Title of Curriculum: Canada’s Natives Long Ago
- Native Americans (Make it Work! Series)
- Easy Make & Learn Projects: Southwest Indians
- Easy Make & Learn Projects: Northeast Indians
- Life in an Anishinabe Camp
- Life in a Longhouse Village
- Nations of the Northwest Coast
- Native Homes
- Life in a Plains Camp
- Life in the Far North
Authors: Donna Ward (Canada’s Natives), Alexandra Parsons and Andrew Haslam, Donald M. Silver and Patricia J. Wynne, Niki Walker, Bobbie Kalman
Illustrators: Marj Cassidy, Patricia J. Wynne, Barbara Bedell, Katherine Berti, Margaret Amy Salter and Bonna Rouse
ISBN for Canada’s Natives Long Ago: 9780968678824
ISBNs for Supplementary Resources: 9781587283017, 9780439241151, 9780439241168, 9780778704652, 9780778704621, 9780778704706, 9780778704638, 9780778704614, 9780778704690
Alethea’s Review (at age 12)
Last school year, we did a course on Canada’s history with a couple of friends. During this course, we used Canada’s Natives: Long Ago, with these other books as sort of on-the-side reference books.
Canada’s Natives: Long Ago is basically a manual for teachers, with information about seven groups of Native Americans. There are nine sections—the first one is titled “Canada’s Natives, Who are They?” It gives a short introduction to Canada and its Natives, and talks a bit about the Natives that are still here today. The next seven sections are about different groups of people—for example, the Inuit of the Arctic and the Natives of the Plateau. Each of these sections contains a list of Recommended Resources, a map of the area where the groups they’re talking about live, a true story about the group (or a story based on a true one), and a lot of information on the people, their food, their shelter and homes, how they move around and hunt, their work and customs, and sometimes travel and war. Sometimes there’s another story about a famous Native. After that, there are a few activities that kids can do (such as making a birchbark basket or playing Cat’s Cradle), and then there’s a Student Workpage, with things like crossword puzzles or word searches. The last section is for project resources and answer keys for the workpages.
How We Used It
The way we used Canada’s Natives: Long Ago was like this: Mum (or the mother of the other family we were doing it with) would read all the passages to us, show us the pictures, and sometimes summarize if they thought it was too long-winded. Sometimes they would print out the worksheets so that we could listen for the answers and write them down as they were read to us. We had a file in which we would put all of our completed worksheets. We didn’t really do any of the activities, though, because they didn’t usually have a lot of bearing on the lesson.
Northeast Indians and Southwest Indians also have lessons, but they’re a lot shorter. Each chapter has a short passage on how the project is connected to the Natives. After that, there’s a list of materials, and step by step instructions on how to make the model. There’s a pattern for the project that you print out and put together. There’s also a Do More! section, where they give you ideas on how to do more with the lesson, and a Teaching With the Model section, where there are questions the teacher can ask the students.
We did some of the activities from there (though we didn’t read the lesson), mainly to keep our hands occupied and to show us how things looked like. For example, we made the Look-Inside Longhouse from Northeast Indians, and that was really quite fun, if a bit kiddy.
The rest of the books (Life in an Anishinabe Camp, Life in a Longhouse Village, etc.) also have a lot of information, and some absolutely stunning illustrations and photographs, but we didn’t use them so much—only to look at the pictures occasionally. They do have a lot of facts, but we figured that there was quite enough with the Canada’s Natives: Long Ago.
I really enjoyed this curriculum. Canada’s Natives Long Ago goes extremely well with the two Easy Make & Learn Projects books. It’s geared towards elementary-aged students, and I think I’d recommend it for that age-level too. Although it might be too easy for some Grade 6 students.
If you want to know more about this course, or about curricula like this, you can go to Donna Ward’s website, here.
Warning: It’s a course… about Native Americans… What’s there to be afraid of? Some squeamish kids might be upset that the Natives had wars, but that’s life! Get used to it!