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Thinking about Evidence and Historical Perspective. vs. How do we know what we know?. If you were making a court case, which would you use? Why?. Primary Sources. Secondary Sources. First hand testimony Direct evidence Created at the time an event occurs.

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if you were making a court case which would you use why
If you were making a court case, which would you use? Why?

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

First hand testimony

Direct evidence

Created at the time an event occurs

Discusses information that originally was presented elsewhere

Analyze, synthesize, interpret, evaluate, explain

primary source evidence
Primary Source Evidence
  • Record everything you did in the last 24 hours
  • Put a checkmark beside any item for which there will be a trace.
  • How many of the traces were accidental? (A) How many were purposeful? (P)
  • How many of these traces will likely be preserved? Circle those.
primary source evidence1
Primary Source Evidence


  • How well do those final traces represent your life?
  • What would someone determine about you if they only saw those traces that were purposeful?
  • What details are added in by your accidental traces?

Consider this:

What might be some of the challenges historians face when looking at evidence?


As a group, generate a series of questions to ask as you examine primary sources

"I left a trace" activity from The Big Six p. 50

it can be a little unclear sometimes
It can be a little unclear sometimes…
  • In what CONTEXT was the source written?
  • Who created the source?
  • When and where?
  • What was happening at that time and place?
  • Who was the intended audience?
  • AND, why are you using this source?

Knowing the answers to these questions can help you decide HOW to interpret the information.

Ex. Was it written to persuade people to think or act a certain way?

typical examples
Typical Examples:

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

Artifacts & Art Works

Census data & Statistics

Diaries, Letters & emails


Policy documents

Period Newspapers




Current news

Scholarly articles



Reference books


Most websites

primary or secondary
Primary or Secondary?

Handwritten Letter, 19th C.

Collection of Personal Letters

George Washington (Lansdowne portrait) by Gilbert Stuart, oil on canvas, 1796

Biography of

George Washington

Birth Certificate, certified

primary or secondary1
Primary or Secondary?

A History of

the British Isles


Public School History of

England and Canada


what can we do with primary sources
What can we do with Primary Sources?
  • We can make interpretations based on inferences made from primary sources.

Can we infer that Chrétien was a racist?

Can we infer that the government didn’t respect Aboriginal Peoples?

how can you use primary documents
How can you use Primary documents?

Excerpt taken from ‘The Unjust Society: The Tragedy of Canada’s Indians’ by Cree leader Harold Cardinal:

“It sometimes seems to Indians that Canada shows more interest in preserving its rare whooping cranes than its Indians. And Canada, the Indian notes, does not ask its cranes to become Canada geese. It just wants to preserve them as whooping cranes. Indians hold no grudge against the big, beautiful, nearly extinct birds, but we would like to know how they managed their deal. Whooping cranes can remain whooping cranes, but Indians are to become brown white men.”

What do you think is the author’s purpose here?

Who is the intended audience?

What can you infer about Canada’s history by looking at this source?

How could you use this as historical evidence?

historical perspective
‘Historical Perspective’
  • How might public opinion differ on Chrétien as a racist in 1969 and now?
  • We have present day perspective of understanding the impact of residential schools and the current state of Aboriginal affairs
presentism yup it s a word
“Presentism” – yup, it’s a word 
  • Sometimes we take the values of today’s society and judge life and decisions of the past using that perspective.
    • i.e. “That was so backwards/wrong/naïve.”
  • Now, just because it’s what “most people” believed in or did in the past doesn’t mean it was right – ex. residential schools

BUT – we have to judge it through the lens of its time period, not the lens of today’s knowledge and values.

  • We will try very hard this semester NOT to be “present-ist”
canada s aboriginal history

Canada’s Aboriginal History

Developing your skills as historians

tell me what you can about this image
Tell me what you can about this image.

What do you see?

What questions do you have?

What inferences would you make?

what s in a name
What’s in a name?
  • Indian-historical term, not politically correct
  • Native- a person who was born in a particular place
  • First Nations-refers to only certain groups, not including Métis or Inuit
  • Aboriginal Peoples-all encompassing
contact 1700 s
Contact- 1700’s

1862-Small Pox WIPE OUT

  • Smallpox wiped out approximately 1/3 of Aboriginal populations

The arrival of Samuel de Champlain, the father of New France, on the site of Quebec City

1867 confederation bna act
1867- Confederation (BNA Act)

1876-The Indian Act

‘Indian Agents’ assigned to First Nations people

  • Canadian expansion 1869
  • Imposed Canadian sovereignty
  • 1869 Red River Rebellion
  • Led by Louis Riel, hanged for treason on November 16th, 1885
residential schools
Residential Schools
  • Established 1870’s
  • Assimilation
  • Church run
  • We will talk more about these later
35% of Aboriginal men enlist for WW1

The 1911 census shows Aboriginal population at their lowest recorded point in history (106,000)


1920s 1930 s
1920s & 1930s

Ceremonies banned (potlatch and sun dance)

No national Aboriginal organization allowed

Longhouse government

banned and elected band council was imposed

70 residential schools in operation

1940s 1950s
1940s & 1950s

Aboriginal participation in WWII is high

Tommy Prince (shown right) becomes most decorated Aboriginal soldier in WWII

1950- Indian Act overhauled with Aboriginal participation

1960s 1970s
1960s & 1970s

“Indians” get the right to vote (1960)

Creation of National Indian Brotherhood (later Assembly of First Nations)

Federal White Paper recommends termination of treaties and Indian status


White Paper- 1969

  • Minister of Indian Affairs Jean Chrétien proposes the abolition of the Indian Act
  • Rejection of all land claims
  • Assimilation of First Nations people
  • Status the same as other ethnic minorities rather than a distinct group
1982 charter of rights and freedoms enshrines aboriginal rights
1982- Charter of Rights and Freedoms enshrines Aboriginal rights

Text Reading: pg343-349 (skip 346-47):

Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Oka and Self Government.

land disputes 1990 oka crisis quebec oka dramatic showdown 1995 ipperwash crisis ontario
Land disputes:1990- Oka crisis, QuebecOka - dramatic showdown 1995- Ipperwash crisis, Ontario

1 OPP officer killed by Mohawk

Dudley George killed by OPP

land disputes cont d self determination
Land disputes cont’d -Self Determination
  • 2000 - Nisga’a land claim settlement
  • 2,000 square kilometres of land in the NassValley
  • 3 000 000 cubic meter

water reservation

  • First formal treaty signed

by a First Nation since the

Douglas treaties of 1854

  • Saskatchewan became the first province in Canada to proclaim June as Aboriginal History Month
un declaration
UN Declaration

2006 - Canada votes against adopting the draft document: “vague and ambiguous, leaving it open to different, and possibly competing, interpretations.”

2007, Canada is 1 of 4 countries to vote against adopting document

2010 Canada signs on despite noting that its “concerns are well known and remain”

The document is non-binding


It isn’t over.

Attawapiskat → October 2011

Watch - NIR Feb. 2012



NIR: March 2013: Idle No More

Started in response to Bill C-45 which weakened Environmental laws

Chief Theresa Spence 6-week hunger strike on Parliament Hill

Harper meets with AFN and some other chiefs

issues today sean atleo on the hour january 27 2012
Issues today:Sean Atleo on “The Hour” January 27, 2012

And read the article- 9 Questions about ‘Idle no more’

minds on let s add
Minds On:Let’s add

Ethical Dimensions

What do we owe the people of the past?

ethical dimensions
Ethical Dimensions

Does the government have a moral responsibility to address the problems facing many of our aboriginal communities?

Students in a classroom in Resolution NWT (Nathional Archives)

let s talk about these 2 photos
Let’s talk about these 2 photos.

What do you see? Describe the child in each photo.

What could you infer from these photos?

Now let Ms Howie give you some more context. (legacyofhope p.93) )


Using the photos as evidence;

  • What do you think are some things that were lost in the process of assimilation?
  • What effect do you think this could have had on aboriginal culture across time?
historical perspective1
Historical Perspective
  • Read the first account of residential schools from 1907.
  • As a historical thinker how would you interpret residential schools from this account?
  • In 1907 Dr. P. Bryce, Chief Medical Officer of the Dept. of Indian Affairs, reports that at least 25% of students who have attended residential schools have died
  • From 100 Years of Loss p.Welcome, & 65-66

Now read the second account.

How does this account add to or change your interpretation of residential schools?

Does it influence your thinking to know both of these written accounts were selected by a Canadian organization whose purpose is to share the experiences of residential schools, teach non-Aboriginal Canadians about the wrongs of the past and also set a foundation for healing?

  • $2 billion dollar compensation for survivors of residential schools
  • Official apology by Prime Minister

Stephen Harper

Read the excerpted apology and

response by Matthew Coon Come


you have examined 5 sources about residential schools from 1897 to 2008
You have examined 5 sources about residential schools from 1897 to 2008
  • What have these sources taught you about residential schools?
  • Did adding on sources change your earlier interpretations of information?
  • What have you learned about being a historian and looking at evidence?
action 4 corners
Action: 4 Corners

What now? How should we as a country move forward with Aboriginal issues?

Be prepared to explain why you chose that corner using EVIDENCE and demonstrating awareness of PERSPECTIVE and the ETHICAL dimension