Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool INTRODUCTION This year, Canada History Week highlights stories of arts, culture, and creators in Canada. This learning tool has been created to accompany the three short videos produced for Canada History Week 2022, featuring director and actor Rose Ouellette, known as La Poune, concert singer Portia White, and the Professional Native Indian Artists Inc. collective. This learning tool was created in partnership between Historica Canada and the Canada History Fund and is designed to help students interact with this year’s Canada History Week theme. The topics covered in this learning tool, in the Canada History Week videos, and in the accompanying digital magazine only begin to scratch the surface of the subject, but we hope they can be used as a starting point for learning more about the diverse and rich history of arts and culture in Canada. Canada History Week provides all Canadians with opportunities to learn more about people and events that have helped shape the country we know today. In doing so, we encourage you to broaden your awareness of Canadian cultural and artistic expressions, past and present. Historica Canada offers programs in both official languages that you can use to explore, learn, reflect on our history, and consider what it means to be Canadian. Find us online at HistoricaCanada.ca. message to teachers This guide is by no means a comprehensive study of Canada’s artistic and cultural history, but is meant to complement the subjects and themes represented in the Canada History Week 2022 videos and to provide context for those topics. Educators may use the lessons in sequence or as stand-alone activities. This guide is designed to complement current Canadian curricula and has been produced for use in middle and high school history and social science classrooms; the grade level will vary by activity. This guide has been developed with activities that can be conducted in class, online, or in some combination of the two. Teachers may want to adapt certain elements of the activities to best suit classroom needs. For more activities relating to Canada’s artistic and cultural history, check out some of our other education guides, such as our History of Multiculturalism in Canada Education Guide; Indigenous Perspectives Education Guide; Indigenous Arts and Stories Series; Official Languages Act Education Guide; and Women in Canadian History Education Guide. Note to Educators Teachers must be sensitive to individuals and the group to ensure the classroom remains a safe environment for all learners. Set ground rules for respectful discussions and consult your school guidance counsellor for additional support, if needed. First Nations peoples in Canada were called “Indians” by European settlers. This term is now recognized as erroneous and derogatory and is rarely used, except in some legal and historical documents. Generally, “Indigenous” is preferred to “Native” as the term is sometimes seen as having a negative connotation, though many Indigenous people use this term and do not see it in a negative light. “Aboriginal” is a legal term that encompasses all Status and Non-Status First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. Though “Aboriginal” and “Indigenous” are sometimes used interchangeably, we have used “Indigenous” in this education guide. 2. Sun Dance ceremony near Cardston, Alberta, 1953 (Gar Lunney/ Library and Archives Canada).
ONLINE RESOURCES Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool video thumbnail video thumbnail video thumbnail • Check out the Visual Arts, Literature, Performing Arts, Music, and Multiculturalism collections on The Canadian Encyclopedia • T ake a look at Historica Canada’s YouTube playlists • Put your arts and culture knowledge to the test! Take the Citizenship Challenge Canadian Arts and Culture quizzes to see how much you know. Test yourself with the Easy, Medium, and Hard editions! 3. Read the Canada History Week 2022 Digital Magazine to explore more stories.
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Since it would be nearly impossible to cover the entire history of arts and culture in the land we now call Canada in a single guide, we have decided to separate this guide into four thematic sections: Visual Arts, Music, Stage and Screen, and Literature. Within those broad categories, there are countless art forms, from ballet to architecture to throatsinging to spoken-word poetry. Perhaps due to the sheer abundance of artistic and cultural expressions, many of us have gaps in our knowledge and awareness of arts, culture, and creators across Canada. SECTION 1 – INTRODUCTORY ACTIVITY 1. As a class, collectively brainstorm all the different art(s) forms you know, and how many Canadians you can think of in each category. What do you consider to be art? Can you think of any local artists and creators from your hometown? 2. Discuss any gaps, why they might be there, and how this might affect the way that we consider arts, culture, and creators in Canada. For example, does anyone know Canadian dancers or dance companies? Canadian architects? How broad a time span is represented by these names? What does this tell us about our knowledge and understanding of the history of arts and culture in Canada? 4. The National Gallery of Canada (Demerzel21/Dreamstime.com). Mural in Victoria, BC (Meunierd/Dreamstime.com).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool SECTION 2 – VISUAL ARTS The oldest surviving visual artworks in what we now call Canada are about 5,000 years old, but the history of art in this land begins long before that. The first people to create art here were the Indigenous peoples who have stewarded these lands since time immemorial. Indigenous art has varied over the centuries in genre, style, function, imagery, and meaning from region to region, and has undergone significant changes from period to period. Indigenous art continues to evolve and shape the art scene, reflecting art’s long and (literally) colourful history. After Europeans began to colonize North America, paintings, sculptures, and religious buildings commissioned by the Catholic Church were the most common European art forms in the new colonies, while sketches and paintings of the land and people here grew in popularity over the centuries. By the time of Confederation in 1867, artists were working hard to distinguish themselves and their art from their European counterparts through their subject matter. Today, the art scene in Canada has a history rich in both media (painting, sculpture, architecture, textiles, pottery, beadwork, etc.), and genre (landscape, surrealist, minimalist, gothic, naturalist, to name just a few). Activity 2.1 Professional Native Indian Artists Incorporated (PNIAI) For millennia, Indigenous artists drove artistic innovation and creation in what we now call Canada, building a rich artistic heritage that continues today. However, as colonization expanded, Indigenous peoples were forcibly discouraged and even prohibited from partaking in traditional artistic expressions. Systemic racism was (and still is) a barrier, excluding many artists from the mainstream contemporary art scene, with some treating Indigenous art as a relic of the past rather than an evolving and diverse discipline. It wasn’t until the mid to late 20th century that contemporary Indigenous art began to be collected by and displayed in galleries rather than museums. One of the first Indigenous artists collectives to challenge colonialist views was Professional Native Indian Artists Inc., which sought to have Indigenous art recognized for its artistic merit by both the general public and by Canadian institutions. Largely thanks to their efforts, Indigenous art began to move from historical museums into art galleries. Daphne Odjig was the driver behind the group’s foundation. Reflecting on the success of PNIAI, she said, “If our work as artists has somehow helped to open doors between our people and non-Native people, then I am glad. I am even more deeply pleased if it has helped to encourage the young people that have followed our generation to express their pride in our heritage more openly, more joyfully, than I would have ever dared to think possible.” PNIAI thumbnail 5.
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool 1. As a class, discuss what you know about Indigenous art in Canada. Have you ever seen Indigenous art? Where did you first encounter it? What did it look like? What medium did it use? Do you know the names of any contemporary or past Indigenous artists? What might be some reasons behind the gaps in your knowledge and exposure? 2. Read about the History of Indigenous Art in Canada and Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada on The Canadian Encyclopedia (TCE). 3. Watch the video on PNIAI and read the corresponding article on TCE. 4. Split into seven groups, assign each group a member of PNIAI, and read their article on TCE. You may want to do supplementary research to round out your understanding of their life and work. How did this member contribute to PNIAI? What was their role in the collective? Each group will give a two-minute presentation on their group member to the class. 5. Using what you have learned about PNIAI, about the group member you researched, and from your classmates’ presentations, complete the Historical and Cultural Significance chart below: Why is PNIAI important? Why are its members significant to Canadian art history? What cultural influence have they had (individually and collectively) on art and culture in Canada? Daphne Odjig (Barbara Woodley/Labatt Breweries of Canada/Library and Archives Canada/e010955979). Historical Significance Criteria Notes Prominence: Was the person/group recognized as significant at the time? Why or why not? What did it mean to be “significant”? Consequences: What effect(s) did the person/group have? Impact: How widespread and longlasting was the person/group’s impact? Revealing: What does the person/ group reveal about the larger historical context or current issues? How do they inform our understanding of a historical issue or period? 6. Historical and Cultural Significance
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 2.2 Displaying an Artist 1. Choose an artist from the list below (or choose another artist, approved by your teacher) to focus your research on. Think about the many visual arts disciplines you might choose from: architecture, sculpture, painting, ceramics… 2. Using The Canadian Encyclopedia entry as a starting point, research your chosen artist and their significance. Make sure to include their life, art form and style, culture, and the historical context within which they lived and worked. Consider any barriers they may have faced, and how they responded or adapted to such pressures. Make sure to show what makes this artist unique in their field and why they and their work are significant to Canada’s cultural and artistic landscape. 3. Present this research in a visual output such as a collage, poster, digital exhibit, or even a social media outreach campaign. The output should be public-facing and designed for an audience who may never have heard of this person before. Be sure to convey why this artist is significant. 4. Following the presentations, have a class discussion about the history of visual arts in Canada. Have you learned anything new about the concept of “art” from this activity? In what ways do the arts reflect, and have an impact on, life and culture(s) in Canada? Possible visual artists to research: Moshe Safdie Carl Beam Ozias Leduc Arthur Goss Alfred Pellan Anne Douglas Savage Freda Diesing Les Automatistes Joyce Wieland Arthur Charles Erickson Tom Thomson Esther Marjorie Hill Bill Reid Frank Gehry Charles Edenshaw (Tahayren) Kenojuak Ashevak Hannah Maynard Mungo Martin Bing Thom Emily Carr Joane Cardinal-Schubert Alexandra Luke Théophile Hamel Annie Pootoogook Allen Sapp Paul Kane Lawren Harris Kazuo Nakamura Napoléon Bourassa Blanche Lemco van Ginkel 7. Pottery in progress (Zojakostina/Dreamstime.com).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 2.3 Bringing Stories to Life Art has power: it can wow us visually, stir our emotions, or tell a story. As a child you probably had a few favourite stories or myths told to you by your family, friends, or teachers. These oral and visual narratives offered you insight as to how things came to be, and fostered understanding of a set of moral values distinct to your culture and community. Think of a story that holds importance for you, and how you might depict it visually, and create an original art piece that illustrates your chosen story. 1. Select a meaningful story to depict as a comic strip, collage, or illustration (or another visual art form approved by your teacher). You may need to research the story to learn about its origin, historical context, morals, and deeper meanings. Take notes on your research to help you shape the aspect of the story you want to emphasize. 2. Start by making three lists: i) Morals and values of the story ii) Characters in the story iii) Symbols within the story 3. Once you’ve completed the lists, identify what is most important to you in those lists, and use that as the basis for your image. Create a well-balanced and original composition that illustrates the story you want to tell. 4. After you have completed your image, create a 300-word artist’s statement that tells your audience about your piece. Touch on the story’s significance to you, how and why you have chosen to display the story visually like you did, why you chose this particular medium, and any element(s) you would like the viewer to pay attention to. 8. A woman makes a beaded bracelet (Euphotica/Dreamstime.com).
The history of music in Canada stretches back centuries. Beginning with the Indigenous peoples of this land, people here have long been making music that reflects their lives and spiritual beliefs. Evolution of environmental, socio-cultural, and geographic factors influenced styles of music. The arrival of Europeans changed the landscape – from introducing new musical ideas to darker effects such as the banning of ceremonies and suppression of traditions. Despite outside influences, most Indigenous groups in Canada have retained nation-specific musical traditions, repertoires, and meanings that reflect their unique cultural traditions. Colonialism also gave rise to collaborative musical traditions, like Métis fiddling. The wider recognition of Indigenous music genres corresponded with increased awareness of Indigenous social issues by non-Indigenous people in the 1960s and 1970s. When Europeans arrived on the continent, they brought new musical traditions and instruments with them. Early colonial music included religious music, operas, and songs accompanied by instruments like violins, trumpets, and fiddles. Very few of these early colonial popular works survive today, but their influence lives on. Over the centuries, as settlers arrived from all over the world, Canada’s music scene would grow to accept and reflect global styles and influences. For example, in some colonial communities, such as rural Nova Scotia, Indigenous, Black, Acadian, Celtic, and Gaelic peoples intermingled, fusing performance styles to produce unique forms of folk and country music. Today, music in Canada is a conglomeration of styles, genres, themes, and cultures that reflects the diversity of the people here. Nevertheless, the ramifications of a long history of suppressing traditions of racialized and othered groups can still be felt today. Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool SECTION 3 – MUSIC 9. Vintage Music Sheet (Marsia16/Dreamstime.com).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 3.1 Portia White The first record of opera in Canada was in 1606, followed almost two hundred years later by a full performance in Quebec City in 1783. Opera originated in Italy, came to dominate the European scene, and rose to international prominence, spreading across Canada. The first Canadian opera company was established in the 1800s, and Dame Emma Albani became the first Canadian opera singer to rise to international stardom. A genre related to opera, concert singing, also gained prominence in Canada around this time. Today, the Canadian classical music and opera scene is heavily based in the European style, but incorporates other global influences. As in many artistic fields, the history of classical music in Canada is lacking in representation. Exclusivity, discriminatory policies, and systemic racism has barred many from entering the field as professionals, limiting opportunities, and restricting the inclusion of diverse musical influences. People who overcame these barriers were the exception, not the rule, and their stories are rare. One person who managed to rise to the top despite systemic barriers was Portia White, considered one of the best classical singers of the 20th century. 1. As a class, watch the Portia White video and read her biography on TCE, as well as the Black History in Canada: 1900–1960 article, and take point-form notes. You can also do supplementary research on Black communities in Nova Scotia. 2. Imagine you are a reporter interviewing Portia White in the late 1940s. Using your notes and additional online research, write an article for your newspaper that answers the following questions: a) Why is Portia a trailblazer? What obstacles has she faced in her career? b) Why is Portia’s success so important? c) Is it important to have representation? Why or why not? What does it mean to you to see people that represent your experiences in the media? d) As a proud Nova Scotian ‘African Baptist,’ Portia White sang spirituals as part of her repertoire, which also included Italian arias, Quebecois folk songs, German lieder, and more. Why might this this kind of diverse representation be important for Canadian composers, musicians, and singers today? e) Add a post-script as if the article was being re-published today, and add a modern perspective: Of the obstacles Portia faced, which, if any, still exist today? Portia White video HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE: Begin with a lead sentence that will immediately grab the attention of the reader. Your introduction should establish the context and answer the 5Ws: who, what, where, when, why, and how. Use direct quotes to help frame your story, but use them sparingly for the most impact. Your main body should provide evidence to back up your story and you can either sum up your story succinctly in a traditional conclusion or find a suitable and effective closing quotation. Always be sure to review the historical background of your story to highlight relevant facts that may otherwise go unnoticed. 10. Portia White (Yousuf Karsh/Library and Archives Canada/PA-192783).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 3.2 Listening Patterns Most of us listen to music every day, and often our selections feature artists from around the world. But how much Canadian music do we listen to? 1. In small groups, make a list of Canadian artists you listen to, and discuss what percentage it makes up of all the music you listen to. Where are most artists you listen to from? Why do you think that is? How did you discover your favourite music and artists? Are there any Canadian artists that you think deserve more attention? 2. Read the TCE article on the CRTC, and the rules regarding Canadian music content on the radio here. 3. As a class, discuss what you think are the reasons behind regulations on providing Canadian content. Do you think this helps provide a platform for Canadian artists? Remembering that the CRTC was established long before the internet, how might modern technology and social media have impacted the effectiveness of these regulations? What other methods can be employed to promote Canadian music? What other effects might these regulations have on the music scene in Canada, historically and today? Activity 3.3 Make a Local Playlist 1. Make a playlist of 20-25 songs showcasing local (community, regional, or provincial) music. Try to include some variety in the artists you choose and the styles of music. 2. Write one paragraph detailing whether you feel your playlist is an accurate reflection of the community. What makes these artists or songs important for this community? Is there a clear pattern in the genres or lyrics? Was it easy or difficult to find artists to include? 3. Form small groups and compare playlists: how much overlap is there? Did anyone discover something you missed? Discuss what you learned about your local music scene. Will you continue to listen to any of these songs or artists in the future? 11. Oscar Peterson statue, Ottawa (Paul Mckinnon/Dreamstime.com).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 3.4 Music and Cultural Continuity Much of the music in Canada stems from a particular linguistic or cultural background. These musical styles are representative not only of the nations and heritage from which they originated, but also of their distinct evolution within Canada. 1. Research a musical group or musician that performs in a specific style (e.g., Icelandic music in Canada, Chinese music in Canada, Blues, Acadian folk music, Inuit throat-singing, etc.). Start by checking for a corresponding article on TCE to explore the history of the style. You may need to do supplementary research. 2. Once you have familiarized yourself with the tradition’s background, find a song or music sample to listen to from within this musical tradition. 3. Write 1-2 pages on the song and broader musical style. Be sure to cover (if applicable) its history, themes, noteworthy artists, and developments. What topics or issues does the band/artist address? How do they represent their communities? 4. Form small groups with classmates who researched different styles, share a favourite song or a word you learned, and tell your peers about the topics and issues in the band or artist’s music. 12. Still from Portia White video (Historica Canada).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool SECTION 4 – STAGE AND SCREEN Performances and performing arts have a rich history in Canada, stretching back to long before the arrival of Europeans. As in many parts of the world, these performances and performance styles were often methods of preserving and celebrating a group’s history and culture. They could also be used to cement social relationships and reflect on the world around them. Many Indigenous groups shared their myths, histories, and knowledge through performances, from storytelling to singing, in styles collectively referred to as Oral Traditions (see more in the boxed text). The first recorded European theatre performances in North America date to early colonial times. Other styles of performing arts have long timelines and have built on that history to flourish today. Cirque du Soleil has followed a circus tradition in Canada tracing back to 1797. Other companies and festivals such as the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company, the Stratford Festival, and Just for Laughs have rich histories boasting top performances and performers and promoting Canadian artists. The first public screening of a film in Canada took place in Montreal in 1896, followed by Canada’s first domestic films in 1897. Since then, the film and television scene has boomed, with hotspots across the country. The performance art scene is a vibrant industry in Canada, supported by institutions like the CBC, Radio-Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Among Indigenous peoples in Canada, Oral Traditions refer to a means of gathering, preserving, and sharing stories, myths, traditional knowledge, and history. Oral Traditions have been a vital method of passing down stories, histories, spiritual lessons or teachings, songs, poems, prayers, and ways of survival for thousands of years. For centuries, erroneous Western beliefs that the written word is more trustworthy than oral histories have threatened and damaged traditional ways of passing down knowledge. Today, Indigenous communities continue to reclaim oral histories and traditions that have been suppressed or threatened by colonization. Other communities, including Black Canadians, have embraced the Oral Tradition to save and pass down community chronicles and genealogies, as well as to communicate ideas in musical form. 13. Canadian ballet dancers in 1946 (National Film Board of Canada/Photothèque/Library and Archives Canada). Cirque du Soleil performs Kooza (Michael Bush/Dreamstime.com).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 4.1 Rose Ouellette (La Poune) At its core, burlesque theatre is about laughter. It is historically a literary, dramatic, or musical style intended to make people laugh, often by sending up a serious genre, mocking its subject or treating it ironically. In Quebec, burlesque comedy has a long and rich history with performances involving comedy sketches, musical numbers in different styles, dances, and more. It was the dominant stage form within French-language theatre from the 1920s to the 1950s, which exploded in Montreal as a result of prohibition in the United States. 1. In small groups, discuss what you know about performing art forms such as burlesque and cabaret, and the history of the performing arts in Quebec and in your own province. What types of performing arts are most common today? Have you seen any stage performances yourself? What actors do you know of today who do both stage and screen work? 2. Watch the Rose Ouellette video and read her biography on TCE then read the TCE article on French-language Theatre. 3. As a class, have a discussion: a) W hy was theatre important to La Poune? What made her a pioneer in her field? What obstacles did she face in her life and career? b) La Poune created performances that showed to sold-out crowds daily during the late 1930s and through the 1940s. Think about why this is a remarkable achievement: what was happening in the world at this time? Why was it so important to her that she brought joy to her audiences? Think about the historical context of the times in which she performed. 14. Rose Video La Poune at the Théâtre National, 1944 (BAnQ VieuxMontréal/Fonds Conrad Poirier).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 4.2 From Stage to Screen in Quebec and in Canada Option A: Quebec Cinema Option B: Canadian Cinema Quebec has a particularly impressive selection of internationally renowned films, filmmakers, directors, actors, and other personnel. 1. Watch trailers for (or clips from) two or three Quebec films. Take notes on unique elements or styles that you notice: what makes this film or trailer interesting to you? 2. Split into three groups, with each group covering one of the following TCE articles on the history of Quebec cinema. Take note of any significant advances, challenges, people, and themes: a) Quebec Film History: 1896 to 1969 b) Quebec Film History: 1970 to 1989 c) Quebec Film History: 1990 to Present 3. In chronological order, present a summary of the group’s article to the rest of the class. 4. After the presentations, have a class discussion about what you have learned from your research and from watching the clips. What makes Quebec cinema unique? Are there any themes in its history or a common thread between the films? Are movies a good way to preserve and share one’s language and culture? Why or why not? Did you see this reflected in the clips or trailers you watched in step 1? 1. As a class, name as many Canadian films as you can that you have seen. What are they about? Is there a common thread? What does it mean to be a ‘Canadian film’? 2. Split into three groups, with each group covering one of the following TCE articles on the history of Canadian cinema. Take note of any significant advances, challenges, people, and themes: a) Canadian Film History: 1896 to 1938 b) Canadian Film History: 1939 to 1973 c) Canadian Film History: 1974 to Present 3. In chronological order, present a summary of the group’s article to the rest of the class. 4. After the presentations, have a class discussion about what you have learned from your research and from watching the clips. What makes Canadian cinema unique? Are there any themes in its history or a common thread between the films? Are movies a good way to preserve and share one’s language and culture? Why or why not? Extension Activity: As seen with Rose Ouellette and the previous activity, the advent and popularization of television and film coincided with the decline of many smaller-scale stage performances. How are these developments related? What types of stage performances have continued to thrive? In what ways do you think the popularization of television and movies changed Canadian culture and the performing arts in Canada? What can or should be done to make stage performances more accessible? 15. Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve at a red carpet event for his film Blade Runner 2049 in Montreal (Martial Genest/ Dreamstime.com).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 4.3 Performing Arts The realm of performing arts on stage and screen is vast and varied. You may be familiar with more well-known styles like musical theatre, opera, and mainstream cinema, but there are many others you may not know, like shadow puppetry, dabke, or spoken-word performance. 1. As a class, research and discuss with your teacher styles of performance that are popular in your area, your culture, or with a particular group that may be linked to the area you live in. 2. Split into small groups, with each group assigned a different style of performance to watch. Samples and full-length features can be found on websites such as HotDocs, JustforLaughs, and YouTube. 3. Watch the selected media with your group, and research the style and its history in Canada, using TCE and other sources as needed. You may also want to read biographies of any famous Canadians in the field. a) Questions to consider: How did this style originate? Is it new, or does it have historical roots? Is this a form that was more popular in the past? What does it look like today? Is it popular across Canada, or is it concentrated in one area? Why is it significant? Who are some of its best-known performers? What challenges does this art form (and its performers) face? 4. Individually, create a poster, bulletin board, etc., designed to educate the public about the art form you researched. It should be designed to be displayed in the hall of your school. Begin by finding any local stories or community connections to focus your output. When creating your presentation, think about big points in history, important figures, national and international prestige, fun facts about the medium, and where can people view this locally – consider including things like free online resources and local theatres! 16. Chinese Lion Dance showcase in Vancouver (Howesjwe/Dreamstime.com). Snowdon Theatre in Montreal (Michel Bussieres/Dreamstime.com).
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool SECTION 5 – LITERATURE Activity 5.1 The Missing Video Before the arrival of European literature traditions, Indigenous groups had various means of transmitting their stories, primarily through the Oral Tradition (see above). The imposition of colonial writing traditions on existing Indigenous languages resulted in written stories that had previously been transmitted in oral form. Storytelling, the core purpose of literature, already existed and thrived in Indigenous civilizations before syllabics and European writing systems, and was used to share all kinds of stories and knowledge. As with visual arts in Canada, early settler literature focused primarily on topics of exploration, the wilderness, and life in a new colony. While it is still most often divided into “English” and “French” literature, and rooted in those literary traditions, the reality is that Canadian literature today, and in recent history, has been written in many languages and reflects hundreds of traditions, histories, and cultures. While many Canadian authors are renowned worldwide these days (think Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, or Alice Munro), there are thousands of people who have had an impact on the literary scene. Many of these authors are not as well known but have had remarkable stories on their path to success. 1. Do some research in The Canadian Encyclopedia’s Literature collection (see the Authors tab on the left), and choose a Canadian writer to feature in a Canada History Week video. You should choose a writer who has made a significant contribution to the field in some form, and potentially someone who is not as well known: the purpose of Canada History Week is to shine the spotlight on important historical figures who the public might not know as well. Remember to look for Canadians who are significant to the history of literature in Canada. Try looking for those who you feel might be underrepresented. Tip: Check out this years’ Canada History Week videos, as well as Historica Canada’s videos on Canadian literature and authors for inspiration. Examples include John McCrae, Winnie, and one of last year’s Canada History Week videos, Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk. 17. Lucy maud HM Superman video
2. Research their life, career, and historical context, and write an outline of how your video would look, using the questions in the below to guide your thinking. Be sure to follow the style of Canada History Week videos, which use the subject’s words to form a story. Who is this video featuring? What part or element of their life will the video focus on? Why do you think it is important for Canadians to know who this person is? 3. Use the below outline to help you design your video scenario. Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool A brief summary of what will happen, three quotes from the author for the narration, and a sketch or illustration for each section Beginning Middle End Extension Activity: Write a full script for your video, and include an explanatory paragraph or two on why you have chosen this person, how you have focused the narrative for the video, and why. 18.
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Activity 5.2 Poetry Canadian poetry after European arrival was originally dominated by neoclassical models and romanticism, but soon began portraying the influence of the environment and the unique experiences of life in Canada. From coast to coast to coast, the landscape of Canadian poetry today is rich in languages, cultures, backgrounds, and themes. 1. Pick from the list of poets to research below, or choose another name with permission from your teacher. 2. Conduct some research on the poet and their work, starting with their article on TCE. Consider their individual backgrounds and the social, political, and cultural life around them. How did that intersect with their subject matter(s) and writing styles? 3. Once you have gathered enough information, write a poem about them. This is open to interpretation: the poem could be a biographical sketch, focus on a particular time of their life, describe their personality/essence, an homage, be from their perspective or as an observer, or it could be a personal response to one of their poems (e.g., the use of a different perspective, emotion, or time). 4. Once you have written your poem, create a 300-word author’s statement describing the poem’s context, themes, relevance, and relationship to the poet you chose. Extension Activity: Older students may be challenged to write the poem in the style of that poet. Alden Nowlan Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) Sir Charles Roberts Émile Nelligan Margaret Atwood Marjorie Pickthall Lt John McCrae P.K. Page Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau Robert Dickson Deborah How Cottnam Rita Joe Lorna Crozier Priscila Uppal Claire Harris Anne Szumigalski Alfred Wellington Purdy Fred Wah Michael Ondaatje Leonard Cohen Robert William Service 19. Pauline Johnson (Tekahionwake) (Library and Archives Canada). Leonard Cohen (Fabio Diena/ Dreamstime.com).
Activity 5.3 Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk and Indigenous Language Revitalization Before European colonization, Indigenous peoples spoke a wide variety of languages – there were an estimated 300 languages spoken on Turtle Island before colonization. As a means of assimilating Indigenous peoples, colonial policies like the Indian Act and the residential school system forbade the speaking of Indigenous languages (see Genocide and Indigenous Peoples in Canada). These restrictions have led to the ongoing endangerment of Indigenous languages in Canada, though in recent years, many Indigenous people and groups have led the drive to preserve and promote these languages. Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk wrote one of the first novels in Inuktitut, and wrote twenty-two books on Inuit tradition, hunting and fishing practices, the Inuktitut language, and northern landscapes. This canon of writing is considered to be an Inuit-specific set of encyclopedias, and is still in use in schools across Nunavik. Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool Linguistic plurality is a cornerstone of modern Canadian identity, but the history of language in Canada is not a simple story. Language has been used historically by Indigenous peoples and French-Canadian communities (and other diverse language communities) to resist an English-speaking Canadian society determined to create a homogeneous BritishCanadian national state. This history of resistance has helped define our social and political climate. For nearly a century after the formation of modern-day Canada, French-language education was restricted or banned in several provinces, and unrest grew in French communities as they advocated for the protection of their language and more opportunities in federal institutions. A side-effect of this plurality is the distinct nature and growth of French-language literature and writers in Canada. To learn more, read the TCE articles on Quebec and Acadian literature, and explore the Official Languages Act Education Guide. 1. Watch the Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk video and read her biography on The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2. Read the Indigenous Language Revitalization in Canada article on TCE. 3. As a class discuss the following: a) What role did Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk play in preserving and revitalizing her language? b) What role did literature play in preserving her language? What role did Nappaaluk play in promoting Inuit literature? c) Why is it important to preserve and teach diverse languages in Canada? d) Why should we strive for representation in literature? e) In what way can language preservation be seen as an act of resistance? f) In what way does literature help to preserve a language? g) Have you ever read a book or poem that spoke about or was written in another language? The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published a list of 94 Calls to Action, which offer specific ways that Canadian society can help address the injustices experienced by Indigenous peoples. Calls 13-17 pertain specifically to language and culture – read them here. 20. Mitiarjuk video
Canada History Week 2022 Learning Tool SUMMATIVE Optional Extension: Have students create a gallery in your school, and invite students to walk through the exhibits as if they were visiting a gallery. Art Gallery of Ontario The Royal Ontario Museum National Gallery of Canada Montreal Museum of Fine Arts McMichael Canadian Art Collection Nova Scotia Archives Hot Docs Library and Archives Canada Canadian Museum of History Activity 2.3 Curating an Exhibition Imagine a museum or an art gallery has asked you to put together an exhibition on Canadian art and culture. Using online databases to conduct research, curate a 10-piece exhibit showcasing a brief history of arts and culture in Canada. Some databases to explore include: 1. Choose to focus your exhibit on one of the four categories presented in this learning tool: Visual Arts, Music, Stage and Screen, or Literature. Alternatively, you can choose to incorporate all four in your exhibit. 2. Begin by planning out your exhibit. Will it span the entirety of Canadian history or just one century or decade? Will it be Canada-wide or focus on one province? You may want to organize your exhibit thematically – around a particular geographical area, a cultural community, a motif, or an environmental theme, for example. Are there any specific communities you want to include? Are there any genres or mediums you don’t want to leave out? 3. Once you have a rough idea of what your exhibit will look like, it is time to make your selections. Use TCE, online databases, and any other resources provided by your teacher to search for material. Mediums can include artwork, sheet music, costumes, pottery, and more. 4. After you have made your final selection, write a short paragraph for each piece detailing who the creator is, when the piece originated, where it was created, how it was made (if applicable), why it is significant, and why you have chosen to include it in your exhibition. Make sure that your exhibition is in the order you would like it to be viewed as if you were walking through a gallery. 5. Create a visual representation of your gallery, with images of the artworks and their explanations visible. What order would you like the pieces to be viewed, and why? Choose a title for your exhibit, and write a short introduction about the significance of your exhibit. Teacher Tip: Talk to students about the kinds of materials that are left behind by live performances (props, costumes, etc.,) and the potential depth and value of such objects as parts of an exhibit. 21.