Lesson Plans

Secondary School

Black Women’s Activism and the Feminist Movement

Developed by: Emily Dychtenberg, MT Candidate, OISE – Grade and Strand: Grade 10 Canadian History, Strand D: Canada 1945-1982, Strand E: 1982 to the Present.

In this lesson the topic of Black women’s activism and its rise in the 1970s and 1980s will be investigated. Students will have the opportunity to analyze primary documents in an effort to understand Black women’s activism and some of the factors that accounted for it. A key focus is the particular challenges faced by Black women as they related to both race and gender. Students will also learn about specific activist groups and how their activism challenged some of the narratives from the women’s movement at the time. Students will come to their own conclusions regarding the status of Black women’s activism and its relevance in Canada today.

Note: This lesson plan was initially designed for high school teachers and with the Ontario-based curriculum requirements for grade ten Canadian history in mind. However, it can be used with students from grades ten through twelve. Community college and university instructors may also wish to adopt or modify the lesson plan for their own classes. The plan contains highly sensitive materials that may cause students discomfort, unease, or possibly “trigger” a recurrence of trauma, so we ask that appropriate measures be taken. More detailed comments are included in the lesson plan.

Angela Robertson, member of the Black Women's Collective, speaks at a protest against police violence. In response to the October 27, 1989, police shooting of 23-year-old Black woman Sophia Cook, the Black Women’s Collective organized the Women’s Coalition Against Racism and Police Violence. This coalition of 35 women’s and progressive organizations brought people together on December 16, 1989, to demand police accountability and an end to police brutality against Black people.

Keywords

Black women’s activism

Women’s movement

Primary research

Race and gender

Secondary School

Indigenous Women’s Activism

Developed by: Sarah Anne Johnson, MT Candidate, OISE 

In this lesson the topic of Indigenous women’s issues and concerns during the late 20th century and Indigenous activism will be investigated. Students will have the opportunity to examine the related topics of violence against Indigenous women, and the violation and lack of Indigenous women’s fundamental rights in Canada. Students will also look at how Indigenous women have organized and empowered themselves in Canadian society, especially during the late 20th century. 

Note: This lesson plan was initially designed for high school teachers with the Ontario-based curriculum requirements for grade ten Canadian history in mind. However, it can be used with students from grades ten through twelve. Community colleges and university instructors may also wish to adopt or modify the lesson plan for their own classes. The plan contains highly sensitive materials that may cause students discomfort, unease, or possibly “trigger” a recurrence of trauma, so we ask that appropriate measures be taken. More detailed comments can be found in the lesson plan.

This photo is one of a number taken at the Oka Peace Camp set up in July 1990 in solidarity with the Mohawks of Kanehsatake who rose up in defense of their ancestral lands after the Oka Golf Club proposed an extension and the building of luxury condos over a Mohawk ancestral graveyard in the sacred wooded area known as “The Pines”. This land had never been ceded. In early July, after the Mohawks refused to end their non-violent occupation of the area or to take down the barricade, the Sûreté du Québec (Quebec police) moved in resulting in a violent confrontation. Later, the Canadian army was called in. Mohawk women, including Ellen Gabriel, played a central role in the uprising, which lasted for 78 intense days (July 11 – September 26, 1990). In the end, the golf course was not extended, and the condos were not built. But the larger issues of land sovereignty have never been resolved.

Keywords

Indigenous women’s activism

Violence against Indigenous women

Indigenous women’s rights