Magazine article Teach

Curricula for Grades 9 to 12

Magazine article Teach

Curricula for Grades 9 to 12

Article excerpt

The following is a lesson plan excerpt from 80 DEGREESNORTH, a graphic novel and digital literacy title. To see the full lesson plan or to learn more, please visit


Inuit Culture, Customs, and Traditions

80 Degrees North tells the remarkable story of Canada's ITst Arctic Expedition that began over 100 years ago. Led by the noted and controversial Arctic explorer, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, the expedition members experienced extreme conditions and staggering challenges. The làgship of the expedition, the Karluk, became caught in the ice and was lost early on. Twenty-two individuals and the ship's mascot, a cat, survived. The ship's captain, Robert Bartlett, trekked hundreds of miles over the ice in harsh conditions to e fleet the rescue. Divided into two parties, North and South, each had a separate mandate. The Southern Party, led by Dr. RM. Anderson, noted zoologist and Stefansson's partner on a previous expedition, examined lera and fauna and mapped the Mackenzie River Delta. The Northern Party, led by Stefansson, explored the Western Arctic searching for new lands to be claimed for Canada and Britain in a bid to maintain sovereignty over the north. Despite setbacks and even, tragedy, both parties managed to fulHl their objectives. In particular, the Hidings of the Southern Party provided the basis of knowledge for Canadian scientists and researchers ofthe Arctic and Inuit peoples for decades to come.


Aboriginal: refers to all indigenous peoples in Canada, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit

First Nation: refers to all the Aboriginal nations of North America (formerly tribes and includes over 65 different languages) except the Métis and Inuit

Métis: refers to Aboriginal people who are ofFirst Nations and French descent

Inuit: refers to Aboriginal people who speak Inuktitut and live in Arctic Canada

Copper Inuit: refers to a specific group of Canadian Inuit people who relied on the use of native copper of the region

Inupiat: refers to a specific group of Alaska Native people


The goal is for students to learn about Inuit culture, customs, and traditions. They will begin with a focus on content in Chapter 4 of the graphic novel 80 Degrees North, that describes the southern scientists who learn Inuit techniques for living in the North and especially the experience of ethnologist Diamond Jenness, who overwinters with two Inupiat families, investigates Inupiat ruins, and then travels with Ikpukhuakand Higilakto Victoria Island, learning more about Inuit customs and language. By participating in this activity, students will gain a better understanding ofhow the traditional ecological knowledge of the Inuit influence their beliefs about the natural environment and its importance to them and how the land has influenced the Inuit culture.


Graphic novel, 80 Degrees North

Computers or devices with Internet access

Detailed map of Canada's North aps.nationalgeographic. com/maps/atlas/north-america-geophysical.html)

Writing paper and utensils or note-taking apps

Other materials as needed for preparing presentations


The overall expectations listed below serve as an entry point for teachers. Teachers are encouraged to make connections to specific expectations in their region and grade.

Students will:

* Increase their knowledge ofCanadian history and geography

* Analyze environmental, economic, social, and/ or political implications of different ideas and beliefs about the value of Canada's natural environment

* Describe various aspects of Aboriginal life prior to contact with Europeans (e.g., economies, spirituality, relationship with the environment, political organization)

* Explain specific environmental influences on the social and cultural identity of Aboriginal peoples

* Demonstrate an understanding of the Aboriginal peoples' identity as custodians and protectors of the land entrusted to them by the Creator

* Describe how Aboriginal practices, behaviours, beliefs, and symbols (e. …

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