Seeking: North American First Nations' experience of colonisation x 1
November 26, 2021 9:47 PM   Subscribe

I'm revamping our 11th Grade comparative case study where we assess the experience of two different First Nations communities from the mid-1700s to mid 1960s; one in Australia and, this time, one from the USA or British-dominated Canada. However I know relatively little about individual North American First Nations communities and I need help selecting a specific community for our comparison. 'Community' can also mean nation or language group.

I want to be able to make salient comparable points in relation to ontologies and epistemologies, and the impact of colonisation and dispossession: missions/reservations; treaties or lack thereof; role of church; treatment of language; racism; enslavement and indentured labour; autonomy and self-determination; maintenance of heritage and identity; environmental custodianship practices; public cultural practices; forced breakup of families; contemporaneous media representation; resistance; massacres; political dis/en/franchisment; legislative discrimination and legal standing; protests, etc.

Seeking first, suggestions for a community/nation/language group to study, and second, directions to suitable teaching and learning resources about this community. The year range 1700s to 1900s is specific to the curriculum. Able to pay for effective resource packages. Many thanks. I am looking forward to putting something together and teaching it next year.
posted by Thella to Education (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Would you be interested in exploring this via McGirt v Oklahoma? This Land covers this in depth It’s a 2020 ruling but stretches back to 1800s. Some discussion of Cherokee language in podcast as well as other topics. Second season deals with adoption law in First Nations context. Might be a starter for ten
posted by BAKERSFIELD! at 10:21 PM on November 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Standing Rock Syllabus includes video lectures as well as 80MB of readings assembled ~5 years ago by Indigenous scholars & activists and settler/ POC supporters, and the readings touch on many of the topics you've listed. I don't really know that much about this, but I think it might be easy to find more about the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe or Oceti Sakowin Nation, including lesson plans, oral histories, investigative reports, recent ethnohistorical work, and more about the Dakota Access Pipeline and its ongoing legal/environmental review.
posted by Wobbuffet at 11:01 PM on November 26, 2021 [3 favorites]

For that time period, the Cherokee experience is interesting and informative and would cover at least colonisation and dispossession, reservations, treaties, language, autonomy, heritage and identity, contemporaneous media, and resistance. Other elements are probably there but I don't know them so well. It's a very different history/experience from the Australian one, so would make a good contrast in the sweep, with underlying similarities.
posted by plonkee at 4:08 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This is Ontario Curriculum for Grade 11 and 12 Native Studies.

I am most familiar with the Anishinaabe (Objiway). In grade 11 my son did an entire course on "Secret Path" by Gordon Downie and Jeff Lemire. (It is a graphic novel and musical album/film by one of Canada's most beloved rock musians) and deals with the issue of genocide via the residential schools.

There are a lot of resources for teachers to explore via this Lib Guide (note the subject areas such as seven grandfather teachings, Mathematics, Treaties, Truth and Reconciliation etc to access the subject-specific guides)
posted by saucysault at 6:41 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wobbuffet came here to say what I was going to say but better. You could also read excerpts from the excellent Our History is the Future by the redoubtable Dr. Nick Estes, which is framed around the Dakota Access Pipeline conflict but is about the history of the US government's attacks on Indigenous nations in general. (Warning, it is a lot of book, Dr. Estes pulls no punches. My non-traditional college students get kind of wrecked by it. But if you're doing this kind of work with juniors, I think they can handle it.)
posted by joycehealy at 6:53 AM on November 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Since you're in Australia, I'd suggest looking to Canada rather than the U.S. for a point of comparison. The relationship between Indigenous People and the Crown is important, and it might be an easy, common starting point.

I can't offer you any specific recommendations, but here are a few resources for teachers that might get you started.

I would also suggest Canada because of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the resources that are being developed to support it.

First Nations and Indigenous issues are also much more likely to be discussed in the news in Canada at this point in time--not for good reasons, but it is a ongoing topic.
posted by sardonyx at 11:05 AM on November 27, 2021 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: This is Ontario Curriculum for Grade 11 and 12 Native Studies.

Oh my.
I am sure it has its problems but I would cry with joy to see a syllabus in my state like this one.
posted by Thella at 11:57 PM on November 27, 2021

Best answer: You could consider a coastal community in British Columbia such as one or more of the Coast Salish, which has an interesting perspective in mostly lacking treaties and experiencing more extensive displacement but then unique legal arguments due to the unceded land. At various times, the provincial government was more aggressive than others due to the higher population of indigenous peoples, less legal basis originally for trying to take control, and repression to try to protect against land claims.

You could try this resource for educational resources.

You could also check out this timeline to see some of the events.

The Royal Proclamation of 1763 specifying land was not ceded and setting out the process for treaty negotiations also formed the eventual basis of land title claims. As I understand it this would be a key difference between here and Australia.

Contact occurred relatively late here in the late 1700s with a period of about 70 years before more extensive colonization in British Columbia around the 1840s. Resources from before then provide some sense of pre-contact life.

There were some pretty drastic about faces in policy after a period of allocating more land in the mid 1850s. One dynamic is the conflict between provincial and federal government's over land policies. There was also resort to the British Crown at some points due to the relationship instituted originally in the Royal Proclamation.

In the 1880s, decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council considered common law aboriginal land claims in Canada. More recent legal history allows for a comparison of how courts in both countries have treated some of the same underlying law in different places.

The 1890s to 1950s were characterized by the potlatch ban and resistance.

First Nations were legally prohibited from hiring lawyers in relation to title claims from about 1920 to 1950. In 1960, Frank Calder made a submission to a federal committee concerning land title, and the Nishga'a later filed a claim resulting in the eventual decision in Calder which set the stage for later legal precedents. The Nishga'a might present an interesting case outside of the coast if only because of the extent of historical documents available

Fishing rights is another key issue for coastal First Nations.

Residential schools are of course one of the most widely known and well documented abuses with lots of oral histories available through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission where I think you could likely find first hand experiences specific to the nation you choose to study.

One systemic phenomenon associated with indigenous peoples in Canada in the 1960s is the Sixties Scoop which disproportionately took children from communities into the foster care system to which effectively continued the effort to wipe out indigenous cultures following the decline of residential schools. This page looks to have some interesting resources.

Capping off the time period was a 1969 government report advocating a policy of assimilation.

You could check out this Coastal First Nations alliance page for discussions of current environmental stewardship that might lead you back to historic information, and also this page on the history of environmental issues.

In terms of specific communities, there are a lot of options depending on what aspects you want to highlight.

For resources, due to more recent mandates for integration of indigenous perspectives in all areas of the curriculum, there are lots available.
posted by lookoutbelow at 1:55 AM on November 28, 2021 [2 favorites]

I came across this series of lesson plans grounded in historical documents from an early 1900s commission just after posting.
posted by lookoutbelow at 2:00 AM on November 28, 2021

Response by poster: Thank you all so very much. My colleague at work now thinks that I have the most AMAZING friends in North America and I can't disabuse her of that notion. We are just about to go on summer break and will be spending parts of it drilling down into these resources to determine and structure our course.

I am very happy to return the favour if anyone wants links to resources on First Nations people of Australia.
posted by Thella at 10:06 PM on December 8, 2021

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