This unit has been developed to accompany the First Nations section of the Mount Logan site on the Virtual Museum of Canada, specifically involving the First Nations Introduction, Yukon First Nations, and Importance of Oral History subsections.. It may be used as part of the overall educational program developed for the Mount Logan site, as an independent unit, or as part of a First Nations Studies unit. The curriculum links provided are from the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol on Education (WNCP), Aboriginal Language and Culture Project, and Social Studies Common Curriculum Framework, and are one way of using the unit. However, you may adapt the unit to your grade level or your class’s focus and abilities.

The First Peoples of Canada are a group of diverse nations with different traditional languages, cultural practices, spiritualities, and lifestyles. Learning about different nations, both their traditional and modern lifestyles, helps us to understand ourselves and each other better. It helps us to truly appreciate Canada as a country full of diversity, and to honour the differences we find here instead of judging them. This unit is intended to be a guide towards an understanding of a number of groups who live in the area of Mount Logan, in the southwestern section of current-day Yukon Territory, and who speak the Southern Tutchone language.

Lesson plans offered:

Lesson One: First Nations Introduction
Lesson Two: Yukon First Nations One
Lesson Three: Yukon First Nations Two
Lesson Four: Importance of Oral History One
Lesson Five: Importance of Oral History Two
Lesson Six: First Nations Culture Day

Suggested extensions:

Contact local First Nations in your area. Find out who would be interested in assisting you in learning about local cultures and practices. Get to know who might be willing to come to your class to provide expertise during cultural activities. Ask about the importance of oral tradition in their culture. Invite speakers to your class. Find out if there are any recordings of oral stories at a local museum or university. Perhaps a storyteller would be willing to visit your school. Make sure to ask about appropriate respectful behaviour if you are inviting elders to your class, and ensure that your students are aware of how to show that respect. Perhaps your students could make cards and gifts of thanks for the people who come to your class. Create relationships between your classroom and the local First Nations.

As you work through the unit, you will discover that there are questions for the families/relatives of your students regarding storytelling or oral tradition in their own cultural backgrounds or families. This is an important part of the unit as it builds bridges of understanding among cultures, and shows that although practices vary from culture to culture, there are elements which are similar. This increases empathy and understanding.

Curricular Links:

Western and Northern Canadian Protocol on Education – Aboriginal Language and Culture Project.

Students will demonstrate the ability to:
participate in the practices and use of the products of their Aboriginal culture
understand the perspectives and underlying knowledge of their Aboriginal culture
willingly reflect on their relationships with themselves, one another and the natural world. (p. 36)

(This unit will assist in achieving two of these goals, not only as applies to their own specific culture but as applies to that of the Southern Tutchone speakers. They will have the opportunity to compare and contrast these ideas with those of their own culture.)

Cultural Understandings Each culture engages in practices that are based upon certain beliefs or ways of understanding the world. The outcomes in this section of the Framework relate to how a culture explains itself and its cosmos. The Framework provides foundational guidelines, suggesting that most understandings relate to the respectful and balanced relationships that one must develop in relation to people, animals, the spirit forces and oneself. The Framework also asks each culture to look at its world view throughout history, considering the effects of European fur traders and succeeding generations of colonizers. Each culture should also look at itself in the present and consider how it understands the current realities, especially in relation to basic values and foundational perspectives. (p. 36)

(This unit describes how the Southern Tutchone speakers in the area of Mount Logan define these practices, beliefs and ways of understanding the world. It focusses on traditional life, and then the next unit focusses on modern society.)

3. Laws of Mutual Support (continued)
3.2 Leadership: Personal Development
Level 4 (Gr. 7–8)

appreciating the role of the oral tradition in preserving the knowledge of traditional ways, and reflecting on personal responsibility in carrying the knowledge forward in that way. P. 76

Western and Northern Canadian Protocol on Education – Social Studies Common Curriculum Framework

This unit may be used to satisfy or contribute to the following curricular links from the WNCP Social Studies Common Curriculum Framework:

Grade 7 Values and Attitudes
Culture and Community
The Land: Places and People
Time, Continuity and Change

Grade 7
7-V-C-002: demonstrate care and concern for the well-being of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada
7-V-I-005: A value their First Nation, Inuit, or Métis language, heritage, and culture
7-V-T-010: appreciate and respect traditional indigenous ways of life
7-V-T-011: appreciate the influence of the past on the present and the future
7 K CC 010: Give examples of the influence of Aboriginal, French, British and other cultural groups on culture and identity in Canada.
7 K L 012: Give examples of ways in which Northernlatitude and climate influence life and culture in Canada.
7 K T 031: Demonstrate understanding of how traditional social structures and ways of life helped people survive in circumpolar regions.

Grade 8:
8 V L 008: Respect diverse perspectives regarding therelationship between humans and the land.
8 K L 016: Give examples of the influences of the natural environment on ways of life and worldviews in societies studied.
8 K L 017: Give examples of ways in which the natural environment influenced technological development in societies studied.
8 K L 018: Analyze the movement and settlement patterns in societies studied.
8-V-T-009: appreciate oral traditions, stories, legends, and myths as sources of historical understanding
8 V T 010: Appreciate that knowledge of societies of the past helps to understand contemporary societies.
8-VE-016: appreciate the significance of technological achievements of societies of the past.
8-K-E-037: describe the role of trade and transportation in societies studied
8-K-E-039: give examples of technological achievements of societies studied
8-K-E-040: identify tools and technologies of past societies that have a continued impact in themodern world
8-K-E-041: describe how the inventions and technologies of a society may reflect its worldview
8-K-E-042: give examples of goods, products, crafts, services, or work in societies studied
8-K-T-025: demonstrate understanding of stories, oraltraditions, legends, or myths of societies studied