Initial Document of Learning: PLO B2

When we reflected on the PLOs while writing our Midterm blog post, section B2 of the booklet was an area that I was still curious about since we had only briefly outlined it during class. From hearing a bit about some characters during the roleplay, such as Tecumseh and Louis Riel, I became interested in learning about the different treaties and the involvement of the Aboriginals and Metis with the history of Canada. Fortunately, many people in the class were on the same page as I was, so for a couple of weeks, we went further in depth on learning about “the impact of interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers in Canada.”

Now that we have covered the different ideas of section B2 (including reserves, treaties & acts, and residential schools), I am able to have my own opinions and feelings towards the events since I have developed a better understanding of the topic. I remember how I used to celebrate Canada day as a happy tradition with fun events, however, I am now aware of this country’s dark past.

I used to have barely any knowledge on the topic of reserves and treaties. I had no idea what the Indian Act was and how it started First Nation reserves. When I heard people start an event with acknowledging the fact that we were standing on First Nation land, it didn’t have much of a meaning to me until we discussed it in class, and I realized how it showed respect towards the Aboriginals. We read a booklet on the different types of treaties and the reasons for signing each one. For instance, the Treaty of Albany was the Iroquois’ way to ensure military protection from the British, while keeping the other Aboriginal groups peaceful and happy by ‘sharing’ the land that technically wasn’t theirs. Now that I understand how treaties were created to provide benefits such as protection and resources, I feel like these rules were important to establishing peace between different groups of people.

Something else I learned from section B2 was the truth behind residential schools. I used to recognize the words “residential school” as something that was simply bad. I never heard about the torture the Aboriginal children went through, and the scars that were left behind both mentally and physically. After Mr.Jackson had read the section from the story about residential schools, there was a chilling silence in the classroom. The reason was because many people, including myself, had never been aware about the details of what these poor children had to go through, such as being separated from their families and stripped of their culture. The information hit us hard since society has changed so much since then. When I heard that people had tried to  ‘erase the Aboriginal culture’ from these children so that they could become more Canadian, I thought about how completely opposite that is from modern Canada. Canada is known for it’s cultural diversity nowadays, and it is hard to believe that the original Canadians had treated others this way in the past because they followed their own traditions and way of life. Now that I know the truth behind residential schools, I feel upset that at one point of time, some people actually thought that erasing someone’s culture was the right thing to do, and that children had to go through physical, sexual, and mental abuse that left them to be negatively affected permanently.

When we watched the movie on Louis Riel, I found it interesting to watch as the history of Canada played out. Mr.Jackson’s commentary helped me to understanding what was going on in the film, such as how religion was tied into Louis’s determination in protecting Aboriginal rights. I was drawn to learning about what life was like for the Aboriginals and how they had to fight for their own rights and to preserve their own culture. I am glad that they had someone like Louis Riel to look up to that could guide them towards making agreements that were supposed to give them rights to keeping their land.

In the past, I did learn about the fur trade and gold rush, which were two key ideas in building Canada. However, this semester I did learn a bit more about these than I had known before, such as how treaties were signed while the Hudson Bay Company was involved in trading with the Aboriginals. I used to find the gold rush quite interesting as well, and I still remember how happy I had been to visit Barkerville the summer of grade 3 after I had learnt about it. Now, I continue to share that passion for learning about Canada when it comes to learning about Aboriginal rights and reading about how Canada slowly moves from a country of cultural discrimination to one of  diversity.

In order to further complete the PLO B2, I believe that I should have more knowledge on the impact of the fur trade on Canada. Although this is a topic that I have been taught about since elementary school, I still think that there is more to learn about, and that I should question this more often to get a fuller understanding on it. Some other questions I have about Canada are

  • Did the Aboriginals see the mothers of the Metis as betrayers since they married the fur traders?
  • Which other leaders in Canada’s history were guided by religion?
  • How many people were able to escape the residential schools? Where did they go afterwards?
  • Did the people that escaped the residential schools have similar scars as those that had stayed (eg.emotional or mental trauma)
  • Do the Aboriginal representatives in the House of Commons receive support from the people of non-Aboriginal background as well?
  • What is the difference between a province and a territory?
  • What types of technology have affected Canada?

I believe that these questions have discoverable conclusions, and I will know when I have found the answers when I can  explain the events of relevant PLOs and analyze the events and ideas. In the course of answering these questions, I will be addressing different PLOs. The ideas of the Metis and Aboriginal representatives are connected to PLO sections C3, and C4. The ideas of provinces and territories could relate to PLO C2. The idea of technology could be related to section D2.  PLO B2 connects to other areas of the curriculum (as pointed out above) because each event outlined in a PLO connects in a timeline to another event. Each part of Canada’s history played a part in building modern Canada’ as it is today, and it is important to understand our mistakes so history will not repeat itself.