CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Support for Aboriginal Self-Government

1 to 2 lessons
To identify, explain, and show support for solutions to issues around aboriginal self-government
Students will investigate the issue of aboriginal self-government and identify and present proposals that could resolve difficulties between First Nations and the government of Canada.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

Generate a class list of all the things that governments provide for citizens. Have students indicate on the list which areas are the responsibility of the federal government and which are the responsibility of the provincial governments.

Then ask: Are there groups of people in Canada that should have their own governments? Which groups? Why do you think they should govern themselves? What is the impact on Canada if certain groups govern themselves? What is the impact on those groups if they govern themselves?

Outline the Opportunity

Have students explore the topic Georges Erasmus: Native Rights Crusader on the CBC Digitial Archives website, specifically the clips referring to native self-government. As they explore, students should make notes of any ideas suggested for possible resolutions to the issue of native self-government.

Ask students to form small groups. In each group, students will share the information they have gathered about native self-government. Students will explain which ideas they, personally, think should be undertaken to resolve the issue. Each group will then choose one issue that they think will work and prepare to present it to the class.

Revisit and Reflect

Bring all the groups together. Have each group present the proposal it thinks is the best path to resolving the issue of native self-government, supporting their response with details from their research.

As a class, discuss the students' ideas and agree on a class proposal that would satisfy both aboriginals and non-aboriginals. As they discuss the proposals, they should explain the reasons why the proposals would or would not be satisfactory to both groups.

After the class has put together its ideas about aboriginal self-government, have them send the class proposal to their local MP and MLA (MNA).


The class can write a letter to Georges Erasmus. The letter should show support for aboriginal self-governance and outline the class proposal and why students think it is an effective one. If you wish, you can send the letter and request a response to the students' ideas.

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