Quills Subject Area: History

Ceremony Ensures Right Relations with the Land -Indigenous Knowledge

Students learn about Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee ceremonies and land-based practices that enter community members into reciprocal relationships with the natural world. Students reflect on their own cultural traditions that encourage reciprocity with the natural world.

The Importance of Storytelling

Teacher is introduced to the importance of storytelling to Indigenous ways of knowing and being and the value of integrating Indigenous Knowledge into STEM teaching and learning.

How Does Language Mirror and Shape Our Relationship to Land?

Students explore how language affects and mirrors our relationship to land, by learning Anishinaabemowin and Kanyen’kéha words. Students also learn the Indigenous origin of many local place names.

Culminating Activity: Becoming a Change Maker

After communicating with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership, students propose a plan for how to deal with a local climate change issue. Students are provided with different options for how they will demonstrate their understanding.

Manoomin and its Preferred Growing Conditions

Students learn about the cultural significance of Manoomin for the Anishinaabe and about its preferred growing conditions. Next, students hypothesize and conduct tests to determine whether Manoomin could grow at their location.

Tracking and the Secret Life of Animals

Students learn what signs in nature reveal about local animal behavior and how to identify animals through the tracks they leave behind.

Getting to Know Animal Behavior

Students learn about the ongoing importance of hunting and trapping to local Indigenous groups and choose an animal of cultural significance to local Indigenous groups to research and learn more about.

Ceremony Ensures Right Relations with the Land

Students learn about Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee ceremonies and land-based practices that enter community members into reciprocal relationships with the natural world. Students reflect on their own cultural traditions that encourage reciprocity with the natural world.

Western STEM Connection- Forest Succession

Students review a locally conducted STEM study focused on soil’s ability to sequester carbon throughout different stages of vegetation succession. Students learn how to visually identify nutrient-rich vs. nutrient-poor soil.

Culminating Task: Spreading the Word about Invasives

Students pick an invasive species to research and report on. Research must touch on the impact the species has on Indigenous land-based practices and how management practices are informed by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing.

Emerald Ash Borer: A Threat to Basket Weaving

Teacher leads a discussion with students about how black ash trees across Ontario, used to harvest wood to create black ash baskets, are currently threatened by the emerald ash borer.

Dutch Elm Disease: A Threat to Longhouses and other Building Materials

Students learn about Dutch Elm disease and its impact on Elm trees and Haudenosaunee tools. Through a communicable disease lab students recognize the parallels between the transmission of Dutch elm disease and human diseases such as tuberculosis.

Transportation – Snowshoes

Students learn about snowshoe designs utilized by local Indigenous groups. Next, students can engage in an optional extension activity in which they examine how traditional snowshoe designs reduced pressure upon the snow by dispersing weight over a larger area. Students learn how to calculate pressure by converting metric units into international system of units (SI).

Haudenosaunee Basket Weaving

Students learn about the cultural significance of basket weaving to the Haudenosaunee. As an extension teachers may choose to have students weave their own baskets that integrate patterning principles.

Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen (The Words That Come Before All Else)

Students learn the The Ohen:ton Kariwatehkwen (The Words that Come Before all Else or the Thanksgiving Address) and reflect on how it positions humans in a rich, interdependent web of relationships with elements in the natural that must be related to with reciprocity. As an extension students journal in an outdoor sit spot about what they are grateful for in nature.

Culminating Task: Town Hall Meeting

Students take on the role of different people/animals affected by a water issue and have a town hall meeting to discuss its impacts.

Culminating Task: Environmental Issues and Activism Inquiry Project

A culminating activity for students to research a current Canadian environmental issue and design a social justice campaign for their school.

Broken Promises and Access to Clean Drinking Water in Indigenous Communities across Canada

With a focus on Constance Lake First Nation students learn about the lack of access to clean drinking water in Indigenous communities across Canada. Students also learn about how technology can be used monitor water health and other changes in the natural world.

Watershed Activity

Students learn about watersheds and how they relate to the value of interdependence and the Indigenous Law of Water. Students also consider parallels between Indigenous land-based knowledge and Western scientific knowledge.

Water in Song

Students listen to Anishinaabe water songs and the meaning behind them. Students reflect on how songs (music) possess power and can create powerful social change.

Water in Ceremony

Students learn about Indigenous ceremonies that are related to water. Students research another culture’s ceremonies related to water and share them with the class.

Trade and Travel

Map an Indigenous trade and travel route along Canada’s first highway, navigating waterways from Kingston to Mexico.

Names of Water

Students research the original Indigenous names for local waterways and create a map with those names.

Medicine Wheel Teachings

Learn about the four parts of the medicine wheel, collect items from nature and create a story that connects items.

Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen (The Words That Come Before All Else)

Students review the Ohèn:ton Karihwatéhkwen (The Words That Come Before All Else) and consider the centrality of water to Haudenosaunee and other local Indigenous groups.

Drawing on Two-Eyed Seeing to Seek Solutions to Real World Issues 

Students explore Indigenous and Western perspectives on forests. Examining logging protests that occurred in Fairy Creek, BC as a case study, students consider how drawing on two-eyed seeing can help to generate meaningful solutions to complex global issues.

Two-Eyed Seeing

Students discuss what Indigenous land-based knowledge and Western science is with their teacher and generate an understanding of how to foster knowledge mutualism.

Giving Thanks to the Water

Students practice reciprocity by releasing their good intentions and thoughts into a local water source.

Water Walkers

Students learn about Water Walkers and the important work they do protecting local water sources.

Two-Row Wampum

Students learn about the two-row wampum and how it can be used as a metaphor for using Indigenous land-based knowledge and Western science together. Students design wampum inspired beadwork to consolidate their learning.

The Honorable Harvest

Students reflect on the plants and animals around them that provide for their holistic well-being and learn about the Honorable Harvest and how it relates to the gifting of tobacco.

Indigenous Resurgence

Students learn about the ability of Indigenous resurgence to revitalize Indigenous lifeways and engender empowerment within community. Students engage in a beading project as an example of Indigenous resurgence.

Food Production – The Grinding Stone

Students learn about the grinding stone used by the Haudenosaunee to prepare food and reflect on the importance of caring for the tools we rely on as well as the natural materials they are sourced from.

What is Seed Saving and Why is it Important?

Through discussion students learn about how seed saving, as a form of Indigenous resurgence, helps local community members both foster food sovereignty and adapt to climate change.

Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge

Through discussion and plant identification activity, students learn about Indigenous Land-Based Knowledge. Students also examine a case study community members monitor, understand, and raise awareness about how climate change is impacting the whitefish population.

Taking Responsibility to Reduce the Effects of Climate Change

Students learn to distinguish between the natural vs. human-caused greenhouse effect and discuss how colonization disrupted relationships characterized by reciprocity with the natural world and in so doing has contributed to the greenhouse effect.

Land Acknowledgement Workshop

Students learn how to construct a meaningful, personalized, land acknowledgement in which they articulate the ways in which they are actively working towards reconciliation and striving to live in reciprocity with the land in a manner that will protect it for the next 7 generations.

Land-Based Meditation

Students engage in a land-based meditation reflecting on how they can live in reciprocity with the land. Following this, teacher leads a discussion with students regarding the nature of the Original Instructions that are transmitted through the land to Indigenous peoples.

Creation Stories and Language

Students listen to the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee creation stories and reflect on how these stories have shaped Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee culture. Students learn about how Indigenous ways of knowing and being are contained in Indigenous languages and the impact of colonization on language loss.

Colonization and Our Changing Landscape

Students will explore how different landscapes change within 20-30 years from urbanization. Students can then extend this thinking to a timeline before colonization, and how the present landscape will look 100 years from now.