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FNSS Curriculum Integration Project Click here to download this lesson.
Bill Gilroy (MS-Word format.)

Grade: 4
Lesson 1: Battle Mountain: Sharing the Resource
Time: 1 hour

Topic: An analysis of a historic conflict between the Chilcotin and Shuswap peoples over a food resource and follow-up conflict resolution activity.

Rationale: Students will inevitably encounter conflict as they go through life. They will need the skills to critically evaluate situations that lead to conflict and to come up with well-reasoned solutions that reduce or eliminate it. They will also be required to take a position and to defend their reasons for doing so. Learning about a historic battle between two aboriginal nations over a hunting resource will help them practice these skills. This lesson also moves beyond the stereotypical image of natives battling non-natives. In reality, the nature of the Battle Mountain conflict is of a similar nature, but smaller scale to present global conflicts, which is a battle over resources.

Materials and Resources

  • Map of British Columbia
  • Large Map showing location of Battle Mountain (Wells Gray Provincial Park)
  • Photocopies of Battle Mountain location (1 per student pair)
  • Diagram or photo of Caribou
  • Plus/minus activity sheets for students
  • Flip chart and multi-colored markers
Besides those listed above, other resources and props could include: caribou antlers, diagrams of traps used to funnel animals into traps and other hunting-related items and a map showing Secwepemc and Chilcotin Territories.


prolonged, open warfare; to be opposed or to differ.
a geographic area considered under the jurisdiction of a particular group or individual.
Secwepemc First Nation
The Shuswap word for Shuswap and the language they speak. Aboriginal people in British Columbia whose traditional territory extends from the upper Fraser and North Thompson Rivers in the north, to Lower Arrow Lake in the south, and from the Fraser River in the West, to he Alberta border in the east.
Chilcotin First Nation
Aboriginal people whose territory is located immediately to the northwest of the Secwepemc territory.
member of the deer family that specializes in eating lichen. The subspecies in British Columbia is the Woodland caribou. A small population is found in the Wells Gray Provincial Park area.
facts or signs upon which a conclusion can be based; clearly present.
not influenced by emotion or personal opinion.
the solving of a problem; to deal with successfully.

Main Concept

  • Problem-solving using a historic Aboriginal conflict

Intended Learning Outcomes
Social Studies:

  • Assess at least two perspectives of a problem or an issue.
  • Demonstrate awareness and appreciation of various Aboriginal cultures in Canada.

Career and Personal Planning

  • Apply problem solving models to a variety of situations.

Planned Learning Activities

  • Divide class into pairs; ask pairs to sit together.
  • Write the word “conflict” on the chalkboard or a flipchart.
  • Ask pairs to attempt to define the word; take answers and clarify its meaning.
  • Use the example of a recent classroom or community conflict (without raising bad feelings) to explore how the conflict unfolded and if and/or how it was resolved (did the teacher, mayor, students “fix” the problem?). Be sure to ask students if it’s always easy to solve a conflict. Ask why or why not and discuss responses.
  • Ask student pairs to define “territory.” Take answers and clarify. Use classroom examples of territory, i.e. individual - teacher or students desks, collective – the classroom.
  • Share with students how the Aboriginal peoples of British Columbia live in what they consider their territories. Historically, they used many living and non-living resources in these territories. Provide examples.
  • Have the student pairs discuss what might happen if, suddenly, a resource used by the Shuswap people was suddenly taken away from them. Discuss responses.
  • Tell the story of the fight between the Shuswap and Chilcotin over the right to hunt caribou on Battle Mountain in Wells Gray Park (the story is found in Exploring Wells Gray Park, by Roland Neave. Bring the class to an understanding of its location by using a provincial map and Wells Gray Park map.
  • Introduce the words, “evidence” and “objectivity” on the chalkboard or flip chart. Discuss their meaning. Ask the student pairs to list the facts of the Battle Mountain conflict as they see them (this may need to be modeled). Accept answers from all pairs, writing them on the chalkboard or flipchart.
  • Ask the pairs to brainstorm and record possible solutions to the conflict. Accept answers from pairs and write these on the chalkboard or flipchart. Have the class vote to choose three possible solutions from the entire class list.
  • Have student pairs write down the three voted upon solutions and objectively evaluate them by using a plus/minus chart.
  • After the pairs have finished the plus/minus chart, have them draft a resolution (a statement of how the problem will be solved) to the conflict that must be peaceful in nature.
  • Have the pairs share their resolutions with the class, telling which evidence they used and why it was objective, then have a class vote on the best peaceful resolution.
  • Close by revisiting the terms, “conflict,” ” evidence,” “objectivity,” and “resolution.” Have students share with a different partner one thing they learned today.
  • Remind students that conflicts are often very difficult to resolve, but that with the right “tools,” people can be better prepared to make the best decisions.


  • Student pairs lists
  • Facts list
  • Solutions list
  • Plus/minus chart
  • Resolution
  • Individual journal entry about their experience with the “Caribou Conflict” lesson.


  1. Apply problem-solving model to other scenarios and real-life classroom conflicts.
  2. Explore present relationships between Aboriginal groups.
  3. Use this activity as an introduction to modern Aboriginal land claims.

Integrated Opportunities

  • Language Arts - students write their own imaginary conflict and resolution.
  • Social Studies – students perform mapping activities.
  • Science – students research animals hunted by aboriginals.
  • Physical Education – students play games related to ecological relationships (as found in the Project Wild Activity Guide.
  • Wells Gray Provincial Park is not far from Kamloops. It could provide an excellent opportunity for a field trip. The Secwepemc Museum is also be a good resource to learn more about traditional hunting methods as well as the ways in which the Secwepemc have dealt with conflict from pre contact times to the present.

Resources Used and Supplementary Material Available

  1. Neave, Roland. (1995)rpt. Exploring Wells Gray Park. Kamloops, British Columbia: The Friends of Wells Gray Park.
  2. British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks (1998). Wells Gray Provincial Park Map. Victoria: Queen’s Printer.
  3. Jones, David (1999). North American Wildlife. New York: Whitecap Books.

Summative Criteria

Criteria Rating Comments
Cooperative problem-solving behaviour

Respect for other’s opinions
Sharing duties
4 3 2 1  
Indication that evidence was drawn from:

Account of Battle Mountain caribou conflict (evidence)
4 3 2 1  
Plus/Minus chart Completion

Points given to both sides
Careful consideration given to pros and cons
4 3 2 1  
Written Resolution

Resolution is based on evidence from plus/minus chart
The written resolution was peaceful
Student demonstrates an understanding of the important ideas about the topic
4 3 2 1  
Total: /16  

4 – Powerful
3 – Good
2 – Basic
1 – Beginning

The Story of the Battle Mountain Caribou Conflict

Source: Neave, Roland. (1995)rpt. Exploring Wells Gray Park. Kamloops, British Columbia: The Friends of Wells Gray Park.
“The names ‘Battle Mountain,’ ‘Battle Creek,’ ‘Fight Lake’ and ‘Indian Valley’ all arise from a legendary Indian battle between the Chilcotin and Shuswap bands around 1875. In the mid-nineteenth century, great herds of caribou migrated each spring through the Clearwater Valley in an east – west direction. The Chilcotin Indians dominated most of the migration route, except for the Battle Mountain area where the Canim Lake Band and the Shuswap band at Chu Chua hunted. At some of the small lakes on the floor of Indian Valley , The Chilcotins built long wire and stone fences leading to a narrow opening on the lakeshore. The caribou were then chased through the V-shaped traps into the water and speared as they swan to shore. The battle took place near these traps and was apparently a showdown over the caribou hunting grounds, since the numbers of these animals began to decrease around this time.”

Battle Mountain Caribou Conflict

Plus / Minus and Resolution Worksheet for Pairs

Team Members
1.__________________________ 2. _________________________

What is conflict?

Write the objective evidence about the Caribou Conflict on Battle Mountain

Plus / Minus Chart
Write the good things that can happen by using the three solutions chosen by the class on the left side (+). Write the bad things that can happen on the right side (--).

Our Resolution!

We decided:

Our evidence was:

Our evidence was objective because: