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Voices of the Canoe—Teacher Resource

Unit 1, Origin Stories and the Canoe

Lesson 2: Squamish and Fijian Flood Stories


Lesson background

Squamish Canoe Blessing, 2012. Photo courtesy of Marion Jacobs-Adderley.

In this lesson, students will analyze the similarities and differences in the Squamish and Fijian Flood stories as a way of gaining further insight into the role of storytelling in Indigenous communities.


Students will the read the following from the Voices of the Canoe website:

Putting a sail on a Camakau (canoe) in Fiji.

As they are reading, students should be keeping a Venn diagram of the similarities and differences between the two stories.

Students will consider the following critical thinking questions:

  • Why do you think that there are some cultures with similar stories?
  • Do you think these groups could have had contact? If so, how? What evidence from the website could you use to support this idea?
  • Why do you think canoes appear in these stories? What is their significance to Indigenous peoples?

Students will produce a representation of the similarities and differences between the Squamish and Fijian flood stories in a visual and artistic way—for example, an illustrated flow chart, comic strip, or collage piece. They can refer to their Venn diagram for ideas. The purpose of the visual representation is to show students that these stories come alive in the imaginations of the listeners and to visually represent their imaginative renderings of the story. 


Reinforcing understandings as a class, the teacher will ask the students, “What is a story?” and develop a list of characteristics based on their research from the lesson’s activities. The class will chart out the features on the board as a way of capturing and confirming the understandings that they’ve gained during the lesson.