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Teacher's Guide Questions
Northwest Coastal People Plateau People Plains People Eastern Woodland Hunters Eastern Woodland Farmers Subarctic People Inuit
Northwest Coastal People
Questions from the Text
  1. The Northwest Coast people used oil to flavour their food. The most important oil was from ____________.
  2. The Northwest Coast people were divided into three different classes. They were: __________, ___________, and ______________.
  3. Membership into a family clan was inherited through the _________ side of the family.
  4. Northwest Coast ceremonies were called _____________.
  5. The used _________ trees to make their houses and canoes.
  6. True or False: Salmon was the most important food of the Northwest Coast people.
  7. True or False: Because of the abundance of food, most of the fish and meat was eaten fresh.
  8. True or False: Their longhouses were large enough to house several families.
  9. True or False: Northwest Coast society was democratic.
  10. True or False: Some groups of Northwest Coast peoples developed systems of agriculture.
  11. What was the most important tree to the Northwest Coast people? Give examples of what it was used for.
  12. What is a totem pole, and what did it display?
  13. What is a 'Chilkat blanket', and how were they made? Explain their importance in trade.
  14. Discuss the marriage system in Northwest Coast culture.
  15. Why was the yearly salmon run so important to the people? Explain.
Questions for Further Thought
  1. What made the Northwest Coast people so rich? Discuss.
  2. The Northwest Coast Society was 'matriarchal', what does this mean, and how does this differ from other First Peoples groups in Canada? Explain.
  3. The Canadian Government banned Potlatches in ______, talk about the effect that had on the people of the Northwest Coast, etc.
  4. Houses in Northwest Coast villages were all lined up facing the water. Discuss possible reasons for this.
  1. Chose one of the Northwest Coast groups, and find out where they live. Contact one of the reserves.
  2. Design your own totem pole. Think of specific symbols that represent you and your family, and explain why you chose them.
  3. Throw your own potlatch.
Plateau People
Questions from the Text
  1. The Plateau people were divided into three main groups, __________, _________, and ___________.
  2. Salmon ___________ were large traps used to catch salmon in rivers.
  3. A shelter built below ground was called a(n) ____________.
  4. Most tipis were covered with _________, not ___________ (like the Plains tipis).
  5. The types of canoes they used were called __________ canoes.
  6. True or False: All mean hunted white-tailed deer, but only some were allowed to hunt bear and mountain goat.
  7. True or False: The Plateau people moved around mostly during the winter in search of food, and settled in villages during the summer when food was more abundant.
  8. True or False: Jewelry was a common item acquired in trade with the Northwest Coastal people.
  9. True or False: In their religion, the trickster creator was known as 'Coyote'.
  10. True or False: One common type of basket was called a 'spiral basket'.
  11. What is a salmon run, and why was it so important to the Plateau people?
  12. Describe the seasonal migration patterns of the Plateau people, making sure to talk about where they lived each season and why they moved.
  13. How did the arrival of horses impact the Plateau people?
  14. Who ultimately had the decision making power within a village, and how was a decision reached? Explain.
  15. The Plateau people commonly decorated their clothing with paint. Discuss the meanings of certain geometric designs and colours (with examples).
Questions for Further Thought
  1. How were the Plateau people influenced by both the Northwest Coast people to their west, and Plains people to their east? Give specific examples.
  2. Plateau culture involved the sharing of resources within families and villages. They had 'community' fishing grounds, and food was always shared amongst the group. Talk about the advantages and disadvantages, and how this mentality might have affected (either negatively or positively) the survival of the people.
  3. Pretend that you are the person who has to make the decision about when to move and where to move to find food. Describe how you would go about making that decision.
  1. Design your own pictograph or rock painting. Explain the significance of your design.
  2. Build a lean-to.
Plains People
Questions from the Text
  1. The Saulteaux, also known as the __________, speak the Algonquian language.
  2. The nations of the Blackfoot Confederacy are: __________, __________, __________, __________.
  3. The Plains People of Canada live on land in Southern Manitoba, __________, and __________.
  4. __________ was a staple food, made with berries, fat and meat.
  5. A baby would be placed in a __________ bag, and kept alongside the mother as she worked.
  6. True or False: The name Siksika translates as Blackfoot in English.
  7. True or False: The Plains people had extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters.
  8. True or False: The men would build the tipis for their families.
  9. True or False: The horse was a new animal to the Plains People in the 1700s.
  10. True or False: The name of the Sioux’s god was Wana Wana.
  11. Which nation is split into two groups- North and South?
  12. Which nation speaks Athapascan?
  13. How many people were usually in a band?
  14. What was the main animal hunted by Plains People and how did they hunt?
  15. Describe the Sun Dance and why it was performed.
Questions for Further Thought
  1. Pemmican was a food made by the Plains People that could be preserved for years.  How could this be helpful to a nation?
  2. In many pictures of First Nations people across Canada, they are wearing war bonnets.  However, the war bonnet was specific to the Plains people, and worn only for special ceremonial purposes.  Why do you think the War bonnet appeared in so many pictures after contact with the Europeans was made?
  3. What would the advantages and disadvantages for Plains people have been, when they lived in a smaller band together versus living in a larger community when many bands gathered?
Group Activity
  1. Make a modern-day Pemmican using this recipe! Substitute or omit ingredients if there are allergies.


    1/2 cup raisins
    1/2 cup dried pumpkin or squash
    1/2 cup peanuts
    1/2 cup acorn or cornmeal
    1/2 cup hickory nuts
    1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
    1/2 cup dried apples

    Spread the acorn or cornmeal in a thin layer on a cookie sheet and place it in a warm oven for 15 to 30 minutes, checking frequently, to complete dry it out. The oven should be at the lowest possible setting. Then combine the dry ingredients and either chop them with a knife or grind them coarsely through a food grinder. Add the honey or maple syrup and blend thoroughly. Divide the mixture into 1/4-cup portions, press into cakes, and store in the refrigerator.
Eastern Woodland Hunters
Questions from the Text
  1. All of the languages spoken by the Eastern Woodlands Hunters can be grouped into one main language family, the ____________ language group.
  2. The Eastern Woodlands Hunters were called _________, in terms of their food collection methods.
  3. Most of their clothing was made out of _________.
  4. The only people who could communicate with the spirit world were called ________.
  5. The largest political unit was called a _____ _____.
  6. Family 'clans' are traced back along __________ lines.
  7. There were celebrations to mark the three phases in life: _________, __________, and ___________.
  8. True or False: The Eastern Woodlands Hunters moved into small villages during the summer.
  9. True or False: Most people lived in conical 'wigwams', which looked like Plains tipis.
  10. True or False: The Eastern Woodlands Hunters lived sedentary lifestyles.
  11. True or False: During the summer they mostly traveled in red cedar dugout canoes.
  12. True or False: Unlike the Iroquois, the Eastern Woodlands Hunters did not formed strong confederacies.
  13. What was the most important tree to the Eastern Woodlands Hunters? Explain why it was so important.
  14. The Eastern Woodlands Hunters were not able to rely solely on agriculture as a way to sustain their people. Why? Explain.
  15. What are the main groups of the Eastern Woodlands Hunters, and where are they all located?
  16. What is a 'Wampum Belt'? Explain its significance.
  17. What is the 'Kitchie Manitou'? Explain.
Questions for Further Thought
  1. Describe a typical year for an Eastern Woodlands Hunter family. Talk briefly about food, shelter, and migration patterns for each of the four seasons.
  2. Talk about role that confederacies played in Eastern Woodlands culture. Were there strong or weak confederacies? What are the advantages and disadvantages to forming confederacies? Explain.
  3. What are some major adaptations that the first Eastern Woodlands Hunters would have made after moving to the area? (Talk in terms of the weather, environment, food etc.)
  1. Read the Algonquian legend about the 'Windigo', and then write your own legend.
  2. Research one of the Eastern Woodlands Hunters groups. Find out exactly where they live.
Eastern Woodland Farmers
Questions from the Text
  1. The four main tribes of the Eastern Woodland Farmers are __________, __________, __________, __________.
  2. The Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy are __________, __________, __________, __________, __________.
  3. ) The three main crops of the Eastern Woodland Farmers were corn, __________ and __________.
  4. A __________ is a feathered ceremonial hat.
  5. Arrowheads are made of __________, or  __________.
  6. True or False: The Eastern Woodland Farmers chose new villages every two to three years.
  7. True or False: A longhouse could house 18 families.
  8. True or False: Clothing was decorated with porcupine quills.
  9. True or False: Elm-bark canoes were faster than Birch bark canoes.
  10. True or False: Lacrosse was invented by the Iroquois.
  11. When did the Green Corn Festival happen and why?
  12. How is the location of a village decided?
  13. Who was Deganawideh?  What did he do?
  14. What is the False Face Society?
  15. Describe the Feast of the Dead.
Questions for Further Thought
  1. By working together peacefully, the Iroquois nations became stronger.  In today’s society, how can this concept be applied?
  2. In the Eastern Woodlands society, the individual had a lot of liberty to do what he, or she wanted.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing and why?
  3. The elders of a tribe shared their knowledge by telling stories with morals to the younger generations.  Write up a story, either true or false, that was told to you by someone older.
  1. After reading the creation myth, make up your own creation myth.  Using natural figures, like plants and animals, describe how the earth came to be.
  2. Make your own ‘False Face’ mask. Using materials you have available, design a mask and do a write up on the ‘special powers’ that this mask would have.
Group Activity
  1. Recreate a confederacy.
    For the five nations, discuss problems like finding enough food, settling a feud between 'two nations,' ways of getting back territory.
    For the Wendat confederacy, talk about ways of defending an attack from the Hurons.
Subarctic People
Questions from the Text
  1. The Montagnais, the Attikamek and Naskapi people are all examples of __________ Subarctic group.
  2. __________ is a common word for Athapascan groups, meaning  ‘the people.’
  3. __________ is the name for an Innu Caribou hunt leader.
  4. A __________ means a clan connected through matrilineal lines.
  5. __________ and  __________  were the hero and trickster figures of the Algonquians.
  6. True or False: Slavey, Dogrib, and Hare were three examples of Western Subarctic groups.
  7. True or False: The population of the subarctic in the 1700s was probably 500,000.
  8. True or False: Chipewyan is a term of Cree meaning "pointed skins.”
  9. True or False: The weather was too cold for berries to grow, therefore Subarctic groups never ate them.
  10. True or False: A tumpline was a fishing line used specifically for Salmon runs.
  11. What was the main source of food hunted?
  12. How do you build a lean-to?
  13. Describe the migration pattern of the Subarctic peoples.
  14. Name ways that children learned how to hunt.
  15. How did band members pick their leader?
Questions for Further Thought
  1. To survive a cold winter in the Subarctic, discuss the necessary steps you would take and why you would take them.
  2. Why do you think it was so important for bands to form close alliances with other bands?
  3. Describe all the ways you think a Caribou could be of use to the Subarctic peoples.
  1. Pretend that you are participating in the Dobrib Hand Games. Write a story about how you feel, what you see, why the game is being played, and how it went.
  2. Research one of the Subarctic groups and find out about their life today.  Compare it to how the people lived before, and how they live now.
Group Activities
  1. Play the Dogrib Hand Game.
  2. Research the Arctic winter games.
Questions from the Text
  1. All the Inuit languages came from one language family, the __________ language family.
  2. The thick layer of frozen ground that stays frozen all year is called __________.
  3. ______________ was a common food made out of beluga whale skin and blubber.
  4. Special knives, called _________, were used for skinning animals.
  5. A(n) _________ was the type of parka worn by women. It had a large hood for carrying a child.
  6. The belief was that people were made of three parts: ______, ________, and ________.
  7. The belief was that an animal's spirit lived inside its __________.
  8. Large rock cairns made from balancing rocks were called _________.
  9. True or False: In some areas, it remained dark for months at a time.
  10. True or False: Meat was usually eaten raw.
  11. True or False: Igloos were used as year-round shelters.
  12. True or False: Caribou hunting was most important during the winter.
  13. True or False: The Inuit were the first group to arrive in Canada.
  14. True or False: 'Angakoks' were the only people who could communicate with the spirit world.
  15. True or False: To appease the spirits, the Inuit must eat sea mammal and land mammal at the same meal.
  16. True or False: During the summer they tended to live and hunt in larger groups.
  17. What are the main groups of Inuit in Canada, and where are they all located?
  18. Why was caribou migration so important to the Inuit?
  19. How were the Inuit able to get food during the winter months?
  20. What were the two types of boats that the Inuit used? How were they made and what were they specifically used for?
  21. Why were dogs so important to the Inuit people? Explain.
  22. Discuss the seasonal migration patterns of the Inuit people. Why did they move so often?
Questions for Further Thought
  1. Why do you think the Inuit decided to settle in such a harsh environment? Discuss. Talk about some of the adaptations the people had to make in order to survive in such a cold climate. Give examples.
  2. The Arctic is often referred to as a northern 'desert'. Explain this statement and give reasons.
  3. Sedna, the Goddess of the Sea, was one example of an important Inuit spirit. Find another and explain the spirit's importance to Inuit culture.
  1. Make your own Inukshuk. Find rocks, and attempt to balance them and make a sculpture.
  2. Imagine that you lived in the Arctic. Discuss what you would do to survive.
Northwest Coastal People Plateau People Plains People Eastern Woodland Hunters Eastern Woodland Farmers Subarctic People Inuit
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