Grade levels: 8-10

Lesson Objective: The Learner Will Be Able To:
  1. Describe some of the basic ideas of the belief system of the Southern Tutchone speakers in the Mount Logan area regarding connection to the land and animals.
  2. Perform independent research to add to their knowledge in this area.
  3. Demonstrate their own beliefs regarding interconnectedness of humans, plants and animals, and the physical environment.


  • Computers with internet access.
  • Note-taking sheet
  • Art supplies
  • Reference materials on First Nations connections to the land, such as:
McClellan, Catharine

1975: My Old People Say. An Ethnographic Survey of Southern Yukon Territory. 2 parts. [=National Museum of Man Publications in Ethnology, Nos. 6(1) and 6(2).] National Museums of Canada, Ottawa.

1987 A History of the Yukon Indians. Part of the Land, Part of the Water. With Lucie Birckel, Robert Bringhurst, James A. Fall, Carol McCarthy and Janice R. Sheppard. Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver

Sturtevant, William, General Editor

1981 Handbook of North American Indians. Volume 6. Subarctic. June Helm, Volume Editor. Smithsonian Institution, Washington.

*There are many great resources available. I suggest talking to your local librarian, or college or university anthropology and First Nations studies offices.
Pens, pencils.

Lesson Process:

1. Hand out note-taking sheet. Inform students that there are three parts to today’s lesson. First, they will access the Mount Logan website on the Virtual Museum of Canada. They are to go to the First Nations section, and then to the Traditional Knowledge subsection. The sections on the note taking sheet are correlated to the different parts of this subsection. Today, they will read the first section of the website, Relationship of the People with the Land, Animals and Natural World, completing the appropriate section of their notes sheet as they go. (20 minutes)

2. The second task for today’s lesson is to do web-based or book-based research on First Nations relationships with the land. They should take approximately 15 minutes to explore what more they can learn about these relationships, either of the Southern Tutchone speakers or of other First Nations. After that, they will take five minutes to share what they have learned with the rest of the class. Stress that each Nation has its own history, culture, language and belief system. There are a number of common ideas, but also a lot of diversity among the First Nations, Metis and Inuit people. HINT: students can find a lot of information just by searching for “Kluane First Nation,” “Champagne and Aishihik First Nation,” “Southern Tutchone” etc.

3. Alternate second task: At your discretion, you may choose to direct students to research a local First Nation in your area, or if there are First Nations students in your class, they may choose to research the underlying beliefs of their own culture. They can compare and contrast the ideas of their own culture with those of the Southern Tutchone people.

4. The third task, for the last portion of the class, is one in which students examine their own beliefs about interconnectedness. They should take ten minutes of quiet time with a paper and pen or journal, just to jot down random ideas which come to mind when they think of their relationship to the land, animals, plants, atmosphere, etc. You may assist their musing with a few questions on the board:

  • What do you feel connected to in the environment?
  • What does “interconnectedness” mean to you”
  • How do you interact with plants, animals, air, and land as part of your life?
  • What would happen if some of these elements were taken away?
  • Are humans part of the natural environment or separate from it?
  • What are your beliefs about the relationship between humans and the natural environment?

5. After musing and brainstorming for 10 minutes, students must find a way to express their beliefs about interconnectedness. They may choose from a variety of means of expression. For example, one student may choose to write a short essay or well-developed paragraph. Another may choose to express him or herself artistically or through photographs, magazine clipping collages or sculpture. Students may choose to express themselves through writing music, a rap, or creating a short skit. They have the rest of the class to develop their means of expression, and must complete the project for homework. It should be presented in class either the next day or the following.

6. Assessment and evaluation: As students are working, the teacher should circulate, checking the notes-taking page to ensure that it is complete and accurate, ensuring that students are on-task and engaged, etc. The students will need the information on the notes page in order to complete the final quiz.