Assimilative Policies

Gawiin Bimikawesiwan

Assimilative Policies Workshop

This guide is intended to assist facilitators in introducing Newcomers as they begin to
explore the foundational history of Indigenous nations and their historical and contemporary contributions to the development of Canada. This exploration is centred around Canadian assimilative policies and practices and their resultant effects on Indigenous peoples.

The title of the guide is ‘Gawiin Bimikawesiwan’ which means ‘s/he leaves no footprints’ in Anishinaabemowin.1 It speaks to the aim of successive governments to eradiate Indigenous peoples’ culture, traditions, languages, and ways of life.

The activities are meant to fortify Immigration Partnership Winnipeg’s mandate, which include commitments to:
• active participation and undertaking of tasks in a participatory manner
• and supporting the settlement and integration of immigrants.

When combined with leadership, teaching, and self- exploration, the following activities are intended to support personal growth and solidarity, and aid Newcomers in being active 21st Canadian citizens.

“The road we travel is equal in importance to the destination we seek. There are no shortcuts. When it comes to truth and reconciliation, we are all forced to go the distance.”
Justice Murray Sinclair

The one-day day workshop encompasses a number of practical activities. Each activity includes an introduction, a list of outcomes, step-by-step process for delivery, and suggested essential questions meant to encourage collegial dialogue, promote active engagement, and foster a culture of collective responsibility.

The tasks offer information on assimilative government policies in Canada prior to 1876, the history and current realities of the Indian Act, and the sweeping effects of government policy on Indigenous peoples. This content knowledge is fortified with the development of skills that sharpen participants’ critical thinking and selfreflection.

The activities encourage critical consideration of differing viewpoints, with an emphasis on Indigenous perspectives; they also provide openings to apply new learnings to participants’ personal identity and life experiences.

The day is broken into several activities, ranging from 30 to 45-minutes. Times allotted for each unit are approximate and may vary according to audience size, levels of interaction, English proficiency, and background knowledge.

Facilitators may build in time for collegial
conversations; however, when time is limited, they are expected to guide the group so that all topics and activities are delivered.

Times are approximate — the facilitator will need to be flexible know when to determine when groups need more or less time. The decision to add more time should be based on the richness or benefits of continuing the discussion.

Teacher’s Guide

Workshop Supply List, Checklist and Agenda
Supplies and Materials

 

Protocol
  • Tobacco and gifts for Elder and/or guest speaker
Printed Materials
  • 1 laminated copy of Agenda and Learning Outcomes
  • Facilitator’s Guide
Handouts
  • Evaluation Forms (one per participant)
Facilitator Checklist
  • Print participant handouts.

  • Arrange classroom for student discussion.

  • Set up screen and computer with projector. Check audio.

  • Prepare/assemble activity supplies (legal sized sheets of unlined paper, markers, etc.)

  • Prepare table supplies (sticky notes, highlighters)

  • Obtain flip chart, easel, set of marks for each group
  • Prepare traditional territory and Treaty land acknowledgment statement.

  • Assemble gifts/tobacco for guests/Elders.

  • Do necessary pre-reading for facilitation.

  • Test internet, audio, and video

Agenda

Use this blank agenda to plan your workshop. See page 6 Facilitator’s Guide or download here

Activities

1. Opening and Introductions
Purpose

The purpose of the opening and introductions is to provide participants with an overview of the day, including the learning outcomes and essential questions.

 

Outcomes
  • Welcome participants
  • Establish expectations for the day (review agenda, and identify learning outcomes and essential questions)
  1. Welcome participants and introduce facilitators.
  2. Introduce special guests and Elders, if present.
  3. Explain housekeeping items, such as break times, restroom locations, etc.
  4. Review the agenda and comment on any flexibility in timing or content, if applicable.
  5. Share the day’s intended learning outcomes.
  6. Provide an overview of essential questions.
    1. Essential questions are intended to encourage dialogue, promote active engagement, and foster a culture of collective responsibility among participants.
  7. Encourage participants to be a learning community. One way to do this is through a shared lexicon of hand symbols.
    1. Show participants the hand symbols for ‘repeat,’ ‘slow down/stop,’ and ‘got it!’
    2. Remind students that they are a learning community and invite them to parrot other participants to ensure that the facilitators get the message.
  8. Establish group protocols for how we want to work together. These might include listening attentively, participating actively, turning cell phones off/on silent, respecting each other, etc.
Activity 1 Additional Resources
  • Time: 30 minutes
Resources/Links
Supplies
  • Laminated Agenda, post for all to see
2. Government Legislation Leading up to 1876
Purpose

The purpose of this activity is to explore assimilative government policies prior to 1876 and their impacts on Indigenous people.

 

Outcomes
  • Describe pre-1876 assimilative government policies and their effect on Indigenous people in Canada
  • Compare and contrast the Gradual Civilization Act., 1857 and Gradual Enfranchisement Act, 1869
  • Identify the long-term effects of assimilative government policies on present-day Indigenous peoples.
  1. Distribute copies (page 1) of Facilitator Resource 2.1: Brief History of Ongoing
    Colonization to pairs or triads. Give them several minutes to explore and discuss the timeline.
  2. Assign one of the following dates to each pair/triad: 1857; 1867; 1869; 1869-1870; 1870; and 1871-1921. Instruct them to focus on that date.
  3. Call each date out (e.g.: ‘1857’) and have one group provide an overview of the policy/law.
  4. Focus the discussion by asking: What was aim of the policy? In what ways did it affect Indigenous people? How did the policy affect: Women? Families? Economic livelihood? Governance? Language? Traditions? Etc.
  5. Keep a running tally of key terms on the whiteboard. E.g.: assimilation, colonization, etc.
  6. Read the quote by John A. Macdonald. Lead a discussion.
  7. Provide an overview of assimilative government policies before 1876, pay special note to the Gradual Civilization Act., 1857 and Gradual Enfranchisement Act, 1869.
Essential Questions
  • How did pre-1876 assimilative government policies affect Indigenous people in Canada?
  • What were the overarching goals of the Gradual Civilization Act., 1857 and Gradual Enfranchisement Act, 1869?
  • In what ways are these policies still felt today?
Activity 2 Additional Resources

Time: 60 minutes

 Resources/Links

The Gradual Civilization Act

Gradual Civilization Act

The Gradual Enfranchisement Act

Facilitator’s Guide Resources

Brief History of Ongoing Colonization Facilitator Resource 2.1

John A. Macdonald Quote Facilitator Resource 2.2:

 

Supplies

3. Contrasting and Comparing Government Policy: Character Sketches
 Purpose

The purpose of this activity is to explore 19th century government policy and compare and contrast its effects on Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians.

Outcomes

  • Compare and contrast the Dominion Lands Act and the Indian Pass system.
  • Explore the effects of 19th century government policy on Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
  • Recognize that government policy has had longstanding negative impacts on Indigenous
    people in Canada.
  1. Provide an overview of the Dominion Land Act., 1872, the Scrip System (post-1870), andthe Reserve Pass System (begun in 1885).
  2. Ask: how do you think Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada were impacted
    by these policies? Does your family history relate to one or both?
  3. Distribute copies of Facilitator Resource 3.1: How to Write a Character Sketch and EITHER Facilitator Resource 3.2: Dominion Lands Registration OR Facilitator Resource 3.3: Indian Pass OR Facilitator Resource 3.4: Scrip Certificate, one per participant. Have them study the documents. Check for understanding.
  4. Explain that they will be writing a character sketch based on either Dominion Lands Registration/Fred Robinson OR Indian Pass/John Constant OR Scrip Certificate/Sarah Lagimodière.
  5. Explain that it can be hard to find historical documents that name Indigenous women due to the heteropatriarchal tendencies of European culture, especially pertaining to land ownership. Invite participants to consider how gender impacted Indigenous experiences of colonization and assimilation.
  6. Provide an overview of how to write a character sketch. Consult Facilitator Resource 3.1:
    How to Write a Character Sketch.
  7. After several minutes, have participants share their character sketches with a partner. Invite participants to share with the whole group.
  8. Check for understanding: in what ways did 19th century government policy impact Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada? How were these policies negative for Indigenous peoples?
Essential Questions

 

  • How has government policy negatively impacted Indigenous people in Canada?
  • Can you relate to Indigenous peoples’ experiences in Canada? In which ways does this change your perception of Indigenous people?
Activity 3 Additional Resources

Time: 40 minutes

Materials

Facilitator Resource 3.1: Do Your LAPS – one per participant

Resources/Links

Dominion Lands Act / Homestead Act

Dominion Lands Survey

The Scrip System

What was the Reserve Pass System?

Indian Act and the Pass System

 

Facilitator’s Guide Resources
4. The Pass System
Purpose

The purpose of this activity is to use the Pass System to explore the concept of racialization.

 

Outcomes
  • Define ‘racialization’
  • Explore the effects of the Pass System
  • Recognize the long-term impacts of assimilative policies on Indigenous peoples in Canada
  1. Show the clip ‘The Pass System’ [clip, 2:15]. Open the floor to comments and questions. Facilitate an all-group discussion.
  2. Write the word ‘Racialization’ on the whiteboard. Read aloud the following quote from the film clip: ‘The pass and permit system is a form of racialization’.
  3. Brainstorm a class definition of racialization. Use Facilitator Resource 4.1 as a guide. Write the definition on the whiteboard.
Essential Questions
  • How is the Pass System an example of racialization?
  • How is the theme of assimilation and the Pass System connected?
Activity 4 Additional Resources

Time: 30 minutes

Preparation/Materials
  • Access to internet with audio and video
  • Video clip ‘The Pass System’ [clip, 2:15]
  • Large sheets of paper for table work. (E.g.: flipchart paper, Kraft paper)
  • Familiarize yourself with the ‘Big Paper’ activity
Resources/Links

Video clip ‘The Pass System’  : [clip, 2:15]

The Pass System in Canada

Understanding Racialization: Creating A Racially Equitable University

Facilitator’s Guide Resources

Racialization -Definition Facilitator Resource 4.1

Big Paper – Building a Silent Conversation Facilitator Resource 4.1

 

5. The Indian Act, 1876
Purpose

The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of the Indian Act, 1876.

 

Outcomes
  • Explore the Indian Act, 1876
  • Describe the effects of the Indian Act on First Nation since 1876
  • Identify the major revisions to the Indian Act
  1. Set historical context. Write ‘The Indian Act, 1876’ on the whiteboard. Brainstorm significant dates in the Canadian/Manitoba history within 10 years before and after 1876. Write them on the board (E.g.: 1867, Confederation; 1869, purchase of Rupert’s Land; 1870, Manitoba joins Confederation; 1871 Treaty No1 and No. 2; 1872, Dominion Lands Act; 1873, Treaty No. 3; 1873, City of Winnipeg incorporated; 1883, Canadian Pacific Railway reaches Winnipeg, etc. [Do not erase this, participants will refer to this in Activity 6]
  2. Organize the class into pairs. Pass out one copy of Facilitator Resource 5.1: Restrictions Imposed by the Indian Act. Instruct the pairs to read over the list. Allow time for discussion between pairs.
  3. Bring the whole group together. Provide an overview of the Indian Act. Focus on key points as week as amendments in 1885, 1895, 1927, 1951, and 1985.
  4. Conclude the session with questions and discussion.
Essential Questions
  • What was/is the overarching goal of the Indian Act, 1876?
  • What restrictive measures were placed on First Nations by the Indian Act?
  • What are the major amendments to the Indian Act?
  • How does the Indian Act affect the relationship between First Nations and the Canadian government today?
  • How have First Nations reacted to the Indian Act since its inception in 1876?
Activity 5 Additional Resources

Time: 30 minutes

 

Resources/Links
Facilitator’s Guide Resources
Supplies
  • Facilitator Backgrounder 5.1: Restrictions Imposed by the
    Indian Act – one copy per pair
6. 3-2-1
Purpose

3-2-1 is a quick reflective activity that encourages participants to reflect on what they have learned and organize their thoughts.

 

Outcomes
  • Reflect upon and organize understandings of the Indian Act.
  • Recognize the current realities of life under the Indian Act.
  1. Draw participants’ attention to the notes on the whiteboard concerning the Indian Act.
  2. Instruct them to write on the top of a piece of paper:
    THE INDIAN ACT
  3. Ask them to list the following details beneath the heading:
    • Three things that they have learned from the previous presentation about the Indian Act
    • Two questions that you still have.
    • One aspect that surprised them
  4. Once completed, have them share their 3-2-1 with their table groups.
Essential Questions
  • What have you learned about the Indian Act?
  • What outstanding questions do you have about the Indian Act?
  • What aspect/aspects of the Indian Act surprised you?
  • Why is it important that all Canadian know about the history and current realities of the
    Indian Act?

 

Activity 6 Additional Resources

Time: 30 minutes

 

Supplies
  • Whiteboard with notes about Indian Act from the previous activity.
7. Righting/Writing Historical Wrongs
Purpose

The purpose of this activity is to explore the ways in which Indigenous peoples’ historical and contemporary issues have been viewed by the public and engage in an action-based writing activity.

 

Outcomes
  • Explore the common historical and contemporary paternalistic narratives surrounding Indigenous peoples in Canada.
  • Reflect upon your own schooling and educational experiences pertaining to Indigenous peoples in Canada, including media depictions, curricula, First Nations’ responses to Indian Act, etc.
  • Propose action-based strategies to combat, educate, re-write this negative narrative.
      1. Draw participants’ attention to the excerpt of Thomas King’s poem. Read aloud.
      2. Focus on the line that reads ‘….not the Indian you had in mind’.
      3. Lead a class discussion. Invite participants to think about the negative stories, images and messages they had heard about Indigenous people. Ask: Where have you seen, heard or learned bout the negative stereotypical depictions and paternalistic narratives that Thomas King is alluding to (e.g., the warrior/brave)? Think about our own formal schooling and the media depictions of Indigenous peoples. Think about the behaviour and messages of authority figures in our lives, from caregivers to politicians and respected peers. Consider how legislation like the Indian Act fits within the paternalistic narrative and how First Nation’s responses challenge stereotypes.
      4. Tape the poem to a wall or whiteboard. Leave ample space around to tack up sticky notes.
      5. Pass out sticky note to participants. Instruct them to write on separate notes concrete ways in which Canadians can work to overcome these negative stereotypes and paternalistic narratives. Remind participants: the sticky notes must have an action word/s.
      6. Invite participants to tack up the sticky notes on the wall where Thomas King’s poem is affixed.
      7. Conclude the session with questions and discussion.

      Essential Questions

      • What has been the common narrative in Canada regarding Indigenous peoples?
      • How has this paternalistic narrative been perpetuated?
      • In what ways can we combat this paternalistic narrative?
      • In what ways can non-Indigenous Canadians play an active role in Indigenous resurgence?
Activity 7 Additional Resources

Time: 45 minutes

 

Resources/Links

BC Campus – Indigenization Guide: The Indian Act

 

Facilitator’s Guide Resources
  • I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind 

 

Supplies
  • Sticky notes
  • Copies of Facilitator Resource 7.1: I’m Not the Indian
    You Had in Mind – one or two per table or small group
  • Tape
8. Circles of My Identity
Purpose

The purpose of this activity is to have participants explore their personal identity and address the importance of individuals self-defining their identities and challenging stereotypes.

 

Outcomes
  • Recognize the value and importance of Indigenous cultural identity to all Canadians.
  • Explore your own cultural identity
  • Express the multiple dimensions of your identity, noting pros, cons, stereotypes, etc.
  1. Summarize the article ‘Why continuity of Indigenous cultural identity is critical’.
  2. Check for understanding.
  3. Ask the participants to think about their own cultural identity. Ask to quietly think about a time they were proud of their identity, a time when they were challenged based on their identity, a time when a stereotype was applied to them because of their identity.
  4. Distribute Facilitator Resource 8.1: Circles of My Identity, one per participant. Instruct them to complete.
  5. After several minutes ask participants share their completed worksheets with a partner.
Essential Questions
  • Why is the continuity of Indigenous cultural identity critical for all Canadians?
  • What are the multiple dimensions of your identity?
  • How does an exploration of our own identity serve as a catalyst in recognizing the value and importance of Indigenous cultural identify?
Activity 8 Additional Resources
Time: 45 minutes

 

Resources/Links
Facilitator’s Guide Resources
Supplies
  • Facilitator Guide Resource 8.1: Circles of My Identity
9. Closing and Evaluations
Purpose

The purpose of the closing activity is to debrief on the workshop and close the day in a good way. The evaluation exercise is intended to provide participants with the opportunity to share feedback.

 

Outcomes
  • Identify key takeaways for participants and close the day in a good way
    1. Lead participants in a closing circle.
    2. Share the circle protocols and teachings. Model expectations for the circle
      • Be brief and to the point; say “thank you” and pass the talking stick or stone to
        the next person (always to the left).
    3. Introduce the reflection question or topic for discussion. Below are some examples:
      • One thing I’m taking away from the workshop…
      • One thing I’ll share with family and friends…
      • One way I’ll use (new skill/new knowledge) that I learned during the workshop…
      • How I would update my personal land acknowledgement…
    4. Once everyone has shared, thank participants for sharing as a way of closing the circle.
    5. Encourage participants to complete an evaluation before leaving.
    Essential Questions
      • Why is the continuity of Indigenous cultural identity critical for all Canadians?
      • What are the multiple dimensions of your identity?
      • How does an exploration of our own identity serve as a catalyst in recognizing the value and importance of Indigenous cultural identify?
Activity 8 Additional Resources
Time: 20 minutes, plus 5-10 minutes for evaluation

 

Resources/Links
    Supplies