Incorporating the stories and culture of Indigenous people is important to us. It’s woven throughout our subject areas, but we often look for other places to provide opportunities to bring cultures together. Some years we’ve had several students who share their Cree and Dene cultures with us. Other years we’ve had no one in our classroom with a direct connection to our Indigenous people We want all of our students to feel connected to the history of our country and the people who were here first.
So, in what ways do we bring the Indigenous culture to our school and classroom?
One of our favourite ways to learn about different Indigenous Cultures in Canada is to research artists and their works of art. Over the years we connected with some of these artists directly to learn from them and share stories about our creations. Language Arts, Social Studies and Art all collide during these lessons. Students are able to make deeper connections by integrating subject areas.
We’ve looked for art projects that use a variety of skills such as painting, sculpting and drawing. We’ve looked for artists that use a variety of media such as paint, watercolour paint, ink, soapstone and pastel. It’s been so interesting learning about the cultural significance in art to these artists.
We collected these lessons over a few years and continue to look for more all the time. One of our all time favourite lessons is based on the work of Dana Standinghorn. You can download the lesson for free in our store. It includes a literacy activity as well. If you enjoy that, you can get all of our Indigenous Artists of Canada Inspired Art Projects in our store, too.
Art is a very natural way to connect to cultures. What lessons do you bring into your classroom to honour the Indigenous People of Canada? Let us know in the comments below.