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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.

How to develop attitudes?

  • The six different styles of First Nations literature, the wide variety of topics and issues addressed, and the variety of styles of literature will provoke many ideas and emotions with students.
  • Great insight into the successes and struggles of First Nations groups.

What important ideas are implied by the resource, but not taught explicitly?

  • Aboriginal students are taught literature they can relate to.
  • Non-aboriginal students should be educated about the First Nations culture, history and contemporary life.
  • Aboriginal writing is rich and incorporates innovative uses of the English language.

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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        • Oral Language (Speaking & Listening)
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        • Step 4Relevant matches
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        • 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
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        • Comparative Civilization 12: Culture and Values
  • Manitoba
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        • Celebrate and build community
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        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
      • Social Studies
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        • Canada in the Contemporary World: Opportunities and Challenges
    • Grade 10
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        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Celebrate and build community
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        • Explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences
      • Family Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Family Studies Senior 2: Diversity in Society
    • Grade 11
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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
      • 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
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    • Grade 8
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      • Social Studies
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • Atlantic Canada in the Global Community: Culture
    • Grade 9
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    • Grade 11
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      • English/Language Arts
        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English 112/113: Reading & Viewing
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        • Step 4Relevant matches
        • English 122/123: Reading & Viewing
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  • Newfoundland & Labrador
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    • Grade 9
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        • Canadian Identity: Reflections on Canadian Identity: What it Means to be Canadian
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        • English 1201: Speaking & Listening
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        • English 1202: Reading & Viewing
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        • English Language Arts 2201/2202: Reading & Viewing
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        • English Language Arts 3201: Speaking & Listening
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  • Northwest Territories
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    • Grade 2
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        • Access and Explore
        • Comprehend & Respond
    • Grade 9
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      • 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
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    • Grade 9
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      • 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
Bias Minimization Good

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

Bias Minimization: Presents as many different points of view as necessary to fairly address the issue(s).
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:

The resource effectively addresses multiple dimensions of problems and solutions. These should include the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

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 problems is respected. A systems-thinking approach is encouraged.
Action Experience Poor/Not considered
Action Experience: Provides opportunities for authentic action experiences in which students can work to make positive change in their communities.
  • Poor = action activities poorly developed
  • Satisfactory = action opportunities are extensions instead of being integral to the main part of the activity
Action Skills Poor/Not considered
Action Skills: Explicitly teaches the skills needed for students to take effective action (e.g. letter-writing, consensus-building, etc.).
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: Actively encourages a personal affinity with non-humans and with Earth. For example, this may involve practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors.
Locally-Focused 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: Encourages learning that is locally-focused/made concrete in some way and is relevant to the lives of the learners.
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.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary 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.

Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Learning: Multidisciplinary= addresses a number of different subjects Interdisciplinary= integrated approach that blurs subject lines Good: The resource provides opportunities for learning in a number of traditional 'subject' areas (eg. Language Arts, Science, Math, Art, etc.). Very Good: The resource takes an integrated approach to teaching that blurs the lines between subject boundaries.
Discovery Learning Satisfactory

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

Discovery Learning:

Learning activities are constructed so that students discover and build knowledge for themselves and develop largely on their own an understanding of concepts, principles and relationships. They often do this by wrestling with questions, and/or solving problems by exploring their environment, and/or physically manipulating objects and/or performing experiments.

  • Satisfactory = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use & some direction on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides some opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event
  • Good = Students are provided with intriguing questions, materials to use, & make their own decisions on how to find answers. The learning involves unique experience & provides definite opportunity for an 'ah-hah' event.
  • Very Good = Students choose what questions to investigate as well as the materials/strategies to use to answer them.
Values Clarification 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 Clarification: Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
  • Poor = Students are not explicitly given an opportunity to clarify their own values.
  • Satisfactory = Students are given a formal opportunity to clarify their own values. The range of perspectives in the resource is limited, therefore, students do not have an appropriate amount of information to clarify their own values.
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 learning styles/different intelligences. They teach to both cognitive and affective domains. Accommodations are suggested for people with learning difficulties.
Experiential Learning Poor/Not considered
Experiential Learning: Direct, authentic experiences are used.
  • Satisfactory = simulation
  • Good = authentic experience
  • Very Good = authentic experience related to the primary goal of the lesson
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 used. Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events in real situations that can be used to examine 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.