Category Archives: TALONS Social Studies 2015 – Grade 9

My Dear Nation – August 29th, 1781

My Dear Heart,

I’ll be home. Whilst my heart is with this fight, it is also with you. My Dear Heart, I know you are strong enough for us to be apart for else I’d not have left you for this time. Please know that. But I must have this fight. This fight is for my Papa, for me, for us. I pray for nothing more than this to be us one day. You cannot understand the want I have for our own freedom in France. To create what we are creating here: There would be nothing greater for our nation. This war will give us that chance. I will come home, to you, and Henriette, and Anastasie, and my dear little son Georges. Oh I do hope Georges is well. I trust that the deliverer of your next letter can tell me of this, of our child’s state. Please pass this on to me, for I wish to love him and to see him and to hold him. I do wish I could be there with you now as he comes to be a young boy but I shall be there soon. We shall finish this battle soon. I trust we’ll not be longer in this fight.

It’s been very hot here of late. We sit in our canvas tents by night, awaiting any sign of the British. I have been moved to Malvern Hill where we are expecting a large contingency of British any time now. I can hear the York River nearby, and all the peaceful birds that accompany its existence. It is so at peace with itself, with the rest of nature, it occurs so fluidly. I dream that maybe one day we can live in such a way, that people of all religions and beliefs can coexist with equal rights for pay, land, and vote. I know it’s a big dream, but I think we can do it my Dear Heart, I truly do. With these men I have come to know as my brothers and cousins I believe we could do anything. With Washington at the lead, guiding us as a father, down the streets of history and through roads that which we’ve not seen before. Washington has helped me more than I could have ever asked for. Upon my return he has taken even greater action in making sure I am respected amongst our fellow Continental militia. He is making sure that I am being valued for my intellectual skills that can help us conquer the British in seemingly insurmountable circumstances.

Not quite a month ago I was alone with only a small number of troops when the British set siege upon us from every angle. I organized expeditions run by small groups to do the same to them, and while we executed short and powerful sessions against them they became fearful there were more of us than there were. This led to their retreat only a week later. Washington has recognized my abilities and trusts me to get the job done whatever the situation.

He has become a father to me more than my own ever got the chance to be. Though I hold it not to be the one who wishes against my birth parent, George has done more of a job than I could ever imagine a father could do. He comforts me in the quiet of his home on leave, but allows me lead in the heat of battle. He cares for me with more honour and heart than anyone ever has before and I don’t know in what position I would be without his support to this point. I don’t know how I would be here, and without you, surviving if it was not for his words of love. I’ll not look ahead to the time I must bid him adieu, to the time beyond when I can no longer embrace him after an unpleasant adventure or a a disappointment that breaks me to the bone of my heart. ‘Twill not be a pleasure for the neither of us. I do wish he could come and live with us, a a grandparent to our little ones and teach them as he has taught me, all the most important and moral lessons of one’s life. But that, for obvious reasons, will not be a feasible future.

However at the present I am still here, and the good man has told me of our plans for the battle to end it all. Yorktown shall be the place, a fight for the history of our young nations. Not only shall we overcome the British but this shall prove the possibilities of belief. From here we can bring these ideals to France and our beloved people. Washington, Jefferson and the others can help me prepare for our own fight. I promise it will be the best outcome for you and our young children, I would not nothing more than to provide your babies with a society of utmost civility and liberty.

Upon my last visit, though short, I was able to gain some support from the reluctant French militias, and with the surviving Continental contingent I should think it likely we can pull off the victory.

Oh how I do wish to see your face my Dear Heart. When my brothers have their women about them at night I imagine myself with you in your gracious presence, and how you would outshine them as the brightest star fills the night sky. You are but the Sun in my universe and I will revolve around you my Dear Heart. For this time parted is not of my enjoyment. Please forgive me for my absence, for  upon my return I’ll have though of you every step of the journey.

Please set a kiss upon the heads of our little ones, and though I think it not necessary to present, I only wish to set a kiss upon yours my glorious Dear Heart.

Lafayette

The Good Ol’ Days – Socials Final Address

It’s been a long and intense year, both in social studies and in many other aspects. We’ve covered a lot. Thinking back, it’s hard  to realize that it was over six months ago that I was stressing out over my first eminent person study and interviewing my idol. Now, we’ve finished off with an anything but linear political exploration. Additionally, we looked back on Canada; What can we learn from our country’s past and what made it what it was?

For my socials final address, I chose to create and present a personality who not only existed in our period of study, but also experienced many of the challenges and saw many of the issues of that time. The following is the historical life presentation I created that my personality, and guest speaker, presented to our class on our final day of socials.  It is the historical life of John O’Callaghan, who lives in Winnepeg, and is visiting our class in the late 1800s after his move from the East Coast. He focuses on his experiences and self-realization as a main theme of topic.

“Oh hello everyone! It’s an honour to be here today. You know, I’ve always wanted to speak to a group like you. It’s amazing to see such a diverse classroom, with so many different identities and backgrounds in one group of young individuals. I hope you realize how special that is. Now you’re probably wondering where I’m from, or why I have an Irish accent if I live in Canada. So let me tell you a bit about myself.

I grew up in Ireland just north of Dublin in the late 1830s. I was born in 1834, a year after Britain officially abolished the trade of slaves. Our family had a potato farm, and we were proud to be Irish. I walked home from school every day with the neighbour’s son, he was about 5 years older than me. He used to tell me about how when he was younger he didn’t have to do any work because they had slaves for that. He was always complaining about the next or newest chore he was heading home to. His father had gotten rid of their slaves when the new law was brought in, because he knew no slaves would be allowed very soon. We came from very different households. My father didn’t believe in slaves. He believed in us doing our own work that we deserved to do. We had chosen to own a farm, it was our duty to maintain it, you couldn’t pay anyone else to do it for you.

Eleven years after I was born, the Great Famine hit Ireland. People got sick and starved everywhere. We were fine for the first few years, but in 1850, my father got sick. There wasn’t enough supplies to get him healthy and there was no where we could take him. He passed away only a few months after the illness hit him. Soon after this, my mother, myself, and my two older brothers moved to Canada. It was the colony with new hope, for the crown, for the Irish, and for our family.

The first little while, we lived in Halifax,  Nova Scotia. We were welcome there, it seemed as though we arrived with our foot already two steps along the path to success in our new life. Then confederation came around. It was a big deal. By that time I was a little older and could actually think for myself. And I didn’t think much of those politicians. You know everyone says you have to agree with someone, but that’s not true. What’s really important is that you agree with yourself. I never much agreed with ol’ Johnny boy my neighbour in Ireland. Nor what his father’s views were. I don’t like to think too much about what happened to my father, because I know he wouldn’t want me spending time on him when there are so many more valuable things to be thought about. He got sick that one time because of a famine, but the slaves all around the world are still getting sick so often because of the conditions in which they live.

I thought it would be different in Canada. When they separated from the U.K. I must admit, a slight excitement passed through me. There were so many possibilities for Canada; you could see the potential, but it wasn’t what it should have been, at least not yet it hasn’t been.

I married and started my own family a few years after confederation. In 1872 we were offered land in the prairies and moved out to start a farm, just like the old days. There was an Irish community there that we became a part of, we had all been sent out there to help ‘colonize’ the west. It was exciting, but I don’t think the government realized they were getting a young man who was willing to crash his savings for transportation to the capital to protest social issues. Good ol’ John A. That man was very focused on his economy, didn’t like to think too much of others. I lived out in Winnepeg, so I got to see what the government was doing to Aboriginals. They were native to the land but had been kicked out by foreigners. It seemed weird to me. The government treated them no differently to how slaves were treated. Although actually, they treated the worse. They were given no control over their own lives.
After all these years, I look back on things, and I’ve realized a lot: about myself, about Canada, and about people. It should never be up to others to choose where you go or what you do. You can do whatever you wish if you only take the first step. I hope in the future that all of you can realize that too, and live a happy life being who you want to be. I hope politicians will be a bit better for you to follow by. I hope they care about things that really matter, like fairness for everyone, and aren’t so focused on the economy. My advice to all of you is, don’t think of taking action or standing up for yourself as a mountain to climb, think of it as a staircase, you only needing to take the first step.”

Well that’s that. My final socials post of the 2014-15 school year. I enjoyed looking at things from a new perspective this year, and seeing new parts of Canada’s history I hadn’t seen before. I look forward to what next year has in store, but for now, so long from the past, and have a good summer and future!

What’s Up In Politics? The Sky? – Political Narrative Doc. of Learning

The past few weeks in class we have been discussing some of the, shall we say, broadcast narratives in current Canadian politics. The four main areas we have been trying to fit these down into are economy, government, identity, and geography, which includes all resource, land, and environment issues. I find the different angles presented of these narratives by the four main parties, heading into this 2016 election, all very interesting however one particularly intrigues me because of my interest in the topic.

Geography, specifically the environment, is an issue that I am very passionate about and I have a strong opinion about how certain issues should be treated both in B.C., Canada, and the world surrounding this topic. For these reasons, I am intrigued as to how the different parties narrate the environment discussion and curious as to what they present to the public about their cause towards it.

Straightforward and bluntly, the Conservative website does not show any signs of care or thought towards the environment, in ads and campaigns the issue  is noticeably not present, only occasionally do they bring it up when discussing the economy’s effect and impact from pipelines such as the Kinder Morgan, Keystone, and Northern Gateway. Their three main sections under their ‘Where We Stand‘ heading show no mention of the health of our planet.

The NDP, current opposition party, don’t appear to have geographical focuses as a main point of interest or value either. Though their policy book, when found, is highly detailed and comprehensive, it doesn’t have any direct mention of the environment specifically or current issues surrounding it. However, some small glimpses of care and thought can be found in multiple other policies, but nothing of significant value.

The Liberals are the only of the three main parties to show a greater care for the environment and the ones who seem more attentive to it and its issues in this changing world. A recent series of Tweets and Facebook posts present Justin  Trudeau’s recent visit to the West Coast and the former Kitsilano coast guard station as a large act towards care of the environment. Upon further investigation, the backing of this case is that the removal of the coast guard greatly reduced the rate of reaction to a spill  or disaster in the marine area.

Nonetheless, the act of reacting is still not the act of preventing, or improving, which it appears there is no major action for the Liberals to uphold if they were to gain significant power. ‘Energy and the Environment‘ is the third third of six headings on the Liberal website, but upon viewing this page and identifying their views on issues, it seems they have other underlying values that in certain cases override their worry and true mindset for protecting the environment, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline.

This leaves only one other main party, outside the big three but still highly relevant, that truly presents this as their leading narrative and focus for the future of our country. Not only that, but the only party who truly shows a real worry and alarm for the worthy issues that are present in our society today.

It is not a surprise that what’s up for the Green Party, is the sky: our atmosphere, our earth, our environment. One out of their nine main categories under their ‘Our Vision‘ heading on their website focuses solely on “Solving the Climate Crisis“, but additionally, almost all of their other values incorporate and include their respect and responsibility for the environment and its current and evermore pressing issues.

The Green Party’s focus is obviously bringing a voice to an invaluable circle of life in the very land and ‘environment’ that we live, but this offer is more than just needed in today’s society. If the other parties are not willing to sacrifice, let a lone side with, the values of our Earth itself, then it becomes all the more important for the voice to become louder, in the people, and in the party. For this to occur, people need to take a chance, just like the other parties. Our Earth’s nature and life has taken a chance on human’s since the beginning of our very civilization, can we not respect it in the slightest and put but a small thought into our own future with it.

For these reasons, the Green party has the best values and support focusses for our future in terms of geography narratives, as they have consistently shown actions and greater support in putting a foot forward on the path to a healthier planet.

To close, speaking from a more literal point of view, if we don’t have an Earth to stand on, what good is anything else? If we cannot physically walk, or drive, or take other modes of transportation, to a store because it is flooded with water, what good is our money to buy our groceries? What will our ‘resources’ be when they are filled with toxins? Where will our children live, when there is no land to live on? I think the Green party has their priorities right for our ‘future’, as it is referenced:  life first, liberties later.

You Killed The Aboriginal in the Child, Why Not Raise Them There? – Socials Op-Ed

The definition of apology, found on Dictionary.com, includes the sole synonym “excuse”. If this is the case, then why do we ‘apologize’ for things we have done wrong if we know they were unjust? What did Stephen Harper’s “apology” to Aboriginal victims of residential schools truly mean? “I’m sorry”? Or was it just a political line-riding act of excusing himself and the government from further detriment; is an apology just an excuse? Or has the language we speak evolved enough over time to make it less so?

We are taught in elementary school, the value of an apology means to say that “I’m sorry,” and “this won’t happen again.” By this standard, the government has failed Aboriginals, and more importantly, their youth.  Where is the job description, of the current Prime Minister, in one of the most peaceful countries in the world, stating the duty to carry out elimination of certain cultures, “apologized” for nearly 7 years ago? If you did “kill the Indian in the child”, why don’t you at least try to raise them again there?

In April, 200 million dollars over five years federally, was allotted, in the national budget, to improve the education of Aboriginals, while $210 million is being spent over only four years on the celebrations of Canada’s 150th anniversary alone. Additionally, the government announced that they would be spending $11.8 billion over 10 years starting in 2017-18 on the improvement of our armed forces. That’s $5.9 over five years; Over 25 times more than the improvement of Aboriginal education. Do they really want to improve our safety from external forces more than protect those who already struggle internally?

Only six days ago, a 19 year-old woman, named Paige, died in the east side of Vancouver due to a drug overdose. She was identified as legally blind and had been exposed to violence throughout her life. She was moved from house to house and never received the care she needed in her childhood. Society moved forward while she tried to hold on for dear-life. She was an aboriginal.

Aboriginal youth are the “least likely to graduate”, reported Universities Canada. This very lack of support within their schooling causes fallout over the course of their lives, giving them less opportunity for employment, careers, and a healthy lifestyle. This unsafe environment as youth and children can lead to drugs, homelessness, joblessness, and alcoholism, amongst other negative paths in their early adulthood. What I don’t understand is how the government would apparently just like to sit back and watch it all go down within their own borders.

Two negatives do not make a positive. A negative and a neutral zero do not make a positive. Only a negative plus more positives can create a positive, a right. The unmeasurable negative of residential schools that physically ended only 19 years ago, has not yet been righted, not enough positive has been added to correct the undeniable fault of the government. If the government would truly like to ‘apologize’ for what they did, they better make sure they’re actually willing to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

A grade 10 Chippewas student, said to the Toronto Star at a recent Truth and Reconciliation Conference, that they don’t learn enough about their own culture in society: “We learn about everyone else’s history, but we should learn more about ours.” Is this not seemingly a carry out of the impacts of residential schools only in a smaller, less-noticeable way? The diminishment of Aboriginal culture in the child seemingly still exists today, but we must not travel down the routes of our ancestors if we wish to see any different results. The people’s belief in the wrongness of residential schools is the only true indicator of its very unjust values. The government’s ‘apology’ and removal of the schools shows their admittance and agreement that these settings are unequal, but where has their resolve gone since then?

“Investing in Aboriginal Communities” is included in the federal budget, but closely followed by the Canada 150 celebrations section. The Aboriginal support from the government should not be just a small few pages in the book. We settled here, occasionally moving into their pre-existing settlements, and supposedly we have accepted their peoples into our society. Now if only we could actually accept them and make their culture more than just welcome, but flourishing.

 

The Deep Depths of Tradition: Aboriginals – Europeans in Canada

Where have we come from? Where are we going? Where are we now?

You may remember these questions from the start of our social studies semester in my blog post, and I’m bringing them back up again because they are, literally, what we have done, what we are doing, and what we are going to do, which is what this post is about. However, this post is specifically focused on learning outcome B2 in the socials studies 10 curriculum: “Evaluate the impact of interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European explorers and settlers in Canada from 1815-1914”. I see this in itself, completely as a situation of the above mentioned questions.

This specific PLO directs the attention of the learner to the past, the “Where have we come from?”, 1815-1914.

Where have we come from?

Upon discussing the topics of Aboriginals in Canada I have gained many new perspectives and angles to the topic. Through class discussions, small mini-conferences, and, sometimes heated, debates with my parents, I have heard many different opinions and sides to some of the issues in the modern world surrounding Aboriginals, and how they came to be. In the beginning I was a bit confused, sometimes ‘drowned’, you could say, in the complexities of Aboriginals in Canada.

Over the course of our recent studies I have found myself intrigued by many different aspects of the topic; How did we get to where we are? Who has the rights? Or, had? Where does the puzzle begin? The topic has seemed to present itself as an extremely deep and complex situation, dealing with rights at the time of “North American discovery”, Canadian Confederation, and the modern day.

I have always been interested in Aboriginal peoples and their culture. In grade 7 I participated in an after school group where we learnt about various cultures and traditions of the local Aboriginal people. Further, in grade 8, our class had a guest presenter come in to teach us about the history of Aboriginals in addition to some stories of residential schools. I find it hard to believe that the events of residential schools actually occurred, and that they occurred in our country, and very recently.

Some points that have come up in my various discussions that I am interested and have been struggling to mull over in my mind, are ‘Who actually had the rights to the land when the Europeans came to Canada?’ The obvious answer to this question is the Aboriginal people, who were currently inhabiting the region, but as someone pointed out, if the existing Aboriginal tribes and groups simply overtook one another using manpower and physical attack, then what prevented from the Europeans from doing the same? I then wonder whether the Europeans’ introduction of a new system atop the existing, and to their position successful, form of title and claim simply outdid themselves and made it more complicated than it needed to be.

If you shoot an arrow and hit a target at the end of a dock once, you’ve succeeded, but if you shoot another arrow, in the same spot, and it knocks the target off the dock into the water, it could be lost forever. No one may ever know who shot the arrow, or why, or where from, or who was there. It may take years to uncover the truth, to get to the bottom of it. The arrow and target may end up somewhere totally unexpected, in situations completely unforeseen, but most of all, it will create confusion. Now this is just one little arrow and target of course, but what if those targets become a currency for all of Canada, then it would be pretty important.

In this metaphor, picture that the the Europeans are the shooter, the first arrow is their military, the second is their law. The lake is the people, the unforeseen situation is modern Canada, and the target is the Aboriginals. I’m not saying that Aboriginals are a currency for Canada, but as I am learning, they are becoming more and more of a factor on not only our economy, but also our society.

Further, I am interested in how the ‘modern’, or more man-made style of living of the Europeans, has meshed with the more natural way of life of the Aboriginals years ago, and how they are still meshing today. When I think about the Aboriginals and their culture, I think or peace, serenity, very natural. How have these characteristics changed, or are they true in the first place, since the collision of cultures long ago?

I am very interested to pursue further into the section of this learning outcome  stating “critique the rationale for treaties and the Indian Act, and evaluate their impact on Aboriginal peoples.  I have gathered some questions I have that I would further like to pursue and try to understand surrounding these issues:

  • What do the Aboriginals want now?
  • Did the Europeans fulfill their constitutional agreements, then and now?
  • How did the Europeans’ views at the time of Confederation shape their future?
  • How are they carrying out this ‘future’?
  • Are there other countries in a similar situation to Canada, or that went through similar events with Aboriginal groups? What happened there?
  • Did the Europeans have the right to physically take over the land inhabited by the Aboriginals?
  • What was the beginning piece of the dominos, or what first caused the complexities and confusion, or began it? Who knocked them over? When? How?
  • Why are there more and more treaties and agreements being negotiated?
  • What is treaties and agreements are being negotiated today?

Some of these are very broad questions that could not be answered in a simple black or white response. Though, in order to fully understand these issues, one must first build a basis of knowledge of the past. I feel that I should learn more about what happened in the law and constitution at the time of Confederation and the Indian Act, and how those agreements have been carried out. In regard to learning about another culture or society, I feel that this would be highly beneficial in order to have something to base our history on and compare it to. However, many of these questions are deep and intertwining puzzles that could take years to solve. In fact, they have, and are still. So, many of them will be difficult for me to solve individually throughout our study, however I can attempt to further understand the sides and background of the history.

In regard to what other areas this research and learning may entail, I think this topic, and PLO, relates to almost, if not all, other areas of the curriculum. The fact that this is the case, indicates a certain importance of this issue in our society, both then and now. Some specific PLOs  that connect very closely to this issue are A1, C1. and B3, to pinpoint a few.

A1, which involves cirtical thinking, comparing, and questioning, are the exact skills and techniques needed to fulfil this outcome, B2. Comparison could be used when analyzing the similarities of another civilization to Canada and our Aboriginal relations. Further, questioning and critical thinking are often required to progress in understanding and knowledge, even though it may feel liek you are moving backwards when coming up with radical ideas or questioning the norm.

On the other hand, C1, and B3, are possibly more debatable outcomes in connection to Aboriginal relations. However, I believe that C1, describing the evolution of ‘responsible’ government in Canada, is a key outcome to critically analyze when digging into the depths of Canadian traditions in relations with Aboriginals. Though it may require questioning, and thinking outside of the norm, I feel that the analysis of what exactly ‘responsible’ government is, is a valuable place to start when learning about the relations of Aboriginals and Europeans. Additionally, I think that B3, evaluating the influence of immigration on Canadian society, is another useful outcome to explore. However, I think we should look at it from a different angle, the angle of the Europeans being the mass immigration on the existing majority, the Aboriginals. This may also be a useful area to explore in a slightly earlier time period, but also during this time period of the impacts of more and more Europeans existing and their influence on how society functions and how the land function changed.

To continue, many of the outcomes discussing resource development and therefore the economy connect completely to Aboriginal relations as to do with land ownership and title. As I mentioned before, virtually all the PLOs connect to B2 and Aboriginal relations in some way as they were the inhabitants of our land before the Europeans arrived, and the results of this merger are still occurring today.

I hope to develop more knowledge through this study that will help me in the modern world in understanding current issues and how we can move forward as a nation together. Many of these twists and turns in the knots of law and relations are challenging to understand, but I hope they can take me closer to the deep depths of traditions, and the lake, to find the target.

T’was the Many Days of Learning – Socials Midterm

T’was the night before confederation and all through the country, every creature was stirring, even the housewives.

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Wait, washing the floors?  What? No I meant  they were actually pretty agitated.

screenshot debate 1 class confed pic
Make-up picture for my improv speech as Laura Secord in our first confederation role-play. Picture actually of me performing my slam poetry piece at Cafe du Soleil. Link to this performance here.

That’s more like it.

Oh, and then there are the politicians of course.

Politician debate class screenshot
Me as Samuel Leonard Tilley presenting Atlantic Canada’s opening statement in our mock confederation conference role-play.

Amongst, I mean, the beavers, and the bears, and the moose, and all the other truly Canadian animals who were probably going about their usual 19th century business of finding a comfortable place to sleep at night, without being disturbed by any rebellions of course.

beaver nap sleeping moose bear sleep

Leading up to Confederation, there was a lot of action, and I had a lot of action in my learning as well, like the former action, not the latter, animal nap, “don’t bug me”,  type of action.

To start off, I began my pursuit of social studies learning at the start of the year. The earliest specific piece of evidence for an achievement of a Prescribed Learning Outcome was my slam poetry performance in class, however, I am sure that I have been learning and developing social studies skills the entire year and really my entire life. This presentation represents the outcome A3 in the first section of the suggested achievements of the curriculum. This covers my ability to demonstrate effective oral communication skills individually. Below is a picture of me presenting my piece to the class.

class slam poetry grade 9 screenshot fgri fin

Additionally, to further advance my learning in that outcome, I completed my grade 9 eminent address(speech draft here) and, most recently, my final address as Laura Secord in our Confederation roleplay(speech text can be found here). Pictures of both of these can be found below.

eminent address grade 9 screenshot final address laura secord roleplay confed

In terms of communicating from a group standpoint, “collaboratively”, I covered this in the Confederation conference roleplay. It was in this discussion, I had the opportunity to change identity in the hope of having more power and influence than what I did as a woman, in Laura Secord.

No, I’m just kidding! I chose to change characters to represent a second politician and personality from the Atlantic Provinces in our mock Confederation conferences as they were in dire need of additional members and I am very interested in the Maritimes, especially as I have been there before and thoroughly enjoyed it. Nonetheless, it was in this setting that I had the opportunity to collaborate with my fellow east-coasters to prepare and present our position and position paper to the other provinces. A picture can be found above, at the beginning of this post showing my participation in the Confederation conference as I present our opening statement on behalf of Atlantic Canada.

I also demonstrated effective written communication skills(part of A3)  through my in character blog posts. Here is the first and second blog posts I composed in character as Laura Secord. Through the process of writing these, I found myself develop an attachment to my character and empathize with her through my writing. I feel that this contributed to my ability to present her feelings and my skills of effective written communication.

As a second learning outcome that I feel I was strong in completing, I chose A1 for reflection, Going back to my roleplay as Laura Secord and our in-class discussions and debates, this is where I feel I accomplished this outcome. The curriculum describes this outcome as applying critical thinking skills through many different forms including defending a position which is the form that I feel I particularly completed during our first class debate. Unfortunately video footage of my rousing improv speech was lost to the unkindly politicians of the Upper Canadian reformers, however a picture can be found above a the top of this post that took its place(otherwise known in the modern age as “the ipad storage ran out”). In this roleplay debate I defended my position as Laura Secord of remaining  a colony to Britain and expressed my thoughts on how the Americans would be waiting with arms should we detach to become an independent nation. Might I add, that I also completed the sub sections of this PLO “questioning” and “comparing” in this debate, as I made my point of throwing stones at the rising Upper Canadian Government and also comparing the risks of independence to other options.

Furthermore, I worked at a more in-depth position of this “critical thinking” skill when throughout this semester I have pursued the topics further  in various ways. I took notes on some class discussions and mind maps, had discussions, or should I say, at times debates, with my dad about current events, and posted some thoughts about empires and other areas of study on Facebook and Twitter. Here is some evidence of my critical thinking and analysis(part of A1). As my Facebook is private, I’ve screenshot my thinking posts for you to see.

socials thought facebook screenshot 1 socials thought facebook screenshot 2 socials thought facebook screenshot 3 socials thought facebook screenshot 4 socials thought facebook screenshot 5 facebook phil thoughts screenshot 1 facebook phil thoughts screenshot 2 socials post laura womens day international talk facebook post screenshot

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Notes from a class empire discussion.

 

Sorry for the blurriness, you can double click on the screenshots to view a more clear version.

Finally, a third PLO that I feel I accomplished in a highly sufficient manner this semester, was C2. This outcome asks students to analyse political, economic, social, and geographic factors that led to Confederation. I accomplished the various aspects of this outcome through multiple different tasks throughout our classroom journey to to Confederation.

I compared the positions of the various provinces prior to confederation in my review and preparation for our mock Confederation conference, as well as during the conference itself. Below is a picture of my notes for the class debate as well as the different position papers.

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I also thoroughly researched and read about the three main conferences leading to Confederation using the resources provided in class as well as some resources from home and online.

Additionally, I gained significant knowledge on the threat of annexation by the Americans from my position as Laura Secord, and a brief background knowledge on the Fenian raids through my research in consideration of different characters(Thomas D’Arcy McGee).

Areas for Improvement

beaver what moose disturbed bear mad

Okay, they might not want improvement. I think they were happy just sleeping in peace instead of having a new nation, that would run over their homes, formed. Some people were like that too, like Laura Secord, the Loyalists.

Anyways, there are some areas that could use some improvement in my social studies learning, or should I say, could use a little more development of knowledge.

The first area learning outcome that I feel I could further expand in is B3. This outcome is the evaluation of influence on Canada caused by immigration. Though Laura Secod immigrated to Canada herself, and so in a sense I had a first hand experience, I only learned of one form of immigration and its effects, and not in great depth. I would love to learn more about the Canadian immigration and how the immigrants were treated as well as how they affected Canada. Some events I am somewhat uneducated in are the Great Migration, and the Irish potato famine. However, I did obtain some knowledge regarding the underground railroad through my CRAAP testing article about “Black History” in Canada, and my analysis of the timeline in my resource blog post.

Another area of learning that I feel I could improve on is learning outcome B1. Again, although I had some experience with a portion of this topic in my role as Laura Secord, I don’t feel that I have fully reached a level of strong understanding for the multiple aspects. Outcome B1 is the analysis of Canadian society in terms of gender roles, ethnicity, daily life, and the arts. As you may conclude, I gained some background in the gender roles and daily life sections of this PLO, however Laura Secord only gave me one outlook on these happenings and I was not entirely exposed to some of the daily activities for women and men respectively. I also have a large amount of room to grow in my knowledge of the 19th century Canada areas of the arts, and ethnicity. Upon thinking about these topics, I am unsure as to how the arts world was impacted by, or effected, the Confederation of Canada. I am also a little hazy as to what were some of the minority groups within Canada and how they were affected by the changes.

As a final area for improvement, out of many of course as you can always get better at anything, I hope to grow on my ability to fulfill learning outcome C4, “describe the evolution of responsible government in Canada…”. Although I have certainly been exposed to the governmental structure at the federal level during this time period(1815-1914), I am interested in learning more about the provincial and municipal governments and their rights and responsibilities in the governmental hierarchy.One could assume that it is the same as today, but I would be interested in learning about individual influence and more in-depth on how one might get involved in politics during the given time period, as people then were very passionate about their opinions.

Overall, I have very much enjoyed my look at Confederation from different character perspectives and I feel I’ve gained many new viewpoints, opinions, and much new knowledge of the various events involved. I guess that’s it for confederation for now…

But I heard John A. exclaim as he rode into parliament, happy Confederation to all, and to all a Good Future!

What Has Come Of This Nation! When I die, Let Britain Live. October/17/1868

My final words,

There are too many stars in the sky Charles. Have you thought about it before, the way some outshine others so that you can’t even see them anymore. I guess I’m one of those now. I’m not meant to be here, to be seen, to be noticed, to be recognized. My long lost love, think I’m ready to join you, come and get me. Take me away James, I don’t belong here anymore. I’ve done my best, what I could, as a woman, you would have thought otherwise, that I could have done more, that I should have been able to, and yet I wasn’t. Charles you know, how long it took you to just get my name in that letter. Then all I get is a bloody 100 pounds from a Duke who isn’t even from here. He’s from Britain! Now we aren’t even part of the lovely old Crown. I’m disappointed in these young leaders of ours, what do they know about loyalty and honour, they’re naïve. We’ve entrusted the British for hundreds of years and the British have entrusted us with their righteousness, and now upon the utter breakage of those Americans they choose to unlatch this chain. I mean what can I do, I’m 93, it’s been said and done, a year now. You poor children, your family, Charles what will you do, I’m not leaving you with anything: no money, no recognition, no . I guess this is what the people wanted, but I don’t have time to care about that anymore; I’ve stayed quiet all these years and look what they’ve done to us! I wish I’d done more for myself, more for women, more for this country…                Passes

Below are a handful of my discussions with some of the most heightened personalities of our time. You can see some more of my messages and interactions by continuing to my Twitter account, accessible through any of the presented messages.

The conversation below also has other responses and interactions, click to see further.

The conversation below here too has other responses, click to see further interactions.

Again see further into the conversation below by clicking.

From earlier in my life you may remember a couple diary entries I shared from my Secord Diary. My life has been up and down, these only touch on a few major points in it.

My first shared diary entry:

FitzGibbon’s Garrison – June/25/1813

My second shared diary entry:

What Love Is Lost Is Gained – March/22/1841

 

It has been a long ride. The ups and downs of war, and politics, rights, and recognition, and marriage and loss. In my final moments, I give my best to my family as they move forward in this new and unthinkable nation. I wish I could stay to support you, but as I’ve said before, wishing doesn’t do any good, and my time has passed. I love you all, stay strong, I miss you already. How can I do this? How can I leave you? No, it was meant to be this way, I must go.

Farewell, love always, from Father and Mother,

My children,

Love,

Laura Secord

What Love is Lost is Gained – March/22/1841

Dear James,

It’s been a month now, since you have left us. I’ve made sure to have you buried here under the battle grounds of the war where you fought, just as you asked. I’d like to ask Dr. McLeod if I too can be buried here beside you when I die. For all that we’ve been through together, I want to forever be at your side. I want to check with you before I do though, would that be okay? I hope you like the spot. It’s quite nice, the flowers are starting to bloom now, just slowly. They’ll come with time, just like you will. They say love grows stronger with age, and I know my love for you will envelop me more and more as time passes, even if you’re not here to receive it. And one day you will be here. We’ll walk together again along the banks of the river just like we did when we were young. We’ll be young all over again. I can lace my fingers into yours as you spin me around the fields, no bombs flying over our heads. But your love is a love I will always hold hands with.

I wish I could just feel your arms around me now, your warm heart beating against mine. As I rest my head against your soft yet strong soul, and your lips press against my forehead. But I know wishing does no good, and you wouldn’t want me to be held back by you. Although these have been some of the hardest weeks of my 65 years, even more so than the raging battles of war, I feel closer to you than ever.

I will fight on for you. My love for the British will only grow, as I know how loyal you were to them, I will love them with your heart and mine. With the new Act of Union under way and running, things should be different. Word travels fast here from the capital, and I will do my best to act back and fight for them, for you. Hopefully there won’t be any more outbreaks like in 1837, they usually don’t trickle this far away from the headquarters anyways.

Don’t worry about me, I will be fine here with the kids. You know how they are. They’re all grown up. Your passing is painful to them as I, but they will be fine. As will I. We’ll find our way, our beautiful daughter Laura and that lovely little boy of hers. Our family will forever love you James, please don’t forget that.

I know you’re well taken care of. I’ll join you someday. I’m not sure whether it will be near or far away, but you will always be close to me. And I know life hasn’t always been the sunny days and blue skies that everyone wants, but with you my life will shine forever, even if you are not by my side, your rays will find me. You will always be the light of my life James. In only two months now it will be our 44th anniversary! I’ll be celebrating, and I know you will too.

I’m leaving this note at your gravestone, for you to read. I’m sorry if some of the words are a little smudged; I’ve lost a few drops of my soul while writing this for you. They’ve fallen from my eyes as I picture your beautiful face smiling as you play with the children.  Your face smiling as you lie in bed still recovering from your wounds when I come to see you, your face smiling while you drink with the men on Friday nights over the week’s triumphs and downfalls, and your face smiling as you throw open your arms when I come running home into your embrace after my improbable journey. This is what I will remember.

I could talk to you forever my love. I know you’re listening.

If you hear anything,

I love you James Secord.

– Laura

FitzGibbon’s Garrison – June/25/1813

Dear Diary,

I am writing on  a scrap piece of paper I asked an officer for, I said I needed it to pass time while I am greatly missing my family. I know it has only been a couple of days but I’m worried about all of them. I can just picture our little house in Queenstown now as I’m writing this, and all the children tucked into their beds. James will be taking good care of them: Mary, Charlotte, Harriet, Charles, and Appolonia. Oh Appolonia, she’s only three, oh I’m sure she’s well taken care of. We have a housewife helping too since James is still recovering from his injuries from the Battle of Queenstown Heights. He is still too unwell to go on any great outings, so it was up to me to deliver the message to the lieutenant. It was just our 16th anniversary a couple weeks ago on the 15th of June. James, if you can hear me, I love you. My love, I’ll see you by the dawn of the week’s end.

I’m hoping to be home very soon. FitzGibbon has arranged for me to have an Iroquois escort me back once more of the troops have returned from the battle. The men are still pouring into the garrison. I’ve been thanking them at meals and whenever I pass them in the corridors. I am so proud of them. The work they do for this colony is so remarkable. I don’t know why the Americans have so much against the British, we wouldn’t be here, in North America, without them. They’re the ones they have to thank for their land in the first place. The Patriots have always been so violent in their efforts. I remember when we used to live in Great Barrington growing up. Father was a patriot. He was so reckless in his militant actions. When he put his uniform on to go off to a battle, he was a different person. I’m glad we live here now, me and James and the kids. And all the horrible things they’re doing down there now to all those undervalued slaves, I can’t imagine living in that type of place.

I’m 37 now, so this walk wasn’t an easy journey. At times I’d say it was more of a run actually. I always used to love to run in Father’s fields, I’m not as young and spry as I was back then anymore though. It was so nice back then, we could just go and run outside. The kids wouldn’t be able to do that now, mind you, we live in the middle of an ever-changing  battlefield. It’s scary really.

I collapsed of exhaustion right after I arrived here, so I’m still recovering too. As I mentioned, the men are returning to the post still. A bunch of them just arrived. Troops from all around the area and many different groups of Indians were called together as soon as I told FitzGibbon of the Americans’ plan. Those Yanks need to be more careful about their after dinner topics when in a house of the enemy. They’d gone through about half of our stock of wine so their voices were getting quite raised. We were scared when they had barged into our house earlier in the day, but it turned out not such a bad thing.

James was worried still for me, of my journey, all on my own, he said it would take at least a day and I would have to be very careful so as not to be seen by the Americans when crossing back into British territory. But I was determined to go. I knew the message had to be delivered, and quickly!

I got here with the help of some Iroquois, just in time. Those boys went out and got ‘er done in the battlefield. We won! FitzGibbon has been back for quite a few hours now, and he keeps coming to thank me in my lodging.

Anyways, I’m running out of room on this paper. I’ve used up both sides but still have so much to say,  I’ll just have to wait to tell my love in a couple of days. Please take care, I love you, and I’ll be home soon, I promise. Pass this on to James for me, will you diary?

With all my heart,

love,

Laura Secord

The Story of The Slaves

After much deliberation, I rested my efforts on this article, or should I say timeline, shared by Nicole about the Canadian history and involvement with black slaves in North America. I have a lot of interest in Black rights around the world and so this resource caught my eye.

Whilst reading this extensive timeline, I developed a much greater understanding of some of the key events that occurred both within Canada and events that effected Canada surrounding black slavery during the 1815-1914 time period. I also gained knowledge of some new parts and elements of Canada’s black slave story that I found very interesting.

One element that really stood out to me, was the efforts of the Toronto Globe newspaper and its involvement with the slavery issue within its pages. Some of these notes directly “attacked” the American senator, as stated in the timeline:

” In the Toronto Globe, editor George Brown, one of Canada’s leading abolitionists, regularly commented on the disadvantaged condition of Blacks in North America. From its inception in 1844, the Globe gave anti-slavery forces a public forum, attacking United States senator Henry Clay, the Fugitive Slave Act, separate schools, and other issues.  “

It was interesting to find out, while reading this timeline, that Canada did in fact allow slaves legally until the year 1834, at which point a law was activated to abolish slaves within Canada once and for all. However, it was reassuring to me that Canada only held about 50 active slaves by that time. This means that Canada took early and proactive efforts to end black slavery without governmental forces. It is also so amazing to me that Canada was, and even still is, very far ahead of the United States in this area of rights.

Much of the timeline discussed how Canada was involved in freeing slaves of The United States, and how Canadians were taking part in actions towards freedom for black slaves in The United States, such as the Underground Railroad. Many mentions in the timeline were of refugee black slaves from America who immediately took hold of their own justice and fighting for those whom they had left behind once they arrived in Canada. Some of these included Henry Bibb, Josiah Henson, Mary Ann Shadd, J.T. Fisher, and more.

However, even though Canada is ahead of The States in certain aspects, as discussed in recent social studies classes, there are many other problems facing Canada the and now that are reasonably similar to those past of America. One of these may be the issue of rights and respect towards the Aboriginal peoples of Canada.

Another aspect of the article I found quite intriguing was British Columbia’s involvement in the black slave immigrations to Canada. This timeline gives the date of April 26th, 1858, as the first time wherein black slaves arrived in refuge in British Columbia.

” On the invitation of James Douglas, the governor of British Columbia, the first ship carrying Black Californians landed in Victoria on 26 April 1858. By summer’s end, more than 800 Black settlers had arrived. “

This is interesting as at this point in history, British Columbia was not officially part of Canada, further, Canada as a country had not yet been formed. Because of this I found it intriguing that B.C. was still involved as a refuge for American Black Slaves.

The largest and most impactful event mentioned in this timeline is the creation of the Fugitive Slave Act that occurred within the United States in 1850, Ultimately, this act allowed American slave-owners to chase, catch, and chastise any runaway slaves. Furthermore, I found it inspiring almost how this additionally impacted Canadian peoples on such a high level not necessarily physically, but emotionally. The timeline writes:

” The passage of the Fugitive Slave Act in the United States led to the formation of a larger and more durable antislavery society in Canada. “

This support and movement was largely due to the new influx of black former slaves now living in Canada. This shows the cultural impact on Canada during this time and how the American slave industry, per say, contributed to Canada’s identity as a country.

This is how this timeline relates to some of the Prescribed Learning Outcomes for Social Studies Grade Ten. This resource abundantly focuses on the outcomes discussed in section B. Some of the main outcomes this timeline addresses include:

Identity, Society, And Culture: Canada From 1815 to 1914

  • B1: Analyse Canadian society from 1815 to 1914 in terms of gender roles, ethnicity, daily life, and the arts
  • B3: Evaluate the influence of immigration on Canadian society from 1815 to 1914
  • B4: Describe the factors that contributed to a changing national identity from 1815 to 1914

I hope to expand on my knowledge of this area and issue in the coming Social Studies explorations. Check out this useful timeline yourself here and comment what you think!