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Social Studies

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Social studies is an interdisciplinary, content-rich subject that empowers students to be lifelong learners. It draws from history, geography, civics, economics, and other disciplines. Social studies provides opportunities for students to learn about and appreciate ideas that have shaped Alberta, Canada, and the world over time. Students acquire foundational knowledge and build understandings of relationships between people, places, and environments. They acquire a growing body of essential knowledge on historical and contemporary controversial issues. Students revisit content as knowledge builds from grade to grade. In social studies, students develop skills that will prepare them to lead fulfilling lives and play a significant role in our democratic society.
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Organizing Idea
History: Understanding the history of our province, nation, and world and developing cultural literacy allow us to appreciate the varied richness of our shared human inheritance of original writings, artifacts, stories, beliefs, ideas and great cultural and artistic achievements from different times and places. Lessons of the past and knowledge of diverse experiences help us overcome ignorance and prejudice and recognize our common humanity and dignity.
Guiding Question
How did the world change with colonization of North America?
Guiding Question
How did Alberta and the North West develop during the expansion of the West?
Guiding Question
What was the impact of the Great Migration on early modern Canada?
Learning Outcome
Students describe key events of European exploration, contact with First Nations, the fur trade, and the expansion of New France.
Learning Outcome
Students examine how fur trade rivalries, early explorations, North West Mounted Police rule, and Treaties led to early settlement and to the transfer of Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate and explain the impact of the Great Migration and the War of 1812 in shaping society, culture, and institutions in British North America.
concept of “The Modern Age” – the European age of discovery, exploration, and colonization (Early Modern Era, 1450–1750): the search for routes by sea to India, the East Indies—Christopher Columbus to the “West Indies” (1492); Vasco da Gama around Cape of Good Hope to India (1497–1499); Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage of circumnavigation (1519–1522)

early contact between Europeans and Indigenous peoples: John Cabot and Grand Banks, sea silver (England, 1497), Jacques Cartier (France,1534–1541), and Ill-Fated Settlement at Cap Rouge

early encounters with Chief of Stadacona tribe Donnacona, taking of his two sons, and deteriorating relations, scurvy, cedar bark tea remedy, finding of “Route to Canada”

origin of name Canada (Kanata), first social club (Order of Good Cheer, 1606), and meeting with Sagamore Membertou (Mi’kmaq)

founding of New France: Samuel de Champlain (1605–1632), Port Royal, Quebec Habitation, Stadacona, Hochelaga, Cross on Mount Royal “claimed” for France
The European origins of the concept of historical eras reflect the dominant Old World-New World perspective.

Although the first European explorers came to North America searching for routes to the East Indies and for spices and precious metals, they found fish and furs that attracted them to explore and colonize New France and North America, and the earliest settlements struggled for survival.

Good relationships dissolved when conflicts arose over taking “captives,” Donnacona and his two sons, back to France where their return trip was delayed and they eventually died.

The country’s name and popular social practices have Indigenous and French colonial origins.

France laid claim to much of early Canada from 1605 to 1760 and left a lasting cultural heritage and footprint.
Skills & Procedures
Recognize the concept of European ages or eras and identify the “Early Modern Era” of colonization.

Explain how fish and furs led to the exploration and colonial development of New France.

Examine the evidence to explain how Indigenous-French relations deteriorated in the early years.

Explain the significance of Indigenous ways, languages, and practices in shaping early Canadian culture.

Construct a timeline showing the key events in the founding, growth, and development of New France from 1605 to 1763.
fur trade rivalries – competition between the Hudson’s Bay Company (1760) and the North West Company (Nor’Westers) for control of the main trade routes, from Cumberland House (1774) onwards, including Anthony Henday to the Rockies, La Verendrye in the American West

fur trading posts in the Athabasca region: Peter Pond and North West Company posts, Fort Chipewyan (1788), and Fort Edmonton (1795)

Women, mostly Métis, were present in fur trade country and many intermarried with traders living a la façon du pays (in the fashion of the country).

Plains Cree culture and the bison as staple food – using all parts of animal, use of pemmican (high energy dried buffalo meat with berries) used by frontier traders

clearing the way for agriculture – Captain John Palliser’s Expedition (1859–1862) and origin of Palliser Triangle – fertile prairie lands

transfer of Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada, 1869, and impact on the North West
The Hudson’s Bay Company, based in London, claimed all lands and rivers emptying into Hudson Bay (covering one third of the continent) and faced stiff competition from Montreal traders controlling the Great Lakes region and further west.

Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca was home to traders, Cree, De’né and Métis peoples, and was the base for Alexander Mackenzie’s northern explorations.

North West Company trader Alexander Mackenzie (1789; 1792–1793) travelled by canoe and foot searching for a Northwest passage to the Pacific. Instead, he journeyed up a great river to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic, then across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Dried meat food was first produced by the Plains Cree from pulverized bison meat and berries (pemmican) and was widely used by Arctic explorers.

Palliser’s Expedition report awakened people to the existence of a fertile triangle and encouraged agricultural settlement.

Prime Minister John A. Macdonald and his lead cabinet member, George E. Cartier, completed the deal to transfer Rupert’s Land to Canada.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Study some appropriate key passages of the charter of the Hudson’s Bay Company, May 1, 1670. How much land was granted to the Hudson’s Bay Company by their charter?

Ask a question: Who was Peter Pond and what role did he play in the fur trade and exploration of the North West?

Continuity and change: How do the names of major rivers help us to remember the past?

Ask questions: Why is pemmican still well known today? Which food products are most like pemmican?

Cause and effect: What prompted Palliser’s Expedition and what was its impact on agriculture in Alberta?

Ask a question: Was the takeover of Rupert’s Land a good deal for the Canadian government?
The Great Migration (1800–1850) and the arrival of eight million immigrants from England, Scotland, and Ireland to British North America and the American Thirteen Colonies. The population of British North America (Upper Canada, Lower Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland) was 461 000 by 1806, but rose to 750 000 by 1821 and reached 2 300 000 by 1850. The flood of immigrants came from a cross-section of classes, propertied and impoverished, and nationalities, English emigrants, Catholic and Protestant Irish, Highland and Lowland Scots, and German-speaking Lutherans. Newcomers survived rough Atlantic sea crossings and laid claim to land in the so-called “new country.”

Colonial War of 1812–1814 and the peace settlement:
  • causes of the War of 1812 and the declaration of war
  • key military events, including battle of Detroit
  • British alliance with Tecumseh
  • Sir Isaac Brock at Queenston Heights (1812)
  • Tecumseh’s death (Moraviantown 1813)
  • British campaigns of 1814
  • Peace Treaty of Ghent (1814)
The Great Migration of British peoples shaped the society, customs, structures, and practices of the population, most clearly shown in the pioneer experiences in Upper Canada. Most of the settlers were men, but the populace also included pioneer women like Susanna Moodie, clearing a farm near Peterborough, Upper Canada, in the 1830s, and living in the more settled town of Belleville, Upper Canada, in the 1840s.

The War of 1812–1814 commenced with an American attack on Upper Canada, led to a retaliatory series of British attacks on the east coast of the United States, and resulted in a draw with no changes in boundaries. It may have reinforced a sense of solidarity among British North Americans and produced symbols of national pride.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Read aloud and study short age-appropriate passages (in the original language) from Susanna Moodie’s famous accounts, Roughing It in the Bush and Life in the Clearings. Why was Susanna Moodie so discouraged in the early years and what changed to lift her spirits?

Explain continuity and change with a timeline showing the events in the War of 1812 from 1812 (invasion of Upper Canada) to 1815 (battle of New Orleans).

Identify the turning points in the continental war.
Seasonal survival skills shared by First Nations include
  • methods and techniques for transportation on land and water
  • accessing medicines and food sources through gathering, hunting, and planting
  • food preservation methods
  • ways to build shelters appropriate to ways of life and seasons
  • ways to make clothing from the land
Some Indigenous peoples supported newcomers with knowledge and teachings to support survival.

Some new settlers still struggled to survive in North America despite Indigenous support; others adapted better.
Skills & Procedures
Research challenges new settlers faced in what is now Canada and identify how Indigenous communities sometimes supported them.
origin and advance of North West Mounted Police (NWMP) rule – law and order to encourage settlement (1873–1905)

NWMP headquarters was in Fort MacLeod, Alberta and later in Regina, Saskatchewan.
Perspectives on NWMP presence among First Nations and settlers were both positive and negative, with the Mounties generally being distinguished as being more reliable and trustworthy than their United States' counterparts.
Skills & Procedures
Draw a sketch of the NWMP in uniform: Why are Mounties often shown on horseback?

Examine multiple perspectives on the NWMP presence in the Canadian West and Northwest according to original accounts in primary documents as well as secondary sources.
The tale of a young Upper Canadian woman, Laura Secord, warning the British before the battle of Beaver Dam (June 23, 1813) is legendary.
legend of Laura Secord, Canadian heroine of War of 1812, separating myth from reality, and why her warning the British was not honoured until 1853

Her reputation inspired the creation of Laura Secord chocolate candies.
Skills & Procedures
Watch the video, the “Laura Secord” episode in the Canadian Historica Heritage Minutes Series, and discuss whether it fairly represents her role.

Ask questions:
  • Why do stories like Laura Secord become popular?
  • What role do they play in shaping our understanding of history?
  • What other stories could we tell about the War of 1812?
legend of Madeleine de Verchères, a 14-year-old Canadienne heroine widely known for rallying to the defence of New France

Most French inhabitants of New France lived behind fortifications.

Since the time of Champlain, relations with the Iroquois had deteriorated and towns and villages lived under fear of attack as the Iroquois sought to retain possession of their lands.

Verchères was one such town, where Madeleine, daughter of the seigneur, rallied the defences in 1692 while her parents were absent from their farm.
Madeleine de Verchères is considered a French-Canadian hero for her role in defending her village against the Iroquois.

Centuries later, Madeleine’s image was used to inspire women to engage in the war effort in Canada.
Skills & Procedures
Weigh different viewpoints: The legend of Madeleine de Verchères can be seen from different perspectives. To whom was the young Canadienne woman a hero? How might the Iroquois view her act in rallying the defences?
disappearance of the bison herds – depletion of bison (also known as buffalo) population originally numbering some15 million migratory animals
One of the earliest endangered species was the prairie bison, decimated mainly by hunters shooting hundreds of bison on expeditions.
Skills & Procedures
Drawing conclusions: What caused the near extinction of the Plains Bison? Who or what was responsible for the disappearance?
Struggle for reform and the union of the two Canadas, in act of union, 1820–1841:
  • origins of the conflict over political reform—British colonial rule (family compact and clergy reserves)
  • land owning system
  • American republican influences
  • struggle for political rights, and stirrings for radical change (William Lyon Mackenzie in Upper Canada/rebels, and Louis-Joseph Papineau in Lower Canada/Patriotes)
William Lyon Mackenzie’s Yonge Street Rebellion (1837): why it failed and what it contributed to democratic reform
Stirrings for democratic reform sparked two different rebellions in Upper Canada and in Lower Canada, each with similar sources, except for the racial conflict underlying the Patriotes Revolt in Lower Canada.

“Fiery rebel” William Lyon Mackenzie of Toronto initiated a failed rebellion, but he planted the seeds of democratic reform in the populace.
Skills & Procedures
Read aloud and discuss the appropriate passages of speeches and writings touching on the roots of the Rebellions of 1837: Sir Francis Bond Head (governor, Upper Canada), on the “Social Fabric” (A Narrative, 1839), William Lyon Mackenzie, “Rise Freemen from North of the Ridges,” 1837; and Louis-Joseph Papineau (Leader of patriotes) on “Democratic Institutions,” Speech to Legislative Council, La Minerve, 1833).

Examine images of the Patriotes that have been used to depict the rebellions. What messages do such drawings communicate about the people and events, and why are such images still well known in Quebec today?

Examine historical images of the burning of the Parliament buildings in Montreal, Canada East, in1848. Why were British loyalists upset enough to torch the colonial assembly?
French colonial rule – early society in New France: earliest French inhabitants – apothecary Louis Hébert and his family of Paris, Jean Talon, first census, daughters of the King (les filles du roi)

French settlement: seigneurial system, seigneurs and habitants, strip farms, Saint Lawrence and Richelieu rivers
The vast majority of early colonial settlers were from France, and French was the first European language spoken on the continent.

Early French settlers gradually became Canadiens.

New France had a unique system of land holding—the seigneurial system—with strip farms and “rangs” running along the waterways.
Skills & Procedures
Ask questions: What was daily life like for the earliest French settlers, traders, merchants, garrison soldiers, men, women and children? Write a note back to France explaining conditions.

Explain how the seigneurial system of New France worked, outlining the duties and responsibilities of seigneurs and habitants.
ranching and cowboy culture: cattle and horses are present on the prairie grasslands, arrival of horses northward, grazing of cattle, first NWMP cattle herd and horses (1879), lawlessness on the range, spread of cattle herds (25,000 head and 11,000 horses, 1882–1883, Big Four ranches in Southern Alberta, south of Fort Calgary, 1875), early Calgary was known as “Cow Town”
Ranching emerged on the Alberta prairie and it was pioneered by the first generation of western cowboys riding horses imported from Europe via Spanish colonies (e.g., Mexico, Argentina).

Herding cattle grazed freely right across the American plains and northward into Canada.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Study the most common words used by cowboys roping horses and driving cattle on the range. What words in cowboy culture (lingo, ranch, rodeo, stampede, lariat, lasso, buckaroo) have Spanish origins? Why the Spanish influence?
Responsible government:
  • Lord Durham’s Report of 1839
  • the Union of the Canadas (1841)
  • Governor General Lord Elgin and the achievement of responsible government in the Canadas (1848)
  • In Nova Scotia, Halifax publisher and reform advocate Joseph Howe and reformers led the movement.
Achieving responsible government was a step toward democratic government because it ensured that the Governor General was required to rule with the “advice and counsel” of an elected body—in this case, the elected members of the Assembly. Today, in Ottawa, it’s the House of Commons.
Skills & Procedures
Draw a diagram to illustrate the idea of responsible government showing Upper Canada in 1836 and in 1849.
Slavery in New France: Slaves and servants were common. Blacks in New France were considered the “property” of white settlers and the Code Noir (rulebook) was used, even though it was not the official law. Enslaved Blacks were brought from Africa and sold as part of the trans-Atlantic trade in goods. Some 3,600 slaves lived in the colony in 1760 when New France fell to the British.
Slaves existed in New France until it was abolished in Upper Canada (1793) and then in all British North American colonies in 1807.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Discuss slavery in New France and consider why advertisements would be placed in newspapers offering rewards for the capture of a runaway slave.
Jerry Potts (1840-1896), was a leading scout, interpreter, hunter in the North West.

Famous Black rancher John Ware (1845-1905), along with his wife Mildred and family, was a ranching pioneer and folk hero in Alberta (Howdy, I’m John Ware, 2020).

John Ware’s funeral in 1905 was one of the largest in Alberta history.
Black rancher John Ware, born a slave in South Carolina, escaped into Canada and with his wife, Mildred, was a pioneer with a 160-acre homestead west of Calgary.

Jerry Potts’ mother was from the Kainai-Cree and his father was Scottish, and he lived and worked with Métis, European, and local First Nations, earning their trust and respect through his knowledge of the prairies and his skill as a scout, hunter, and soldier.
Skills & Procedures
Investigate the lives of John Ware and of Jerry Potts. How did they contribute to the development of what would become Alberta?
Origins of British Columbia:
  • James Douglas, governor of Vancouver Island (1851–1863) and governor of British Columbia (1858–1864)
  • growth and expansion of Pacific colony
  • establishment of borders and boundaries—the forty-ninth parallel to the Pacific formed the border between United States and Canada
Governor Douglas was an important historical figure; born into the wealthy Scottish merchant class on his father’s side and his mother was “free coloured” Barbadian Creole, which means she was of African descent
Colonial expansion sparked debate over the future of British rule in Pacific coast colonies (Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia). The British claim was staked by James Douglas, overseeing an expanding fur trade empire. Douglas negotiated land purchase treaties and the British agreed to draw the line at the forty-ninth parallel.
Skills & Procedures
Describe how James Douglas expanded and developed British Columbia and its coastal trade, sometimes at the expense of the interests of local First Nations. How should we remember his complex legacy?
expansion of the fur trade to interior and into the North West: finest beaver pelts (castor gross), voyageurs, coureur des bois, and Catholic missionaries. brandy trade, origin of Montreal fur trade, Nor’Westers

the “Black Robes” (Catholic missionaries), Father Lacombe (1827–1916) priest and pioneer
The fur trade was important to New France; the frontier was fortified, and crop production was mostly to sustain the local population.
Skills & Procedures
Weigh differing viewpoints: Why was land important to Indigenous peoples and the French fur traders?

Why was French the first European language spoken in what is now Alberta?
grain growing and agriculture: settling in a prairie “ocean of grassland,” homesteading (loneliness and hardships – drought, early frosts, grasshoppers, grass fires), invention of Red Fife wheat (Rev, John Gough Brick, Peace River district, 1892–1893)

origins of prairie grain elevators: first elevator, Gretna, Manitoba, 1881, storing grain for loading on rail cars, multiplied from 90 in 1890 to 454 by 1900
Harsh conditions on the Alberta prairie test the will of many farmers, especially in winters, and the isolation and loneliness can make life difficult at times. Frost resistant wheat prolonged the growing season over much of the prairies.

Grain elevators are known as “prairie sentinels” and dot the landscape, alerting travellers to the names of towns, and as symbols of grain growing in the region.
Skills & Procedures
Write a letter expressing the concerns of a prairie farm family suffering through the hard times in the early 1890s.

Weigh different viewpoints: Should prairie grain elevators be saved? How much of our history should be preserved? Why?
Confederation and adding to the Dominion, 1867–1873: The British North American colonies, facing threats related to the American Civil War (1861–1865), came together in a federal union with four original provinces, Ontario (Canada West/Upper Canada), Quebec (Canada East/Lower Canada), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. The new Dominion of Canada was officially born on July 1, 1867, now known as Canada Day. Joining later were Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871), and Prince Edward Island (1873).
The Dominion of Canada began July 1, 1867, with four original provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) and first Prime Minister John A. Macdonald succeeded in striking deals to secure the admission of Manitoba (1870), British Columbia (1871), and Prince Edward Island (1873).
Skills & Procedures
Continuity and change: Make a timeline to explain the sequence of events in rounding out the Dominion from 1867–1873. Explain which territories were left out until much later (1905–1949).
Social life in Confederation times: Mercy Coles, daughter of PEI Premier George Coles, journeyed overland to Quebec Conference (October 1864) and wrote a journal of her perspectives of social life at the time in Ottawa political circles.
According to Mercy Coles, women lived in “separate spheres” during Confederation times in the 1860s.
Skills & Procedures
Write a short scene for a play starring Mercy Coles and focusing on one of two age-appropriate real-life episodes: talking with Premier Leonard Tilley (a widower) and her father George Coles during the stagecoach ride to Quebec City, or her spell of illness in the Quebec Hotel and the visit of Dr. Charles Tupper to check on her condition.
Debate over the real Father of Confederation: Three prominent British North American politicians played key roles in the achievement of Canadian Confederation:
  • John A. Macdonald (Kingston, Canada West)
  • Georges E. Cartier (Montreal, Canada East)
  • George Brown (the Globe/Toronto/Canada West)
It is much debated whether Macdonald, Cartier, or Brown deserves most credit as the “father” of Confederation.

Prominent Canadian political cartoonist J. W. Bengough provided his personal views in caricature drawings, and one of his political cartoons looked at who was the real Father of Confederation.
Skills & Procedures
Examine and discuss J. W. Bengough’s famous cartoon, “Confederation, The Much-Fathered Youngster.” What did each of John A. Macdonald, Georges E. Cartier, and George Brown contribute to the formation of the Canadian union?
Guiding Question
What impact did British colonization have on the remaining British North American colonies in what became Canada
Guiding Question
What factors led to the creation of the province of Alberta in 1905?
Guiding Question
How was early modern Canada affected by the Atlantic slave trade, abolition, and Canadian immigration policy?
Learning Outcome
Students examine the fall of New France, British colonization, and how the American War of Independence altered the course of Canada’s evolution and how changes in Canada are reflected in the Canadian emblems, symbols, and songs.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate the main factors leading to the creation of Alberta, including the building of railways and immigration of diverse groups.

Learning Outcome
Students examine how slavery, the fight for abolition, emancipation of enslaved people, and Canadian immigration policy helped shape early modern Canada.
causes of the fall of New France – critical factors in French abandonment of Quebec
Wars in Europe set the stage for the fall of New France and its abandonment.
Skills & Procedures
Explain cause and effect: What caused New France to fall to the British in 1760 and what was the impact?
building and completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) – from Regina to British Columbia (1883–1887), and mistreatment of Chinese railway workers (navvies), mass burials, and origin of Chinese head tax:
  • Immigrants from China and India were early builders of Canada and Alberta, working in railway construction, forestry, and local merchandise trade.
  • Chinese immigrants settled in what were often called “Chinatowns.” Surviving examples can be found in Edmonton and Calgary. Chinese immigrants also settled in small towns across the prairies, where many were entrepreneurs and became business owners.
The building of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was considered a national project with “ties that bind” the Dominion together, but much of the work was done by immigrant workers, including Chinese and Indian workers.

Chinese and Indian immigrants suffered racial discrimination and immigration restrictions.

Exclusionist policies were introduced to restrict the numbers of Chinese and Indians entering the Dominion. The “Yellow Scare” sparked open discrimination against Chinese immigrants, and a 1906–1908 spike in migrants from the Indian sub-continent sparked harsh restrictions, capping the numbers admitted to fewer than 100 per year.
Skills & Procedures
Examine photos of “The Last Spike” of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). What do they tell you about what actually happened in building the line?

Examine the evidence of racial exclusion – compare the Chinese head tax from 1885 to 1923 and Indian immigration “cap” restrictions from 1908 to 1957.

Compare and contrast the early Chinese and Indian immigrant experiences. What drew them to the Pacific West and Alberta? Why did they face overt discrimination and how did they fare?
Slavery was officially abolished by law in Upper Canada beginning in 1793, (Governor John Graves Simcoe) and then across the British Empire beginning in 1807 (Slave Trade Act) and 1833 (Slavery Abolition Act), though it took longer for the practice to end in some places.

William Wilberforce (1759–1833) was a leading British abolitionist, who spoke passionately in the British Parliament against the slave trade.

Arrival of the Black Loyalists seeking freedom during and after the American Revolution (1776–1783):
  • More than 3000 Black people migrated to Nova Scotia.
  • About 1500 settled in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, and endured hardship and discrimination.
  • About 1200 of the Black settlers left Halifax in 1792 to find a better life in Sierra Leone.
  • Remaining Black settlers formed first generation of Black Canadians and many remain today in Nova Scotia.
Earliest Black migrants, known as Black Loyalists, arrived in 1770s, settling in Nova Scotia, where they suffered hardships and discrimination. Some 1200 abandoned Nova Scotia for Sierra Leone in Africa, and remaining settlers formed first generation of African Nova Scotians.
Skills & Procedures
Recognize the causes and effects of American slavery and its implications upon British North America and Canada, especially the voyage and settlement at Birchtown, Nova Scotia.
Quebec under British rule (1760–1776): Royal Proclamation, Quebec Act, Peace of Paris, and conciliation with Canadiens (French Canadians)
Consideration and treatment of the conquered French Canadians was a matter of necessity because Canadiens made up the vast majority of the population.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Governor Guy Carleton’s (Lord Dorchester’s) reasons for recommending and supporting the Quebec Act
Louis Riel, Métis nationhood, and the suppression of the Red River and North West resistance (1869–1885): Métis leader Louis Riel, Head of Buffalo Hunt Gabriel Dumont, and two uprisings in 1869–1870 (Red River) and 1885 (Saskatchewan)

Métis scrip was an attempt by the government to compensate Métis for the loss of land base through their acquisition of Rupert’s Land. Very few Métis were successful in exchanging scrip for land.

Following Riel’s death, the Métis fled west to what is now Alberta and as a result many Métis live in the province today.
Métis leader Louis Riel was a controversial figure—revered as a hero by French Canadians, admired by Métis, yet at the time labelled a traitor and radical of the Western Frontier.

Métis were displaced as a result of the purchase of Rupert’s Land. Métis were displaced from their homelands in Manitoba and faced challenges in trying to settle further west.

Alberta is home to the only recognized Métis settlements in Canada.
Skills & Procedures
See history through different eyes: Why did the federal government consider Riel a traitor? Why would Métis and French Canadians regard him as a hero?

Explore the challenges that Métis faced in moving to Alberta. Research experiences of Métis in attempting to apply for and receive scrip.

Identify the eight Métis settlements in Alberta.
  • slavery in the southern United States
  • the Fugitive Slave Act (1850) and its impact in Canada
  • the Underground Railroad
  • Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation (1864)
  • the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery
  • the persistence of laws and customs (“Jim Crow”) maintaining segregation
The route to freedom in Canada was known as the Underground Railroad and its end point was at Amherstberg, near the border town of Windsor, in Canada West, which is Ontario today. Fugitive slaves established farms all over southeastern Ontario.
Skills & Procedures
Historical thinking exercise: Explore the Underground Railroad experience.
Acadians and Indigenous peoples: the “Grand Dérangement” (Expulsion of the Acadians, 1755) and the Great Law of Peace (1763) – Proclamation Line and recognition of Indigenous land rights in interior and North West
Thousands of French settlers were expelled with revolution brewing in the American Thirteen Colonies (known as “Le Grand Dérangement” or “the Great Upheaval”). It was immortalized in Longfellow’s poem, “Evangeline.
Skills & Procedures
Construct a timeline listing the events that marked the Acadian deportation and resettlement.
Alberta’s Francophone history:
  • explorers/voyageurs/​guides/interpreters
  • French main spoken language
  • Francophone immigration
  • French-speaking newcomers came from French Canada, New England, and other French-speaking countries in Europe
Catholic missionaries and many clerics founded towns where Francophone colonizers settled, including Vegreville, Plamondon, Morinville, Legal, Beaumont, and Rouleauville (Calgary).

minority language rights:
  • French-speaking Métis upheld French language rights and Francophones gradually moved to Alberta from Quebec and other provinces.
  • The first French settlement (1872) was established at Lamoureux; in the 1890s, French settlers were attracted by Father Jean-Baptiste Morin; and by 1898 the population around Edmonton numbered 2,250 first language French-speakers.
Father Lacombe (1827–1916), priest and pioneer

language rights – Manitoba Act (1870), North West Territories Act (1875), and F. W. G. Haultain and Alberta rights, 1886–1891
Francophones contributed to the establishment of the province of Alberta today.

The Francophone community remains a vibrant and significant part of the Alberta landscape.

French settlements, distinct from Métis communities, grew up around Edmonton from 1877 to the late 1890s.
Skills & Procedures
Create a timeline retracing Alberta’s Francophone history.

Identify Francophone contributions to Alberta history.

Compare the different local histories of St. Albert and Edmonton (still distinct) with Rouleauville and Calgary (the Calgary enclave was absorbed into the Mission District because it was the home of the French Catholic mission, but street signs provide clues to its French Catholic origins).

Cause and effect: What minority rights were extended in the Manitoba Act and what was the impact?
Immigration and racism: Sikhs and the Komagata Maru incident, 1896–1914:
  • refusal of port authorities to allow Komagata Maru to dock
  • arrival of the first Sikhs with some working on the railway, in forestry and lumbering
  • the first Sikh Temple established in Vancouver (1908)
Restrictive immigration policy affected the Sikhs and people of colour seeking refuge in Canada. Some 376 migrants on the Komagata Maru were blocked for two months from coming ashore. The Pacific coast province remained “British” and true to its name.
Skills & Procedures
Tackle an ethical issue: Baring the door to the Komagata Maru in 1914 was a clear act of racial discrimination. Explain why, referring to the evidence of what happened. Examine the composition of the groups that made up the passengers.
  • Why did they charter the boat?
  • What was its route?
  • What happened to them?
American War of Independence (1776–1783):
  • divided loyalties – American revolutionaries (Republicans/Patriots) and United Empire Loyalists (Loyalists/Tories)
  • Loyalist influence and Tory values – monarchy, respect, responsible government
The British sought to secure peace and loyalty of the Indigenous peoples with the promise of land rights.

The United States is an independent republic born out of a revolution, while British North America (Quebec and Canada) took a different path, maintaining close ties with Britain, “the mother country.”
Skills & Procedures
Ask questions: What is the basis for the First Nations claim to much of the land beyond the settled area of New France?

Critical thinking: What makes Canadians unique when compared with Americans and the British? What do we have in common with each?
great wave of immigration and settlement – the “Last Best West” campaign (1896–1905), arrival of Galicians/Ukrainians (Dr. Joseph Oleskiw and sponsored steamship voyages, 1895–1900, and Alberta promoter, John Plypow, Lamont, 1894)

gold rush and opening of the Klondike: gold discovered at Bonanza Creek, Yukon Territory, 1896, rush of 40,000 prospectors, depletion of gold deposits, closing of last mine, 1966

creation of the province – origin and terms of the Autonomy Act (1905), creating Alberta and Saskatchewan; Alberta’s F. W. G. Haultain fought for responsible government and favoured a larger Province of Buffalo

Black settlement in Alberta: early trek from Oklahoma into Canada, settling in Amber Valley (1909), Junkins (Wildwood), Keystone, and Campsie, Alberta; pioneer stories of Jefferson Davis Edwards and Agnes Leffler Perry; arrival of the Ku Klux Klan (1920s); racism and eventual disappearance of Amber Valley (1940s to 1971); success stories – lawyer Violet King and teacher Gwen Hooks

Early Chinese Canadian Pacific Railway workers and pioneers paved the way for further migrations, settling in larger centres. By 1910, Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge all had Chinese districts. Most Chinese immigrants faced anti-Chinese sentiment and established local businesses, including stores and laundry services. The life story of former Edmonton football star Norman (Normie) Kwong (The China Clipper) and his family is a testament to their success.
Alberta experienced a slow, gradual transition to provincial status influenced by the advance of western settlement.

The “Last Best West” was the Canadian government’s European immigration campaign slogan under Wilfrid Laurier, promising free land for thousands of settlers.

The Klondike gold rush opened up the Yukon and people came through Alberta. It showed the hard realities of a boom-and-bust mining economy.

Joining the Dominion was the option favoured by Ottawa, but there were other alternative proposals, including Haultain’s plan for a larger North West province.

Early experiences of newcomers, such as Black settlers, Chinese workers and Hutterite farmers in Alberta illustrate what it’s like to face hardships in a new country.

Racism, discrimination, and exclusion were everyday realities, especially in the 1920s and 1930s. Some Black Albertans overcame prejudice and achieved individual success. Many Chinese pioneers persevered and established successful local businesses.
Skills & Procedures
Examine advertisements of the Last Best West campaign (1896–1905). What attracted early farmers? Would such a plan for Alberta work today?

Examine photographs of gold seekers in the Chilkoot Pass and explore the life of “Klondike Kate,” Kathleen Eloise Rockwell, known as Queen of the Yukon.

Examine the evidence: Study the Alberta Act and Autonomy Bill (1905) and describe the actual boundaries of Alberta.

Assess the significance of the growth and disappearance of Amber Valley over the years using sources including “Black Settlers Come to Alberta,” Alberta Land of Opportunity, and “The black people in the middle of nowhere; The lost community of Amber Valley, AB.”

Research the family history of Norman (Normie) Kwong, 1929–2016, the son of Chinese immigrants from Taishan, Guangdong, China, who entered Canada in 1907 and paid the head tax. Explain how Normie and his family overcame prejudice and achieved success in Alberta.
symbols, emblems and flags of Canada: flags –Union Jack to Red Ensign to Maple Leaf (1964); coats of arms (Dominion, 1921, Alberta 1907/1980); national anthems – God Save the King/Queen (1744), Maple Leaf Forever (1867), Canada (1939); symbol – the poppy (Remembrance Day, November 11, 1918); and national animal emblem – the beaver (1975)
Changing symbols and emblems tell the story of Canada’s gradual evolution from a British colony to a self-governing Dominion and a more Canadian, less British society over time.
Skills & Procedures
Explain the significance: What do the changes in Canada’s flags tell us about the evolution of our nation?
resilience of the Hutterites: The German-speaking Christian Anabaptist group arrived in Alberta from the American Mid-West after the First World War, settling in little colonies, seeking freedom of worship and escape from enforced military service. The Hutterites wore traditional clothing, lived in separate communities, and faced discrimination and limits on further purchase of rural land.
The Hutterites came seeking refuge and religious freedom and survived, overcoming local resistance and discrimination.
Skills & Procedures
Research and report on what you learn about Hutterites in Alberta, their religious beliefs, social and cultural life, and the sources of the resistance to their settlements. How did the Hutterites manage to survive in villages near Magrath, Cardston, and Pincher Creek and eventually secure a place for themselves in Alberta?
the first mosque on the prairies – The first mosque built in Canada, was Al-Rashid Mosque in Edmonton, Alberta. It was erected in 1938 and was initiated by a Muslim woman, Hilwie Hamdon, with funds from Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The mosque was supported by Mayor John Fry. There were about 700 Muslims in Canada at the time. The Al-Rashid Mosque was built shortly after the first U.S. mosque in Ross, North Dakota.
The mutual support across religious lines and the architecture of the “onion dome” and “cupola dome” churches of the prairies can tell us a lot about the history of Alberta.
Skills & Procedures
Study photographs of the Al-Rashid Mosque (1938).

What’s distinctive about the mosque’s dome? Who was the architect? Which aspects of the building reflected Greek Orthodox and Ukrainian influences? Distinguish between “onion” and “cupola” domes?
Guiding Question
How were Indigenous people in early modern Canada affected by agreements, treaties, and legislation, including the residential school system?
Learning Outcome
Students examine how the negotiation of treaties and the imposition of the Indian Act and the residential school system impacted First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in Canada, both in the past and present.
First Nations and Indigenous land rights: western expansion of settlement and the displacement of Indigenous peoples (treaty system)

The Indian Act, 1876 defined how First Nations communities were governed, who is an “Indian,” and who is excluded. Seeking to access more land, the Dominion government sought to assimilate Indigenous peoples into mainstream Canadian society. Amendments between 1880 and 1905 banned Indigenous peoples from conducting their own ceremonies, leaving the reserve without permission, purchasing alcohol, selling agricultural products, wearing regalia, and traditional dancing.
The Indian Act was created for the purpose of controlling and assimilating Indigenous peoples and communities in Canada in order to gain access to traditional Indigenous territories.

The Canadian government signed treaties with Indigenous communities across Canada to gain access to lands for settlement, resources, and railroad expansion.
Skills & Procedures
Describe how the Indian Act placed limitations on First Nations and communities and defined their legal status, rights, and privileges.

Examine the evidence: Why did Cree chiefs such as Mistahi-maskwa (Big Bear) and Pîhtokahanapiwiyin (Poundmaker) refuse to sign Treaty No. 6 in 1876? Explain why he claimed that the white man had no right to the land in the North West.

Read the terms of the treaty still in place in your region of Alberta. What do they say? Who are they between? How are they still relevant today? What does “We are all treaty people” imply?
Origins of Indigenous residential schools: The Indian Act was amended in 1884 so that attendance at residential schools was mandatory for Indigenous children from the ages of 7 to 16.

Impact on Indigenous boarding school students:
  • Students in residential schools were not allowed to speak their own languages or practice their culture.
  • Parents who resisted turning over their children to the Indian Agents faced fines, imprisonment, or threats of permanent loss of their children.
  • Conditions of the residential schools were poor and family visitors were restricted or denied.
  • Instruction styles and structures were different from traditional learning systems of Indigenous communities.
  • Students were forced to abandon their languages and traditional customs and practices.
The curriculum was focused on vocational occupations. Thousands of residential school students died and those that re-entered mainstream society are known as “survivors.”

Disease, malnutrition, lack of medical care, and neglect of children contributed to thousands of deaths. Former residential school students are known as “survivors” and the whole system remains a black mark on Canada’s national reputation as a compassionate, tolerant, and caring society.
The harsh realities of the Canadian Indigenous residential school system from 1884 to the 1970s remained largely hidden until recent years. The full scope of the tragedy was revealed in June 2015 with the release of Justice Murray Sinclair’s major report for the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2008–2015).
Skills & Procedures
Listen to an Interview with Chief Wilton Littlechild on the residential school experience. How does Chief Littlechild tell how he survived and eventually become a successful lawyer in Alberta and advocate at the United Nations?

Examine the evidence: Consider the mistreatment of Indigenous residential school students.
  • Why is it important to know about what occurred?
  • How does this knowledge support reconciliation?
The impact and abuses were documented in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, which issued 94 “Calls to Action.”
The tragedy of Canada’s Indigenous residential schools is better known since the Truth and Reconciliation Commission investigations and report. Personal testimonies are revealing and one of the most powerful is Chief Wilton Littlechild, a Cree from Erminiskin Reserve, Alberta, raised largely at residential schools from 1951–1964.
Skills & Procedures
Read aloud passages from the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) and take notes to summarize the key findings and most important recommendations.

Asking fundamental questions: How have Indigenous people been affected by the loss of language and culture?
Organizing Idea
Civics: Canada’s constitutional monarchy, democracy, rule of law, and citizenship are understood through knowledge of the origins and development of various contrasting political traditions and ideas.
Guiding Question
What were the earliest forms of government in Canada from New France to British colonial rule
Guiding Question
What shaped the government and politics of Alberta and makes the province unique?
Guiding Question
What are the similarities and differences between First Nations and Canadian forms of government?
Learning Outcome
Students examine how government and society in New France were distinctly French and how it gradually evolved into a British system with its own governors, parliament, and courts.
Learning Outcome
Students explore the transfer of Rupert’s Land, Treaties, the establishment of a provincial government, and political ideas that advanced the development of Alberta.
Learning Outcome
Students compare and contrast governing structures, laws, and practices of the Iroquois Confederacy and Canadian forms of government.
government in New France: King, Minister of Marine and Colonies, Governor, Bishop, and Intendant (Count Frontenac, 1672–1698), Bishop François Laval (1659–1688), and Intendent Jean Talon (1665–1672), captains of militia – colonial rule by correspondence, playing card money (Jacques de Meulles, 1685), women’s horsemeat protest (les femmes Québecoises, 1757)
French colonial government was top-down from the King in France to the Governor (New France) ruling in cooperation with the Sovereign Council, the Catholic Bishop and the Intendant (colonial administrator) and sparked periodic protests
Skills & Procedures
Identify the weaknesses in the government of New France. How effective was it in making changes or responding to troublesome issues? How long did it take to get a decision?
transfer of Rupert’s Land to the Dominion of Canada (1869) and its impact on Alberta – a new frontier for Western expansion, controlled by Ottawa, 1869–1905

Treaties and reserve system: The British Crown negotiated treaties with First Nations peoples in Alberta territory – Treaty 6 (Central Alberta, Carlton and Fort Pitt, 1876); Treaty 7 (Southern Alberta, Blackfoot Crossing, Fort Macleod, 1877), and Treaty 8 (Northern Alberta at Lesser Slave Lake, 1899). Three treaties, 45 First Nations on 140 reserves, covering 812,771 hectares of reserve land

Treaties are living documents that still apply today and are a foundational part of Alberta.

struggle for provincial rights: Frederick W. G. Haultain and the struggle for self-government – the first clash with Ottawa – the Haultain Resolution (1892) and amendments, status as advocate of responsible government in Alberta
What is now Alberta was transferred from the British Crown to the Dominion Government in Ottawa, a step on the road to territorial self-government.

First Nations and the Crown each had reasons for the signing of treaties.

Each treaty is unique and included provisions related to land use and rights.

All people living in Alberta are Treaty people.

Prominent member of the Territorial Legislative Council, Frederick W. G. Haultain of Fort MacLeod, Alberta, challenged British Colonial Office representative Lieutenant-Governor Edgar Dewdney, and campaigned for “responsible government” – a government accountable to the people’s elected representatives.
Skills & Procedures
Identify the extent and boundaries of Rupert’s Land at the time of the transfer to Canadian government administration.

Make a chart showing the three major treaties in Alberta, the main date and location of the signing, the region covered, and provisions included within each treaty and representative nations.

Discuss the meaning of “We are all Treaty people.”

Weigh differing viewpoints: Does Frederick W. G. Haultain deserve more recognition as the father of responsible government in Alberta?
The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy, established by Five Nations in Upper State New York borderlands, provides a window onto Indigenous governance structures and democratic principles. The law was written on wampum belts, conceived by Dekanawidah, known as the Great Peacemaker, and his spokesperson, Hiawatha.

The Great Law of Peace, or Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy constitution, provided a statement of the core principles of cooperation and set of laws committed to mutual support for group strength and support, survival, and respectful relationships with others. The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy was made up of five nations: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Seneca. A sixth nation, the Tuscarora, was added in 1722.

The Great Law Of Peace established how the confederacy would be governed, how conflicts would be resolved, and how peace would be upheld. Each nation would maintain its own council, with chiefs chosen by the clan mothers, to address community matters. The grand council addressed overall issues affecting the whole confederacy and was intended as a way to unite the different nations and create a peaceful means of decision making to live in harmony.

The Iroquois Confederacy was a matrilineal society, where women, clan mothers, had considerable political authority and influence and the clans were made up of extended family who took responsibility for protection, leadership, peacemaking, wisdom, and spirituality. Membership in a clan could be hereditary or through community appointment, marriage, or adoption.

The people of the longhouse: A longhouse was a dwelling for several families and also functioned as a central place for decision making and cultural gatherings.
The Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) Confederacy is a model of a good government—a federated union of nations, united with common democratic principles, laws, and practices aimed at maintaining peace and harmony and providing standards of conduct. It was cooperative and the nations were bound together in an interdependent relationship with give and take between the member nations.

The confederacy was a matriarchal (women-led) society, unlike early European society headed by men with a patriarchal line of authority, kings, and male-dominant culture.

Women were the heads of society as they were recognized for their gifts. Clan mothers were responsible for selecting a male leader as spokesperson or chief. The system modelled showing respect, sharing supplies, and avoiding conflict as ways of living together. Everyone was expected to perform specific functions to ensure community well-being and security.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Identify the main provisions of the Great Law Of Peace (Haudenosaunee Guide for Educators).

Asking questions:
  • What opportunities did the people have to participate in decision making?
  • To what extent did the confederacy embrace the principles of equity and fairness?
Weighing the viewpoints: Did the Great Law Of Peace shape American democracy?
British monarchy and parliamentary democracy:
origin of English charter of democratic rights, terms of Magna Carta (1215), immediate impact in England (King is responsible to council of barons), and contribution to democracy, law, and human rights in Canada

The Magna Carta safeguarded these rights: access to swift justice, protection of church rights, no new taxes without permission, limits on feudal dues/taxes, and protection from unfair imprisonment.

first English council of 25 barons established to watch over the King, and ensure the rights of Magna Carta were respected, eventually becoming the House of Lords in Parliament of England (like the Senate in Canada)

The Great Law of Peace is the constitution on which the Iroquois Confederacy was founded.
The essential principles of liberty in the English-speaking world and the origins of Parliament can be traced back to the Magna Carta (Latin for Great Charter).

The Magna Carta made the King (monarch) accountable to a council of barons representing the people, and influenced governments around the world.

One of the two Houses of Parliament, the appointed Upper House (Senate of Canada) is a legacy of the Magna Carta.

The Great Law of Peace set out how the confederacy would be governed, how conflicts would be resolved, and how peace would be upheld.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Study some key age-appropriate clauses of the Magna Carta (1215) that would still be relevant today. Why are such ideas as protection from unfair imprisonment still important today?

Compare and contrast the Magna Carta and the Iroquois Confederacy Great Law of Peace.

Weigh viewpoints: Was the Magna Carta a lasting legacy in Canada?
provincial government in Alberta: established following first election (1905), with a small Provincial Assembly of 25 seats and some 25,336 voters, which expanded to 59 seats and 298,087 voters in 1921, when the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) took power
The Alberta Legislative Assembly is based in Edmonton, the provincial capital, and the province is governed by a Premier in Council (with his cabinet), based upon the British parliamentary system. Unlike the federal government, there is only one legislative body, not two (House of Commons and Senate), as in Ottawa.
Skills & Procedures
Discuss and debate: “One House of Assembly is all Alberta needs to provide sound and effective government.”
Original Canadian constitution: The British North America Act, passed into law March 29, 1867, and effective July 1, 1867 (Dominion Day, later Canada Day)

The British North America Act established a constitutional monarchy with a British parliamentary system, composed of a Parliament with two legislative bodies, the House of Commons (elected lower house with Members of Parliament from across Canada) and the Senate (appointed upper house), representing the provinces.

The Canadian system is a federal system with a federal/national government and provincial governments with power shared between the two levels. In the preamble to Section 91, the national government is responsible for “peace, order, and good government.”

The official head of state remained the King or Queen, as represented by the Governor General (King or Queen’s representative) and the prime minister governed with the support of the elected council (cabinet) or the ministry.

Governing authority is based upon the fundamental principle of “responsible government” (powers of monarch limited by the constitution), especially by the powers of Parliament.
The original British Westminster model simply conferred on the Dominion government “all the rights and privileges” found in the British tradition embodied in constitutional monarchy with parliamentary power at the heart of government.

“Peace, order, and good government” are considered the core political values, in stark contrast to the United States principle of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The Canadian government system is modelled after the British system with ideas borrowed from the United States and also found in Australia.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Compare two different views of Confederation of Governor General Lord Monck and John A. Macdonald.

Develop and produce a short comparison chart comparing the compromise: Canadian constitution with the Iroquois Great Law of Peace, using the following headings:
  • basic philosophy
  • federal system
  • main decision-making body
  • process for making decisions
  • role of women in political society
Project learning: Complete a project, produce a short report, and a plan for an interview with a major historical figure in Canada’s early history. Choose one of the following figures:
  • John A. Macdonald
  • Louis Riel
  • Big Bear
  • Poundmaker
  • Crowfoot
  • Shanawdithit
  • Aatsista-Mahkan
  • Harriet Tubman
  • Mary Ann Shadd
  • Josiah Henson
  • Susanna Moodie
  • George Brown
  • George E. Cartier
  • Hector Langevin
  • Mercy Coles
  • George Simpson
  • Alexander Mackenzie
  • F. W. G. Haultain
  • Amor de Cosmos
  • Donald A. Smith
  • Sam Steele
  • Gabriel Dumont
  • George Vancouver
  • James Douglas
  • Simon Fraser
  • John Molson
  • Mildred Ware
  • Pat Burns
  • John Palliser
  • Henry Wise Wood
  • Matthew Begbie
  • Wilfrid Laurier
  • Honore Mercier
  • A. C. Rutherford
  • Charles Stanley Monck
  • Stephen Angulialik
  • Peter Pitseolak
  • Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Nellie McClung
  • Emily Murphy
  • Henrietta Muir Edwards
  • Louise McKinney
  • Irene Parlby
Government has three branches:
  • executive (Governor-General-in-Council/cabinet, including the prime minister)
  • legislative (two houses of Parliament)
  • judiciary (courts, including the Supreme Court)
Checks and balances in the system: The Governor General is appointed, but the executive is elected and drawn from Parliament, normally the elected House of Commons. Since the executive (prime minister and cabinet/ministry) is drawn from Parliament, it can be defeated in the elected House. It’s different than in the United States, where the president can only be removed by Congress via formal impeachment and conviction process.

Recent changes in the Canadian constitution: In 1982, Canada patriated its constitution from Britain and nine of the 10 Canadian provinces agreed with the federal government to a new constitution, which included most of the British North America Act (now the Constitution Act, 1867) and adding new provisions, most notably the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now laws passed by Parliament and most actions of the government (executive) must comply with the provisions of the Charter.
The core principles of Canadian government were guaranteeing the rights and privileges of British parliamentary democracy, three distinct branches of government, checks and balances, and a federal system with power shared between two levels of government, national and provincial.
Skills & Procedures
Explain the rationale of having three branches of government and a system of checks and balances.
Organizing Idea
Geography: Understanding the world we live in, and the relationship of people and places, is supported by knowing features of the natural and political world, such as oceans, mountain ranges, and boundaries.
Guiding Question
Why is geographic knowledge essential for understanding historical changes, movements of people, and the spread of colonies around the world?
Guiding Question
How does geographic knowledge support understanding of Alberta’s past and present?
Guiding Question
What do geographic representations tell us about the natural features of Canada?
Learning Outcome
Students locate and discuss how geographic locations of colonies, exploration routes, migrations of people, and changing boundaries is important in understanding past and present developments.
Learning Outcome
Students examine people, places, locations, and boundaries related to Alberta over time.
Learning Outcome
Students examine landform regions, major bodies of water, climate zones, and political boundaries in Canada.
First Nations and Inuit communities lived across North America at the time of French European contact.

exploration routes to the Pacific coast: routes of James Cook (1768–1778), George Vancouver (1792–1793), Alexander Mackenzie (1793), David Thompson (1799–1800), and Simon Fraser (1807)
Indigenous peoples lived in many different places, spoke different languages, and had differing cultural practices.

Many major river systems in Western Canada got their names from early explorers.
Skills & Procedures
Interpret maps showing different Indigenous cultural and language groups across North America at the time of French European contact.

Locate the routes of early exploration in Western Canada.

Ask questions: Why are the major rivers named after European or American traders and explorers? What are the names of the rivers in the local Indigenous language?
The North West Territories was divided in 1882 into five administrative districts, including Alberta, Athabasca, Assiniboine East, Assiniboine West, and Saskatchewan.

Geographic locations can be described using specific positioning on the globe. Places in Alberta are located at meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude. Longitude starts at the Prime Meridian in Greenwich, UK (0 degrees longitude) and latitude starts at the equator (0 degrees latitude). The International Date Line is 180 degrees longitude. Time zones follow the meridians.

Alberta place names have a wide variety of origins and can be different in Indigenous languages.

Local place names with French origins include Lamoureux, Leduc, Lacombe, Bonnyville, Morinville, Beaumont, Trochu, Riviere-qui-Barre, and Vegreville.
The names of two of the five original districts became the official names of the two provinces of the Dominion in 1905, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

All places in Alberta, Canada, and the world have specific geographic locations on the globe, at intersection points of latitude and longitude.

Indigenous names for places help to explain their history and significance.

Alberta has approximately 2000 communities and natural sites with French-influenced names.
Skills & Procedures
Draw a map of the division of the North West Territories in 1882, showing the locations of each of the five districts and then draw the actual boundaries of the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan as of their creation in 1905.

Test your geographic skills: Find the geographic locations of towns and cities in Alberta, including Edmonton, Calgary, Vegreville, Lloydminster, Lac La Biche, Banff, Brooks, and Pincher Creek.

Examine place names: Some local Indigenous language place names include Edmonton (Beaver Hills House, Cree), Calgary (Elbow, Blackfoot) and Fort Chipewyan (Land of Willows, Dene).

Identify the location of Francophone settlements and draw a map identifying the original French settlement towns.
Traditional Indigenous lands in early Canada: geographic locations of the First Nations people at the time of contact with Europeans: Times of contact vary, depending upon the region. For the East Coast and the St. Lawrence River-Great Lakes region, the date was 1534 (Jacques Cartier’s records). For the southern Plains, it was 1754. For the West coast, it was 1778.
First Nation, Métis, and Inuit territories and regions can best be understood in connection to land, kinship ties, seasonal travel routes and settlements, trade networks, cultural groups, and language families. Most maps are snapshots in time that do not capture the migration patterns of Indigenous peoples over time.
Skills & Procedures
Examine a map of Canada showing First Nations peoples at first contact with Europeans, and identify the regions inhabited by First Nations, Métis, and Inuit in what is now Canada.
  • Why do the First Nations have two names?
  • Why did the names get “anglicized”?
Identify and trace the seasonal travel routes or trade networks of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit.

Understand historical First Nations east-west and north-south trade routes with other First Nations communities. For example, communities now located in Alberta traded with communities (Navajo, Blackfeet) located in the United States.
historical maps showing changing boundaries of New France (1610–1760) and British North America (1763, 1783, and 1815)
New France and British North America expanded and boundaries changed over time.
Skills & Procedures
Trace the changing boundaries of New France and British North America between 1610 and 1815.

Analyze the maps: Why did the colony of New France grow so slowly compared to the American Thirteen Colonies?
Landforms maps show the surface relief and elevations above sea level of physical features across the whole landscape, showing mountains, hills, valleys, passes, and small depressions (coulees).

Map scales provide a way of calculating distance from one place to another on a map, usually measured in either centimetres to kilometres or inches to miles.
Alberta is a province with vast plains, mountains, foothills, hills, and many lakes, rivers, and creeks. Elevations above sea level range from the lowest point at Slave River Valley (573 feet [175 metres]) to the highest point at Mount Columbia (12,294 feet [3,747 metres]).
Skills & Procedures
Calculate the change in elevation from Fort Chipewyan to the Crowsnest Pass in the Rocky Mountains. (That’s the kind of climb Alexander Mackenzie undertook by canoe and on foot in the 1790s.)

Use a map scale: Take out a map of Alberta or find one on the Internet with a map scale at the bottom. Calculate the distance in kilometres travelled by the North West Mounted Police from Regina to Duck Lake during the 1885 Métis uprising.
A geographic region encompasses landforms, bodies of water, climate, and natural barriers.

Landform regions of Canada:
  • Canadian Shield
  • Great Lakes
  • St. Lawrence Lowlands
  • Appalachian Region
  • Interior Plains
  • Hudson Bay or Arctic Lowlands
  • Western Cordillera
  • Innuitian Mountains
Main bodies of water:
  • Atlantic Ocean
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Arctic Ocean
  • Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • St. Lawrence River and Seaway
  • Great Lakes
  • Hudson Bay and James Bay
  • Nootka Sound
  • Salish Sea and Strait of Georgia
  • major rivers, including the Mackenzie, Fraser, Thompson Columbia, and North and South Saskatchewan River systems
Climate zones of Canada: Seven major climate zones have been identified:
  • Atlantic
  • Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands
  • Prairie
  • Cordillera
  • Pacific
  • Arctic
  • Subarctic
A landform region is an area of physical landscape space with unifying characteristics, such as continuous open water, mountain, plateau, valley, or lowland terrain.

A climate zone is an area of physical landscape with identifiable common climate and weather characteristics.

Climate is a region’s weather over a long period. Each of the zones depends on conditions such as proximity to large bodies of water, altitude, and latitude. The major determinant of whether a climate zone is hot or cold is its latitude, or geographic position north of the equator.
Skills & Procedures
Mapping skills: On an outline map of Canada, draw the main landform regions, bodies of water, and major river systems.

Conduct Internet research: Investigate the Indigenous names of these bodies of water and the reasons why Europeans renamed them.

Making connections: How are the climate zones related to the region’s position on the globe and in relation to major bodies of water and physical landscape features?

Research and write a report on Canada’s Arctic, focusing on one of the following themes:
  • climate and weather
  • physical landforms
  • geographic boundaries
  • Indigenous communities
  • economic activities
  • politics and government
Organizing Idea
Economics: Knowledge of basic economic concepts, such as needs, wants, resources, labour, innovation, trade, and capital, will build toward an understanding of economic systems.
Guiding Question
How can available resources and products inform trade and choice, past and present?
Guiding Question
How are goods and services exchanged in trade?
Guiding Question
What does the economy look like in the different regions of Canada?
Learning Outcome
Students compare resources, products, and choice to trade in early colonies and present day Alberta.
Learning Outcome
Students examine trade and transportation and its influence on the distribution of goods and services, past and present.
Learning Outcome
Students examine the economic regions of Canada.
Metropolis and hinterland is a way of describing the trade relationship between a mother country or dominant trading centre and outlying colonies, societies, or communities (Paris, France and New France, Montreal and the North West).

Main products of New France produced for export to France included furs, fish, whale blubber, and wheat.

Main staple products imported into New France from the mother country included ships, muskets, blankets, woolen goods, horses, pots, and metal goods.

Products produced in New France for local consumption included bread, maize (corn), oats, barley, peas, cattle.
New France supplied France with highly prized furs (beaver pelts), fish, and wheat (for bread) and imported most of its finished goods. The mother country limited the New France economy by supplying staple products.

The fur and fish trade were profitable for France and the colony was expected to produce products to feed the people: food, drinks, canoes, wooden goods, and wheat for bread.

The French trade system was triangular trade (mercantilism) linking France, New France, and the West Indies (sources of sugar, fruits, and vegetables).
Skills & Procedures
Draw a map diagram of triangular trade linking France, New France, and the French West Indies. Label the three-cornered trade flows and products going in and out of France.

Make a concept map to illustrate the production of goods in New France—for export and for home consumption. Show linkages between wheat and bread, cattle and leather goods.
balance of trade in the fur trade of the North West – a case study examining the Fort Chipewyan trade region, 1822 to 1899, signing of Treaty No. 8 (Patricia A. McCormack, Fort Chipewyan and the Shaping of Canadian History, 1788–1920s, 2010, Map, p. 5)

timeline of important events:
  • 1822 – first York Boats built at Fort Chipewyan
  • 1826 – Hudson’s Bay Company withdrew liquor from trading district
  • 1869 – Hudson’s Bay Company monopoly ended when Rupert’s Land surrendered to Canada
  • 1881 – small pox epidemic
  • 1882–1883 – Fort Chipewyan bypassed by HBC trail to Athabasca Landing
  • 1886 – Transportation by York Boats ended
  • 1887 – Great famine
  • 1893–1898 – Gold seekers passed through on route to Klondike
A balance sheet shows the difference between revenues coming in (for goods and services) in relation to expenses (costs going out) in a business or trading area. The balance sheet is directly affected by surrounding economic conditions and ups and downs caused by changing conditions.
Skills & Procedures
Make a balance sheet for trade at Fort Chipewyan from 1822 to 1898, plotting the ups and downs of total trade (profits vs. losses) in relation to the ups and downs of conditions.
The three basic economic questions:
  • What to produce?
  • How to produce?
  • For whom to produce?
Market economy: A type of economy most often associated with Western countries, such as Canada and the United States.

Main characteristics of a market economy:
  • originated with the rise of trade and commerce in the market towns of the Middle Ages
  • includes private property, freedom of choice, competition, limited government intervention
  • prices and wages mostly set by supply and demand for goods and services
All economies respond to the three basic questions in different ways, and, in the case of Canada, the economy is generally governed by the market with some government involvement to promote sharing of services and resources.

Scarcity is the condition of not being able to have all of the goods and services that are needed or desired.

In a market economy, consumers and businesses play a determining role in economic life.
Skills & Procedures
Analyze the economy of Canada: Why is Canada’s economy often described as a mixed market economy?

How does the market respond to the problem of scarcity? Who makes most of the economic decisions—consumers or governments?
Alberta has historically been a resource economy, producing goods, services, and ideas that people in the province, in Canada, and around the world need and want. Resources and products include oil and gas, coal, livestock, grains, food, honey, softwood.

Products exported include oil and gas, sulphur, cement, stone, minerals, and fuels.

discovery of oil at Leduc No. 1 and the post-World War 2 oil boom
The resources that Alberta produces have changed over time.
Skills & Procedures
Explain why Alberta is a leading resource-producing region and why its products are needed or wanted in other parts of the country or the world.

Compare the products produced in Alberta in 1945, 1980, and 2020.

How has Alberta’s economy diversified over time?

Why might it be good and necessary for the Alberta economy to continue diversifying in the future?
Transportation hubs are important to Alberta’s trade and economic activity and changed from the early years to modern times from waterway and railway centres to highway junctions and airports.
Changes in means of transportation can affect which places are transportation hubs as the Albertan and Canadian economy continues to diversify.
Skills & Procedures
Identify and compare major Alberta transportation hubs in 1800, 1900, and 2000.

Make a map of major Alberta transportation hubs and trace the changes in Alberta, over time. Where do they link to around Canada and the world?
Economic regions of Canada:
  • Atlantic Canada
  • Quebec
  • Ontario
  • the West
  • British Columbia
  • the North
Prosperity and wealth of a region can be influenced by its resources, their abundance and scarcity, including income, supply of labour, quality of land, and growing season.
Geographic circumstances can affect the property and development of regions and whether they are a reasonably wealthy “have” region or an underdeveloped or “have not” region.

Limited resources and/or difficult access can lead to scarcity and underdevelopment of some regions and communities.
Skills & Procedures
Examine the evidence: Compare the production of Canada’s economic regions, utilizing the latest gross domestic product (GDP) and GDP per capita/person figures for each region.
  • Which regions are the biggest producers in terms of production?
  • Which regions have the highest and lowest GDP per person?
  • Which regions are most diversified?
Identify and explain the disparities that exist between and within the economic regions of Canada.
Organizing Idea
Financial Literacy: Responsible choices to build a thriving life for self, family, and society are supported by knowledge, skills, and understanding of earning, investing, spending, borrowing, and financial security.
Guiding Question
What are the essential principles and advantages of knowing the basics about making wise and responsible financial choices?
Guiding Question
Why is developing a business plan a good idea when managing an operation or planning a new project?
Guiding Question
Why do we save and invest in our everyday life?
Learning Outcome
Students develop insights about wise management of what they have.
Learning Outcome
Students develop a business plan to support historical understandings of the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Learning Outcome
Students investigate how decisions about saving and investing are made and are important for individuals and a healthy Canadian economy.
Being “money smart” is a basic skill in today’s world and it’s important to be able to manage your own money and resources.
Building a foundation of good habits of caring for the things you have at an early age helps you to make the most effective use of your resources. Knowing the value of money and how to manage it is helpful in everyday home, school, and extra-curricular activities.

There are many ways of giving to others, regardless of whether you have money, but managing your money well can mean that you have more ways to share or donate to worthy causes.
Skills & Procedures
Personal money matters: What money is spent on you – per day, per week, over a month? What proportion goes to basic needs, entertainment, or fun activities? Do you stock up or save some things in case you need them later? Do you share with others?

Discuss how saving can start at an early age. An individual does not need to wait to have more money or be older to start saving money.
Features of a business plan include
  • type of business
  • description of business
  • costs
  • market
  • tracking of revenue and expenses
  • profit
Planning and managing: Using a business plan involves studying the benefits in relation to costs and helps businesses be more successful.
Skills & Procedures
Identify basic features of a business plan.

Explain how a business plan helps to guide decision making in a business or in carrying out a new project.

Asking questions: How is your family like or unlike a business (budgeting, costs, profit)?
Basics of banking: Saving and investing has its own vocabulary:
  • bank account
  • saving
  • chequing
  • balance
  • deposits
  • withdrawals
  • debt
  • service fees
  • debit card
  • credit card
  • interest
  • e-transfers
Canada’s first bank was the Bank of Montreal, founded in 1817.
Online banking and automated teller machines (ATMs) are tools that can assist with money skills and decisions.
Skills & Procedures
Develop your financial literacy: Examine a bank account in your family or an example from elsewhere and a printout of transactions.

What’s the purpose of saving? How might saving help you to achieve a personal goal? Give some examples of what might be possible.
the value of saving – for desired purchases and for help during a “rainy day” (when losses are suffered and others need your help)
Saving is part of wise personal planning. It allows you to save-up for bigger purchases and also comes in handy during a “rainy day” or period of financial losses affecting you or your family members.
Skills & Procedures
Plan a party for your class with a budget of $100. How much would you spend for food so that everyone has enough? How much for fun activities? If you have money left over and it was yours to decide, what would you do with it?
A business plan is a document that summarizes plans to carry out projects over time. Plans normally include the following: type of business, description of business, costs (construction), market (potential customers), sources of revenue (funding, tickets), costs (land, rails, tracks, engineers, and workers), and possible profits.

Constructing the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was the biggest business project at the time.
Developing a business plan helps to ensure the success of a business or a project, large or small, by assessing the potential benefits (gains) and possible costs (losses).
Skills & Procedures
Make a business plan to plan for the Construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway (1881–1885). It will be a risky plan to effectively manage resources and keep initial losses to a minimum. What are the costs and the benefits in economic and human terms?

Choose a contemporary example of government support for regional development. Why do governments provide support?
Interest on deposits and investments: The formula for calculating interest involves principal (size of deposit), rate of interest, and term of deposit.
Interest on money in savings or investment funds can be paid out to you or earned and retained in your account.
Skills & Procedures
Distinguish between deposits and loans: Identify situations where an individual can earn interest or pay interest.

Calculate the interest to be paid back on a bank loan.
Paying for goods and services: Money (currency and bank notes/dollar bills/credit cards) are used to purchase goods today. Flashback – Bartering goods/products led to the introduction of money.

Spending money: Consumers today have plenty of choice, far more than in colonial times: spend (on cars or iPhones), save (for a house), invest (in a company), and donate (to a charity/good cause).

Choosing to keep some money for yourself for later (pay yourself first) before you spend it can be an important first step to prudent money choices and a wise lifelong habit.
Choice related to money involves trading one thing for another.

The outcome of a choice related to money may have consequences that can be both intended and unintended.

Borrowing money to buy goods carries risks as well as rewards. Lending money is the same. Borrowing more than you can afford is unwise.
Skills & Procedures
Make a list of the many forms of money in today’s economy: coins, bills, plastic, electronic.

Ask a question: What happens when a colony/province/family lives beyond its means (borrows money and spends more than it earns in income)?
Loans: money borrowed from others, including banks and financial institutions: The loan can come from family, friends, institutions, or alternative financial services.
Borrowing money in the form of loans can cost money in the form of interest on the amount borrowed and over the term of the agreement.
Skills & Procedures
Be money wise with borrowing money from others, including banks.
  • Why is it wise to deal with chartered banks or credit unions?
  • Why are “pay day loans” risky and expensive?
Investments: Putting money into investment funds, stocks, and bonds can be a way to earn money for knowledgeable investors.
Interest earned can vary greatly with the investment and the estimated risk associated with the deposit or investment. Some investments are “high risk” and others “low risk” or “no risk” in the market.
Skills & Procedures
Calculate the interest on various accounts and investments:
  • What is the interest paid on regular chequing accounts, savings accounts, and term deposits?
  • When does saving become investing?