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

Grade: 11
Lesson 1: The Team Game
Time: 1 hour

Topic Self Government & the Indian Act -- "The Team Game" will portray paternalism and inequality

Rationale Self-government would help to alleviate the inequality.

Materials and Resources

  • 4 dictionaries
  • Overhead projector
  • "Indian Act of 1876" (Notes for transparency included)
  • Reward for the winning team (jelly beans)

Main concepts

  • The Indian Act was imposed on aboriginal people.
  • It has been a hindrance to Native culture and economic development.
  • Self government would help provide stability and allow for self-reliance
  • Students will become aware of how the Indian Act contributed to the destruction of self-determination by Native people.
  • The Indian Act did not provide equality for all people living in Canada.
  • The current fight for self-government is a just cause.

Intended Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate awareness of the provisions of the Indian Act and its impact on the citizenship of Aboriginal Canadians.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the history and present status of Aboriginal land claims and self-government in Canada.
  • Recognize connections between events and their causes, consequences, and implications.
  • Identify elements that contribute to the regional, cultural, and ethnic diversity of Canadian society.
  • Develop and express appropriate responses to issues or problems.
  • Reassess their responses to issues on the basis of new information.
  • Describe the role of Canada's First Nations peoples in shaping Canadian identity.
  • Demonstrate the ability to think critically, including the ability to:
    1. Define an issue or problem
    2. Develop hypothesis and supporting arguments
  • Communicate effectively in written and spoken language or other forms of expression, as appropriate for the social sciences.

Vocabulary in Material

  • Assimilation
  • Colonialism
  • Impose
  • Ward
  • Indian Act
  • Indian Agent
  • Paternalism
  • Self-Government
  • Enfranchise

Planned Learning Activities

  1. Split the class into two teams of relatively equal size (boys/girls, blue/brown eyes).
  2. Tell them that they will have 20 minutes to compose as many words as they can out of the word "paternalism" and that the winning team will get a better mark.
  3. Have team "A" select a captain however they wish.
  4. Team "B" may choose a captain from the two students with the shortest hair.
  5. Give each team captain a dictionary and keep one for yourself and another teacher.
  6. Team "A" must check all words with their captain and then every 5 words with you before they may be added to their official list.
  7. Team "B" must check with their captain as well, but the captain must get approval from the other teacher for every two words before it may be added to their list.
  8. The other teacher, ideally located down the hall, must look up every word, keep a copy of the list and occasionally be "too busy" to look up each word on demand.
  9. Team "B" should occasionally be given jelly beans to keep them happy.
  10. Call time after 20 minutes and have each team read their list of words from their "official" lists.
  11. Award the winning team bogus bonus marks
  12. A reflective writing should be done at this time (fairness, different rules etc).
  13. After the writing is collected, discuss what happened.
  14. Draw a comparison between Natives and non-Natives and the Indian Act of 1876.
Homework assignment: Write a definition of paternalism in your own words and give a minimum of two examples.


  1. Participation during the "team" activity.
  2. Write one or two paragraphs of reflective writing after the "team" activity.

Gifted Student Activities:

  • Research self-government issues in Australia, Africa, or South America.
  • Reasearch urrent federal government interest in making changes to the Indian Act and possible motivation may be researched.

Special Student Activities:

  • What is the difference between being told what to do and choosing what to do? Is it better to choose or have choices? Write, draw or talk about examples: cleaning your room, doing chores, etc.

Other Integration Opportunities

  1. Voting rights and legal representation in Parliament.
  2. Violation of democratic ideology.
  3. Discussion of political ideology.

Resources Used and Supplementary Materials Available

  1. The Indian Act and What It Means, Union of B.C Indian Chiefs, 700-73 Water St., Vancouver, B.C., V6B1A1
  2. Shaking off paternalism, Darshan Lindsay, A3-A4, Capital News, May 4th, 1994, 2495 Enterprise Way, Kelowna, B.C., V1X 7K2
  3. The Inherent Right to Self-Government, Fred R. Fenwick, 40-41,Law Now, Feb/ Mar. 1999
  4. What's the deal with treaties? B.C Treaty Commission 2000 (video and booklet) 203-1155 West Pender St. Vancouver, B.C. V6E 2P4
  5. Course Manual, First Nations Study 1, Open Learning Agency
  6. Bringing BC Together, The Nisg'a Treaty, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, Victoria B.C., 1998

Web Sites

  1. Aboriginal Self-Government in Canada, Denis Wall, Ph.D. www.ualberta.ca
  2. Negotiations Completed on Westbank First Nation Self-Government Agreement www.ainc-inac.gc.ca
  3. Indian Act, Department of Justice, laws.justice.gc.ca
  4. Canada's Native Peoples, About Canada, www.pch.gc.ca

NOTE: Indian Act Information Transparency information below

General Features Of The Indian Act of 1876

  • the first of many versions
  • determines who was "Indian"
  • status meant that you qualified under the Act
  • losing status meant losing your community

Defining "Status Indian"

  • any male person of First Nations blood belonging to a band
  • the children of such a person
  • his wife
  • women lost status by not marrying a status person
  • status could be lost if born out of a legal marriage
  • status could be lost if you were out of the country for more than 5 years


  • under the Act a First Nations person could not vote
  • could vote if, after a three year probation period, they:
    1. became literate in English or French
    2. were free of debt
    3. had strong moral character
  • could vote if they earned a university degree or:
    1. became a doctor
    2. became a lawyer
    3. became a priest
    4. became a teacher
  • given the vote meant that full rights as a citizen also applied:
    • could own land
    • could consume alcohol
  • given a portion of home reserve land to own
  • this meant that the Indian Act no longer applied to them
  • they could not go home to live with their families
  • this section of the Act was repealed in 1985

Band Government

  • replaced any traditional governments the band may have had
  • chief and council elected under supervision of the Indian Agent
  • chief could be thrown out of office by the Canadian government for dishonesty, intemperance, immorality or incompetence

Powers of the Band Council

  • the care of public health
  • observe order and decorum at assemblies
  • repression of intemperance and profligacy
  • prevent trespass by cattle
  • maintenance of roads, bridges, ditches and fences
  • construction and repair of school houses and public buildings on reserves
  • establish pounds and appoint a pound keeper

Indian Lands

  • reserve lands are property of the Canadian government
  • are held "in Trust"
  • couldn't be sold, mortgaged, leased, or seized without governemt consent

Indian Agent

  • Canadian government appointed representative
  • controlled everything the Indian Act dealt with
  • could veto band decisions
  • issued passes to allow Natives to leave the reserve
  • agents were gradually phased out
  • Potlatch/Sundance ceremonies outlawed in 1884 through an amendment to the Act

Pursuit of Claims

  • was made illegal for a lawyer or anyone else to accept money for:
    • pursuit of land claims
    • pursuit of any issue involving First Nations people

General Government Policy

  • main thrust was assimilation
  • wanted to replace Native culture
  • the main tool was the residential school

Summative Criteria

Criteria Ratings Comments
Game was used to extract interesting and relevant information pertaining to the reality of paternalism/unfairness 4 3 2 1  
Student demonstrates an understanding of the important ideas about the topic (through interaction and activities) 4 3 2 1  
The student uses effective communication throughout the discussions 4 3 2 1  
Group participation and cooperation 4 3 2 1  
Is able to appreciate another perspective and value its worth 4 3 2 1  
Reflective writing entry demonstrates a clear understanding of concepts studied 4 3 2 1  
Reflective writing entry is organized and easy to follow 4 3 2 1  
Homework assignment is completed with a minimum of 2 examples given 4 3 2 1