Unit Overview for

Two Worlds Meet:
Aboriginal/Settler Relationships in North America


1. Aboriginals of Canada (4-6 weeks)
  • Students will be introduced to aboriginals in Canada, pre-contact
  • Students research a chosen aboriginal group, create a model, and stop-motion video showing a day in the life of that group
  • Discussion about how change impacted these groups and their culture

2. To The Edge of the World…And Beyond! (1 lesson)
  • Students will be introduced to voyages of discovery that predate 15th century exploration
  • Huishen, St. Brendan, and the Vikings
  • Use story dramas to briefly introduce places/people/dates
  • (Extension - introduce Henry the Navigator, King of Portugal)

3. 1453: The Year Everything Changed (1 lesson)
  • Constantinople falls to Mehmet the II ending the 1500 year domination of the Roman Empire
  • Blocks the main trade route from the East to the West, forcing merchants and suppliers to look West, rather than East for new trade routes
  • As the Empire finally collapses, Europe is transformed into a series of countries ruled by individual monarchies
  • Europeans had made many advances in technology and navigation, including shipbuilding

4. Christopher Columbus: 1492 (2 lessons)
  • Introduction to Columbus…important because his actions set the stage for indigenous/settler relationships on the entire continent

5. Age of Exploration or Exploitation? (3+ lessons)
We do not have the time necessary to go in depth on all of these explorers. I would suggest getting students to become experts on one and teaching their classmates. What needs to be emphasized repeatedly is that exploration and trade (or exploitation) are linked. Power relationships changed rapidly during this time. At different points different groups, and individuals had power, alliances changed and were directly impacted by trade. Of note is that what is now British Columbia was not explored on land until Sir Alexander McKenzie manages to get over the Rockies. The power player here was natural geography. I would start this unit with a general intro about exploration around the continent and then set the kids loose to explore individual people.
  • John Cabot: 1497 (E)
  • Jacques Cartier: 1541 (E)
  • Samuel de Champlain: 1567 (E)
  • James Cook: 1768 (E&W)
  • Esteban José Martínez Fernández: 1789 (W)* Established first fort in Nootka Sound
  • George Vancouver & Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra: 1792 (W)
  • Sir Alexander McKenzie: 1792, overland trek (W)
  • Simon Fraser: 1806 (W)
  • The Hudson’s Bay Company: 1670 to present (E, N, W)
  • The North West Company: 1779-1821 (E, N, W)

6. The Fur Trade (2 lessons)
The fur trade and the exploration of Canada are linked because much of the exploration of Western Canada occurred because of competition for resources and trade routes between the Hudson’s Bay Company (British) and the North West Company (French). The impact of these two companies on the history of Canada cannot be understated, as they were often the “government” where there was none. Their use and misuse of resources and relationships had a transformative impact on what we now call Canada.

7. Aboriginal/Settler Relationships (3 lessons)
  • Partnerships
    • Champlain and the Huron vs. the British and the Iroquois Confederation
    • Courier de Bois
  • Treaties Made/Treaties Broken
  • Education and Residential School