English 122/123: Reading & Viewing
        • English 122/123: Writing & Other Ways of Representing
  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 9
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      • English/Language Arts
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        • Reading & Viewing
        • Speaking and Listening
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        • Canadian Identity: Reflections on Canadian Identity: What it Means to be Canadian
    • Grade 10
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English 1201: Speaking & Listening
        • English 1201:Reading & Viewing
        • English 1202: Reading & Viewing
        • English 1202:Speaking & Listening
    • Grade 11
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English Language Arts 2201/2202: Reading & Viewing
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    • Grade 12
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English Language Arts 3201: Speaking & Listening
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        • English Language Arts 3202: Reading & Viewing
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  • Northwest Territories
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 2
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and Explore
        • Comprehend & Respond
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Access and explore prior knowledge and experience of self and others
        • Comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, print, and other media texts, through a process.
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend literature, and respond personally, critically and creatively
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences
  • Nova Scotia
  • Nunavut
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 2
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • /Comprehend literature, and respond personally, critically and creatively
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • /Comprehend literature, and respond personally, critically and creatively
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend literature, and respond personally, critically and creatively
        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences
  • Ontario
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native Studies: Expressing Aboriginal Cultures: Challenges
        • Native Studies: Expressing Aboriginal Cultures: Identity
        • Native Studies: Expressing Aboriginal Cultures: Relationships
        • Native Studies: Expressing Aboriginal Cultures: Sovereignty
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English:Reading and Literature Studies
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native Studies: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Challenges
        • Native Studies: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Identity
        • Native Studies: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Methods of Historical Inquiry
        • Native Studies: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: Relationships
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English: Reading and Literature Studies
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices (Univ. Prep) Challenges
        • English: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices (Univ. Prep) Identity
        • English: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices (Univ. Prep) Relationships
        • English: Contemporary Aboriginal Voices (Univ. Prep) Sovereignty
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English: Reading & Literature Studies
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Issues of Indigenous Peoples in a Global Context (Univ./College Prep.) Sovereignty
        • Issues of Indigenous Peoples in a Global Context (Univ./College Prep.) Challenges
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English: Reading & Literature Studies
  • Prince Edward Island
  • Saskatchewan
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Assess and Reflect on Language Abilities
        • Comprehend and Respond
      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • The Roots of Society: Interdependence & Interaction
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native Studies 10: Community and Kinship: Aboriginal Perspectives
        • Native Studies 10: Economies: Aboriginal Perspectives
        • Native Studies 10: Governance: Aboriginal Perspectives
        • Native Studies 10: Identity and Worldviews, Aboriginal Perspectives
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English Language Arts A10: Comprehend and Respond
        • English Language Arts B10: Overall Expectations
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English Language Arts 20: Comprehend and Respond
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Native Studies 30: Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
        • Native Studies 30: Economic Development
        • Native Studies 30: Governance
        • Native Studies 30: Land Claims and Treaty Land Entitlements
        • Native Studies 30: Social Development
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • B30 Overall Expectations
        • English Language Arts
        • English Language Arts A30: Overall Expectations
  • Yukon Territory
    • Step 2Select a grade level
    • Grade 9
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Oral Language (Speaking & Listening)
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
    • Grade 10
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading and Viewing
        • Writing and Representing
    • Grade 11
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Comprehend and Respond
        • Self and Society
    • Grade 12
      • Step 3Select a subject
      • Aboriginal Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • First Nation Studies 12: Contact, Colonialism, and Resistance
        • First Nation Studies 12: Cultural Expression
        • First Nation Studies 12: Land and Relationships
        • First Nation Studies 12: Leadership and Self-Determination
        • First Nation Studies 12: Skills and Processes
      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Reading & Viewing
        • Writing & Representing

Themes Addressed

  • Indigenous Knowledge (2)

    • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews
    • TEK -- Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good

Aboriginal literature presented and explained from a variety of First Nations groups.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:

Satisfactory- absence of bias towards any one point of view

Good- students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed

Very good- based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Satisfactory

Hundreds of aboriginal resources listed that cover a wide range of topics including connections to homelands, colonization, genocide, the will to survive, spirits, love, culture, ecology and much more.

Teachers will need to ensure a systems-thinking approach is applied to the discussion and analysis.

Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  •  Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Satisfactory

Specific pieces of literature for each First Nations group are explained and respectfully critiqued. The issue does not necessary get 'solved'.

Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected

Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  •  Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Poor/Not considered

Teachers must engage students in dialogue or self-reflection in order for students to identify, to clarify and to express their opinions. By choosing literature that relates to their Canadian area, students will be more interested. More needs to be done to make the students care about the literature.

Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good

Literature recommended represents six different Canadian First Nations groups and covers a wide range of topics that foster respect for the importance of women, matrilineal and matriarchal social systems, peer acceptance, relationship with elders and much more.

Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory

Aboriginal literature has a message for a personal affinity with the Earth and non-humans, although the experience is not outdoors.

Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  •  Satisfactory:   connection is made to the natural world
  • Good:  fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good:  fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good

Teachers are encouraged to focus on the First Nations group close to the school. Making the literature more relevant to the learners.

Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good

Students will gain a strong sense of Aboriginal history and present conditions for First Nations peoples. A few pieces of literature predict and give recommendations for future generations.

Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good

The narrative comments, along with the annotated bibliographies and related reading lists, explanations, interpretations, and suggestions, are meant to encourage teachers and students to find their own voices in teaching and learning Aboriginal literature.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good

Aboriginal literature will cover a wide range of topics. It can be incorporated into a variety of health, science, ecology, geography, social studies, and, of course, English classes.

Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  •  Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory

A few student activities are suggested that encourage comparing and contrasting (e.g. legends). Teacher needs to engage students in dialogue.

Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  •  Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Satisfactory

Wide range of literature including websites has been presented. Literature will inform and provoke emotions.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  •  Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Poor/Not considered
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  •  Satisfactory: learning is made concrete. Working with real objects,  using real sources of information
  • Good: learning takes place in a real-world context. Simulation, mentorship
  • Very good: learning provides experience beyond the classroom.  Addressing real world issues and problems 
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory

Few student activities involving partner work are explained. Class discussion is strongly recommended.

Cooperative Learning: Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
  • Satisfactory = students work in groups
  • Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good = cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered

No assessment methods for students' knowledge or skills are recommended.

Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory

Partner work and class discussions are recommended.

Peer Teaching: Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
  • Satisfactory = incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good = an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Very Good

First Nations groups across Canada are presented with literature that features real events.

Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory

Reading and analyzing the literature will evoke emotions in students. Bringing in a student's background and discussing issues as a class will further enhance students' understanding of the work or issue.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.