Teachers' Tips: Lesser Known Canadian Stories

What is a moment or who is a person from Canadian history that you think more people should know about?

Compiled by Canada’s History

August 29, 2018

Elijah Harper

“To get to our country’s journey now, where we are now, I teach the Meech Lake Accord and Elijah Harper’s role in the Meech Lake Accord dying. This is a defining moment. Up until this no one is saying anything about First Nations, and finally Elijah Harper in his quiet way is like ‘no.’ And that allows me to talk about where we are today.”

— Kerri-Lee Hewlett, High School Teacher

Cindy Blackstock, Charlene Bearhead, and Gail Stromquist

“It’s the people out there who are giving the aboriginal voice a voice. People like Cindy Blackstock, who started the First Nations Caring Society, she is basically changing healthcare for indigenous children. People like Charlene Bearhead, who was the educational lead for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, now she is working for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women. She spent the last, I don’t know how many years, travelling this country trying to inform people, trying to activate people. Gail Stromquist at the BCTF. BC is a leader in this field, and I give her and her sister Janet credit. These women, the work they are doing. They are changing, they are working tirelessly. Who knows? They might be written down in the future as very important figures because with history in Canada right now, some big changes are happening.”

— Jean Moir, Elementary School Teacher

Noel Starblanket

“He is amazing. Anyone you talk to who knows him will agree. He is just such an incredible resource and support for us, but also for everyone in the community. He’s involved in many different projects, and therapy groups, and educational practices, its incredible. I honestly don’t know how he finds the time to do everything that he does. But his own story is incredibly interesting and he’s so open to sharing. And I just think more people should know his story.”

— Denee Repski, High School Teacher

Mona Parsons

“She’s a small-town girl. For a while she was a dancer in New York City. She married a man and the two of them became part of the Dutch Resistance in the war, and she also escaped from a POW camp. Her story is one that if you saw it in a movie you would think it had been exaggerated because it is just so incredible and empowering.

— Temma Frecker, Middle School Teacher

History of the National Parks

“I truly believe more people need to know the history of the establishment of the national parks in Canada. Especially out here, a lot of my students don’t know that Banff National Park was Canada’s first national park. And just knowing the history and the importance of creating the national parks and other protected spaces in Canada.

— Warren Lake, High School Teacher

Mathieu Da Costa

“That the first black person to come to Canada was actually here with Samuel de Champlain in 1605 as a translator because he had an affinity for languages. That is what I would like people to know.”

— Sara McFarlane, Elementary School Teacher

Esther Brandeau

“Sometime in the 18th century, Esther Brandeau decided she wanted to immigrate to Canada. So one day she dressed up like a boy, pretended she was Catholic because she was actually Jewish, got on a boat, and then sailed across the ocean, and ended up in Canada. And she is actually the first person and the first woman who is Jewish to come to Canada. I don’t know, I love that story. There is something so adventurous. Like I can picture her. And it brings together these ideas of immigration and identity and religious intolerances and heritage.”

— Eve Seni, High School Teacher

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