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Lesson Plan:

Mass Hanging after Frog Lake

Type: Webquest
Subjects: History, Social Studies
Duration: 2 to 3 lessons
Purpose: To investigate the use of the death penalty following the massacre at Frog Lake
Summary: Using a variety of web-based resources, students will investigate and create a media work about the events of the mass execution of eight aboriginal Canadians following the massacre at Frog Lake.


During the Rebellion of 1885, a breakaway group of Cree warriors, angry with the federal government, attacked a settlement at Frog Lake and killed 10 people. In response, the Canadian government tried and hanged eight aboriginal Canadians in the largest mass execution in Canadian history.

The Task

Students will create a media work from the point of view of someone connected with the events of the Frog Lake Massacre and the trial and mass execution that followed. Roles might include a family member, one of the people executed, the Prime Minister, someone involved in the trial, and so on. Students can work individually to prepare a written piece that combines words and pictures or they can work in groups to create a drama, role play, mock interview, and so on. Their work should emphasize the role of the death penalty in the events depicted.

The Process

Students should begin their research with the clip "Public hanging for Frog Lake Massacre" on the topic Death Penalty Debate on the CBC Digital Archives website. From there, students will explore other sources of information, including websites and books. Students should note all resources consulted and cited.


Have students present their media works to the class. Students should be prepared to explain why they found their medium the most effective for expressing their chosen point of view. After the presentations, ask: Why is it important that the Frog Lake Massacre is included in Canadian history studies? Through your research, what did you learn about your country and your government?


Canada: A People's History. Episode 10: Taking the West. (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 2001: Bill Cobban, dir.)

McLean, Duncan and Eric Wells. Frog Lake Massacre. Surrey: Frontier Books, 1984.