CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: An Aboriginal Perspective

History, Political Science
3 to 4 lessons
To analyze First Nations treaty rights; to form and support an opinion
Using a variety of web-based resources, students research treaty rights of First Nations and historic responses of First Nations to Quebec separation. They will then prepare and deliver a multi-media presentation sharing their viewpoint on the rights of First Nations to secede from Quebec in the event of Quebec’s separation from Canada.

Lesson Plan


Over the past 400 years, Quebec has been under the control of First Nations, France, Britain, and Canada. In all that time the First Nations have occupied the northern half of Quebec almost exclusively. It is little wonder that they as a group believe that the land they have occupied for thousands of years is still theirs. The province of Quebec, in 1995, attempted to once again change the "ownership" of this land. The second referendum was intended to allow for the secession of Quebec from Canada and the creation of an independent nation-state of Quebec. This time, however, the northern First Nations, particularly the Cree, Innu, and Inuit, said "Enough!" They held their own referenda and overwhelmingly elected to secede from Quebec in the event of a "Yes" vote resulting in separation.

The Task

Students will research treaty rights of First Nations in Canada, particularly in reference to their existence as nations. They will create T-charts to identify the probable land claim rights of First Nations as compared to the rights of the Quebec government. They will then research the following question: If Quebec should secede from Canada, do First Nations have a similar right to secede from Quebec and remain part of Canada?

Each group will use presentation software to create a computer-based, audio-visual presentation explaining the group's viewpoint and reasoning.

The Process

Students will work in groups of four or five. Students can begin their initial research on the topic James Bay Project and the Cree on the CBC Digital Archives website.

With T-charts complete, direct groups to the clip "The native people in Quebec hold their own referendum" from the topic Separation Anxiety: The 1995 Quebec Referendum on the CBC Digital Archives website. Students can complete their research using online resources of their choice. They should cite all sources consulted and used. Ensure that they assign roles within the group in order to research, organize, and prepare their presentation effectively.

Assessment Tip: Evaluate presentations for specific argumentation points, creativity, and effective response to the question.


Students deliver their presentations to the class. Following the presentations, students return to their groups to discuss all the information they saw and to re-evaluate their position. Have each student write a paragraph outlining his or her position.

Related Content

Quebec City: 400 Years of History

The Algonquin called it Québec, or "where the river narrows." On a rocky point high above the ...

Robert Bourassa: Political Survivor

Robert Bourassa made history in 1970 by becoming the youngest premier of Quebec, only to suffe...

The Ice Storm of 1998

Canadians had never before endured a natural disaster like the ice storm of 1998. A difficult ...

A Lost Heritage: Residential Schools extra cl...

In 1928, a government official predicted Canada would end its "Indian problem" within two gene...

Hockey Flight in Canada: extra clips

Canada is a hockey nation, but has had a heck of a time preventing its hockey franchises from ...

Splitting Up: Canadians Get Divorced

Having concrete proof of adultery was once the only way to get a divorce in Canada. That meant...