Discovering First Peoples and FirstContacts-SS3,5,6

Oxford University PressSKU: 0195414888

Daniel Francis
Grade Levels:
Multiple Nations
Book Type:
Oxford University Press
Copyright Data:

Sale price$46.19


Discovering First Peoples and First Contacts is a recent publication designed to meet the previous Ontario curriculum guidelines for the grade 6 Heritage and Citizenship strand. The text introduces the original "settlers" of Canada by covering four main cultural regions - Mi'kmaq, Northwest Coast, Plains, and Iroquoians of the St. Lawrence lowlands. Two brief chapters discuss origin theories and creation stories as well as the linguistic distribution of Aboriginal Peoples throughout precontact Canada. The remaining chapters cover all the standard European explorers, the fur trade, and devote single chapters to the Metis, women in the fur trade, the Inuit, and contributions of Aboriginal Peoples in contemporary Canada. The illustrated text is designed for student use with its two-page spread format for each topic. Maps, photographs, a glossary and suggestions for student activities are included. While this type of text is meeting the market demand for grade six in Ontario, minor errors may confuse and mislead teachers and students. For example, the map of linguistic families omits the Mohawk from the Iroquoian family but lists the remaining four nations as well as Haudenosaunee under this broad linguistic term. There is no glossary or explanation for Haudenosaunee/Five Nations Iroquois, and this omission may confuse teachers who are unfamiliar with the terms Haudenosaunee, Iroquois and Iroquoian. The author selectively uses proper names of Nations such as Haudenosaunee, Siksika, and Mi'kmaq. Unfortunately he consistently uses the term Ojibway instead of Anishnawbe. In the final chapter that discusses contemporary issues, the meaning of land claims in the text does not conform to the glossary explanation. The meaning provided in the text is incorrect and this can lead to confusion. In another example that lists the contributions of contemporary Aboriginal people, the brief summary of Rosemary Kuptana's achievements does not include her substantial contribution in the realm of international Indigenous rights. Despite these concerns the text can serve as an adequate grade six resource for the history of European explorers in Canada but it must be used with caution as a resource regarding Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.

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