Gifts of the Earth and the Biodiversity Crisis

Grade 7

Big Ideas

  • Plants are sacred in First Nations culture and traditions. 
  • Plants carry important responsibilities. 
  • We must respect plants and harvest only what is needed.
  • We cannot own the land. The elements of the natural world are our relatives. 
  • The land can teach us how to live in a good way with our human and non-human relatives. 
  •  Human behaviour is changing the land in a manner that negatively affects human and non-human life.

Big ideas were developed out of conversation with the following local Indigenous Knowledge Keepers:

  • Deb St. Amant is Métis from Penetanguishene and Ojibwe (Bear Clan) from Henvey Inlet First Nation currently residing in Trenton Ontario.
  • Al Doxtator is Bear Clan, From On^yota’a:ka’ (Oneida) of the Thames First Nation. He is an Elder/ Culture advisor at Queen’s University.
  • Liv Rondeau is a Kanyen’kehá:ka (Akwesasne Mohawk Territory), Wolf Clan educator living and working in Katarokwi and the Vice Principal of Indigenous Education and Reconciliation Lead at the Limestone District School Board.
  • Adrianne Lickers is a Kanyen’kehá:ka Knowledge Keeper from Six Nations of the Grand River.
  • Tayohseron:tye, Nikki Auten is Kanyen’kehá:ka, Turtle Clan, from Kenhtéke Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
  • Yakothehtón:ni Jennifer E. Brant is Kanyen’kehá:ka, Bear Clan, from Kenhtéke Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, ON.
  • Lindsay Brant is a Kanyen’kehá:ka Knowledge Keeper from Kenhtéke Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.
  • Joe Pitawanakwat is an Anishinaabe Knowledge Keeper from Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Territory on Manitoulin Island.
  • Candace Lloyd is a Métis Knowledge Keeper whose family is from Cross Lake Island, Saskatchewan and Sault St. Marie, Ontario currently residing in Napanee, Ontario.
  • Kimberly Debassige is Anishinaabe from M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island currently residing in the urban Kingston Indigenous community. Kimberly chooses to focus her time on language learning and being in relationship with the natural world as a teacher.

Inquiry Questions and Activities:

Inquiry questions providing structure to this Learning Bundle were developed out of the Big Ideas listed above.

Please note that there are more activities in this Learning Bundle than one class will likely get through. Teachers should choose activities that align with the interests and learner profiles of their students. Teachers should also modify the activities and resources to meet the learning needs of their students.

Minds On Activity:

Inquiry Question 1. How does the biodiversity of a place impact humans and shape the culture of the people who live in it?

Inquiry Question 2. What is biodiversity? Why is biodiversity important? How does biodiversity impact ecosystem resiliency?

Inquiry Question 3: How does the culture of a group of people impact the biodiversity of a place?

Inquiry Question 4: What are some common threats to biodiversity?

Inquiry Question 5: How can humans interact with plants in a respectful and sustainable manner that promotes biodiversity? 

Culminating Activity Ideas: Enhancing Biodiversity by Living in Reciprocity with the Land.

For the culminating task, teachers can choose from one of the following activities based on the interests and learner profiles of their students.