Supplemental Resources

About this Site
12 Principles of Indian Philosophy
Terms (Glossary)
Common Essential Learnings
More Terms (Glossary)
Invitation of Elders
Teaching Controversial Issues
Talking Circles
Shared Values and At-Risk Students
Guidelines for Integrating Indian and Métis Content and Perspectives

About this site

This resource was created to provide instructional ideas in a ready-to-use lesson format for Kindergarten to Grade 12 Social Studies. Saskatchewan Learning’s initiative in web-based learning provided the impetus to extend this resource offering beyond the borders of the Regina Public School Division.

Teachers may use the lessons and any of the activities in the given format or adapt them to suit their needs. The creators strongly advise teachers to read the supplementary items prior to venturing into the lessons. The supplementary topics contain valuable information on terminology, traditional perspectives on various issues as well as a host of bibliographical listings, including web sites. The bibliography listing entitled “Theme Bags” contains themed resources, English and French, that schools may want to include in their libraries. The “Theme Bag” title refers to the method by which the resources were stored in the Regina Public School central library. Each set of resources was kept in bags and teachers could borrow the whole set at a time.

The lessons and activities are organized under 6 themes: Diversity (in general as well as the diversity among Indigenous peoples); Treaties; Governance; the Metis; Role Models; and Aboriginal Contributions to Society. Some of the themes, such as Role Models have a lesson theme within the concept theme. Role Models use different variations of posters as an activity in all its lessons; Metis lessons try to incorporate the creation of a quilt to illustrate the theme in each lesson.

Lessons are Saskatchewan curriculum-based; the correlation is stated at the beginning of each lesson. Some lessons indicate how the lesson fits into various initiatives of Saskatchewan Learning such as meeting the instructional needs of at-risk students. All lessons emphasize the importance of initiating/maintaining close connections to the Aboriginal members of a community to ensure teaching materials and methods are relevant to that Aboriginal group, at the very least, and at the most, to encourage Aboriginal participation in instruction.

We hope these lessons are as useful to you as they are to us. We would also encourage you to gather a group of your colleagues and develop lessons with other themes related to Aboriginal perspectives such as music, literature, technology, or identity.

If you should find errors within the pages of this site or links that are no longer valid, please contact the coordinator of the project at or the technical services consultant attached to the project, Don Wren

Common Essential Learnings

The Common Essential Learnings (CELS) are not taught in isolation. Rather, they are woven into the fabric of the entire lesson. Well-developed lessons incorporate the Common Essential Learnings.

Terms: Preparatory Information for Respecting First Nations Identity

The following is an overview of terms gathered from two main sources: the text Sima7: Come Join Me A Teachers’ Guide by Lorna Williams (1991), and Aboriginal Self-Government (a document) published by the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Ottawa, Ontario, November 1997. Used with permission from both sources.

The intention in providing these working definitions is not to make distinctions which separate or label people. The intention is to clarify, educate, and create a sense of belonging and commonality for all students.

There are many terms which Canadians use in referring to Canada’s first people. This has helped create a kind of identity confusion among many. The current acceptable term when referring to Canada’s first people is First Nations.

First Nations

The acceptable term used to refer the collective nations of Canada’s first people. A term that came into common usage in the 1970s to replace the word "Indian," which many people found offensive. Although the term First Nation is widely used, no legal definition of it exists. Among its uses, the term "First Nations peoples" refers to the Indian people in Canada, both Status and Non-Status. Many Indian people have also adopted the term "First Nation" to replace the word "band" in the name of their community.


The use of this term likely dates back to when Christopher Columbus named the people he met on the eastern shores of the Americas Indians when he was trying to find a route to India. Historically, the Federal Government used this label in its documents when referring to First Nations people.


Born in or belonging to a country. The original inhabitants of a place. Existing in a place from the beginning. The descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. This term is gaining gradual acceptance and refers to First Nations peoples in Canada. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people - Indians, Métis people and Inuit. These are three separate peoples with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.


A combination of American and Indian to distinguish First Nations people from the Indians of India.

Native American

The term which collectively refers to the First Nations people in the United States.

Native Canadian

A term often used to describe First Nations people in Canada. This is not an acceptable reference for First Nations people in Canada.


A Canadian term used to describe land set aside for use by First Nations people.


An American term used to describe land set aside for use by First Nations people.


An Aboriginal people in northern Canada, who live above the tree line in the Northwest Territories, and in Northern Quebec and Labrador. The word means "people" in the Inuit language - Inuktitut. The singular of Inuit is Inuk.


A distinct group of people with a separate culture and language that grew out of French or Scottish fur trappers marrying aboriginal women.


Something or someone which lives or occurs naturally in a region. It was not moved there.


A community of Status Indians which is recognized under the Indian Act.

More terms: terms used to identify First Nations people by Canada’s Government and Legislation:


First Nations people who are registered in the federal offices of Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. Status means one can live in a Reserve.


This refers to First Nations people who lost their status. For instance, prior to 1986 First Nations women who married non-status men lost their status. Status could also be lost if a man chose to vote. World War veterans lost their status upon returning home. Sometimes women and children also lost status through arbitrary decisions of the Indian agent.

On Reserve

First Nations people who choose to live on a Reserve. They are governed by the federal government and not the provincial government.

Off Reserve

When Status First Nations people live off a Reserve, provincial governance applies in some areas.

Treaty Indian

Refers to a First Nations person who comes from a nation that signed a treaty with a government.

Non-Treaty Indian

A First Nations person who comes from a nation that did not sign a treaty with a government. Most First Nations people in British Columbia are non-treaty people.

Registered Indian

This term refers to First Nations people who belong to an Indian band and are registered as such through the federal government.

Bill C-31

This refers to First Nations people who regained or obtained status through the implementation of Bill C-31. For example, this bill affected many women who married non-status men and their descendants for two generations.


Governments designed, established and administered by Aboriginal peoples.

Talking Circles

The Talking Circle is an excellent teaching strategy which is consistent with First Nations values. The circle symbolizes completeness.

"When you put your knowledge in a circle, it's not yours anymore, it's shared by everyone."

- Douglas Cardinal, architect (Regina Leader Post, November 28, 1995).

In a Talking Circle, each one is equal and each one belongs. Students in a Talking Circle learn to listen and respect the views of others. A stick, stone or feather (something that symbolizes connectedness to the land) can be used to facilitate the circle. Whoever is holding the object has the right to speak and the others have the responsibility to listen. Those who are hesitant to speak may eventually speak because of the safety of the Talking Circle. The object "absorbs" the words said in the Circle. This emphasizes that what is shared in the Circle is not to be spread around outside the Circle. Many Talking Circles begin with words which foster the readiness of the Circle. This is an excellent opportunity to have Elders involved in the classroom. The intention is to open hearts to understand and connect with each other.

Guidelines for Talking Circles:

(Adapted from The Sacred Tree Teachers' Guide (1982) published by the Four Worlds Development Project).

Talking Circles last, in genera,l from eight to fifteen minutes at the start of the lesson or to bring it to closure. Positively-focused topics can include:

(Reprinted from the document The Circle of Life: First Nations Content & Perspective for Middle Years Students, an inservice, February 23, 1996, Maureen Johns Simpson, Indian and Métis Consultant, Regina Public Schools. Used with permission.)

To teach students about the concepts of the Talking Circle, have them work on the Talking Circle learning object.

12 Principles of Indian Philosophy

  1. the capacity to have and respond to dreams, visions, ideals, spiritual teaching, goals, and theories;

  1. the capacity to accept these as a reflection of our unknown or unrealized potential;

  1. the capacity to express these using symbols in speech, art, or mathematics;

  1. the capacity to use this symbolic expression towards action directed at making the possible a reality.


(The information provided was gathered at a conference held in Lethbridge, Alberta in December, 1982. Indian Elders, spiritual leaders, and professionals from across Canada offered these fundamental elements that they considered to be common among Canadian Indian philosophies. These have become the foundation of work currently being carried out by The Four Worlds Development Project, University of Lethbridge.)

Traditional Indian Code of Ethics


Four Worlds Development Project, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, 1982.

Guidelines for Integrating Indian and Métis Content and Perspectives in Curriculum Documents

(reprinted from Indian and Métis Resource List for K - 12, Saskatchewan Education, Training and Employment, March 1994).


Curriculum and materials:

Instruction and assessment approaches encourage teachers to:

Learning environment and communication:

The Invitation of Elders

The following information is reprinted from the Saskatchewan Education Evergreen Curriculum website (

All cultures are enriched by certain valuable and unique individuals. Such individuals possess a wide range of knowledge - knowledge that once shared, can expand students' insight beyond the perspectives of the teacher and classroom resources.

Indian and Métis Elders in particular are integral to the revival, maintenance, and perservation of Aboriginal cultures. Elder participation in support of curricular objectives develops the positive identity of Indian and Métis students and enhances self-esteem. All students may acquire a heightened awareness and sensitivity that inevitably promotes anti-racist education. It is important to note that the title Elder does not necessarily indicate age. In Aboriginal societies, one is designated an Elder after acquiring significant wisdom and experience.

When requesting guidance or assistance there is a protocol used in approaching Elders, which varies from community to community. The district chiefs' office, tribal council office, or a Reserve's band council or education committee may be able to assist you. Prior to an Elder sharing knowledge, it is essential that you and your students complete the cycle of giving and receiving through an appropriate offering. This offering represents respect and appreciation for knowledge shared by and Elder. One must ascertain the nature of the offering prior to an Elder's visit as traditions differ throughout Aboriginal communities. In addition, should your school (or school division) normally offer honoraria and/or expense reimbursement to visiting instructors it would be similarly appropriate to extending such considerations to a visiting Elder.

To initiate the process of dialogue and participation, a letter should be sent to the local band council requesting Elder participation and indicating the role the Elder would have within the program. The band council may then be able to provide the names of persons who have the recognized skills that would meet your specific needs. It is recommended that prior consultation occur with the Elder to share expectations for learning outcomes.

Friendship Centres across the province are active at the community level and often present cultural workshops and activities in co-operation with Elders and other recognized resource people. Teachers and schools may wish to contact the following organizations and institutions in Regina:

Gabriel Dumont Institute of Metis Studies and Applied Research
3737 Wascana Parkway
Regina, SK S4S 0A2
(306) 347-4100

Saskatchewan Indian Federated College
College West, University of Regina
Regina, Sask. S4S 0A2
(306) 584-8333

Shared Values and At-Risk Youth

Shared Values: The criteria for successful lessons must fall in with Regina Public Schools' statement of shared values: I belong, I respect, I am responsible, and I want to know.

Students At Risk: Further to this, it is generally accepted that the needs of "at-risk" students must be met as well. We can use two working definitions of at risk as published by Saskatchewan Education (1994):

"Children are at risk if they are likely to fail - either in school or in life" (Frymier & Gansneder, 1989).

"A students defined as at risk is one who, because of social, physical or academic problems, may not graduate from high school in the traditional manner" (Moskowitz, 1989, in SSTA, 1993).

The Adaptive Dimension

Saskatchewan Education (1991) the Adaptive Dimension is defined as:

"... the concept of teachers exercising their professional judgment to develop an integrated plan that encompasses curricular and instructional adjustments to provide an appropriate education that is intended to promote optimum success for each child."

Teaching Controversial Issues: