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English as a Second Language—Teacher Resource

Lesson: The Diversity of First Nations in BC

Mapping Exercise (Grades 4–8, Social Studies)



Map 1: First Nations Cultural Map

This map, developed by MOA, shows the traditional territories of major First Nations groups now living in BC. Within each territory there are old village sites, reserves and cities. The borders between groups were not drawn precisely on maps but were known by each community. They were not fixed and even now have to be continually updated as land claims are settled.

Point out Vancouver and other areas in BC that your students might know. Examine how the provincial and national boundaries do not define the groups. Ensure students understand where the provincial and national boundaries are on the map.

Activity 1

Invite students to analyze the map carefully and answer the following questions:

  1. List the names of at least 3 First Nations groups whose land crosses a provincial or national boundary.
    • What does this tell you about the process in which land was divided? According to your analysis of the map, does it seem like First Nations groups were included in deciding the locations of provincial and national boundaries?
  2. List the names of 3 Coastal First Nations groups and 3 Interior First Nations groups.
  3. Locate where Prince George and Prince Rupert are on the map. These cities are found within the traditional territory of which First Nations groups?

Map 2 a-b: Greater Vancouver and Musqueam Heritage Sites

The Musqueam people have been present in what is now Greater Vancouver for many thousands of years. Scholars have evidence of Musqueam communities at a site called the Marpole Midden, which is located at the mouth of the North Arm of the Fraser River, for more than 4,000 years and at the modern community of Musqueam for more than 3,500 years. Over 161 Musqueam heritage sites have been recorded. Many of these sites are middens. Midden is a word for a very old garbage pile. These sites show evidence of a village through what was left behind. A midden can be an important source for information about the past.

Activity 2

Invite students to orient themselves to both maps by:

  1. Locating Burrard Inlet, the Fraser River and the University of British Columbia on both maps.
  2. Locating the resource gathering sites on Map 2b.
  3. Locating the site referred to as the “Marpole Midden.”

Have students answer the following questions:

  1. What do the locations of all these Musqueam sites have in common?
  2. What 2 sites are located on what is now the University of British Columbia?
  3. What were these 2 sites used for by the Musqueam people?