(note: this can be counted as a compulsory English credit.)
“This course emphasizes the development of literacy, critical thinking, and communication skills through the study of works in English by Aboriginal writers. Students will study the content, form, and style of informational texts and literary and media works, and will develop an appreciation of the wealth and complexity of Aboriginal writing. Students will also write explanations, letters, and reports, and will investigate the connections between media forms and audiences. An important focus will be on using language clearly, accurately, and effectively in a variety of contexts.” (Ontario Curriculum Document)
The course follows the strands that are presented by the curriculum, as follows:
Unit 1: Identity: works from various media, including poetry, short stories, a documentary, personal essay. Assignments include journal entries, letter writing, story and film analysis, comparisons between works.
Unit 2: Relationships: a study of Tomson Highway’s play, The Rez Sisters. Students will analyze the characters, themes of the play; develop opinions about audiences for the play; research and summarize the playwright’s life; explain the importance of Nanabush (a trickster).
Unit 3: Sovereignty: There are 2 parts of this unit. One is to watch the movie Elijah about Elijah Harper’s impact on the Meech Lake Accord negotiations, and analyze the politics, humour, characters and film-making techniques in the film. The second part is to research 2013’s Idle No More movement.
Unit 4: Challenges: This unit is an independent reading assignment. Students have a list (or shelf) of novels to choose from. First Nations, Metis and Inuit writers do amazing work of addressing the challenges faced by their communities. Their novels are sad, funny and both complex and easy to follow.