LAND CLAIMS: A CASE STUDY IN CANADIAN NATIONS
On 26 June 2014 the Tsilhqot’in First Nation won a precedent-setting Supreme Court Case, gaining title to 1900 square kilometres of land in British Columbia. This was the first time in history that any First Nation group has won title. This unit takes that modern court victory as a starting point for analyzing contemporary and historical issues in Canadian society. It deliberately makes extensive use of primary source documents from newspapers, journals, treaties, and court cases so that participants can read first-hand voices that shaped these events.
The Tsilhqot’in case and victory are based on a complex web of factors, and this unit reflects that. There are components about the Cariboo Gold Rush, smallpox, British colonial documents, legal precedents, and creation stories. Just as the complex society we live in is the product of the interplay of myriad people and events, so is this unit.
The unit could take anywhere from a week to a month, depending on how much time you want to put into it. As teachers, we face many pressures to do many things. You are the expert and can use the unit in whole or in part. Many sections are already ‘condensed’ into short presentations so that you can spend more time on other sections if you prefer.
The whole unit culminates in a simulation suitable for large groups of students. Along the way, there are a variety of activities that include document analysis, writing, small group discussion, group and individual work, and a Socratic Seminar.