Cite

Lesson Plan: Dr. Bryce, Advocacy, and MMIWG2S+ Peoples

By: Sakina Dhalla

Sakina Dhalla

Education Collaborator

Sakina Dhalla (she/her) is a visible Hijabi woman living and working on Treaty 6 land. Sakina graduated from the University of Alberta in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science, and from Concordia University of Edmonton in 2022 with a Bachelor of Education. She has 10 years of experience volunteering in an Elementary classroom, and recently began working as a teacher. Sakina has also written a chapter for an anthology (We Were Never Meant to Be Here) highlighting the experience of marginalized students in Canadian Universities which is scheduled to be published in 2023.

Suggested Subject Areas

Social Studies
Art
Math

Grade Level

Upper Elementary

Timing

Varies, suggest to spread the learning over 3-5 days

Purpose

To understand how we can be advocates for justice through an analysis of the work of Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce and explorations of the issues surrounding Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S+).

At the end of this lesson, students will be tasked with using art to raise awareness about MMIWG2S+. This lesson is designed to support them in leading other students through suggested art projects as a way of increasing awareness.

Guiding Questions
Materials
Teacher Background Knowledge

It is important that teachers already have background knowledge about residential schools and their ongoing intergenerational impact. It is also essential that teachers have background knowledge about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People.

This lesson should not be taken on without prior learning on the teacher’s part and, when it is taken on, must be approached through a de-colonial, anti-oppressive lens that avoids any victim blaming, inappropriate terminology, or other harmful elements.

Teachers should read through the entire lesson plan and slideshow before deciding to take this learning on with their class. It is the teacher’s responsibility to plan thoughtfully for anticipated challenges and accommodations based on the learners in their room.

We strongly encourage teachers to read Charlene Camillo and Starr McGahey-Albert’s resource on cultural safety in the classroom before proceeding with this lesson. Their resource on terminology is also essential reading.

Additional Considerations

Lesson Outline 

Introduction  ( 20 minutes)

PART 1: Residential School Review (optional depending on students’ background knowledge)

PART 2: Preparation

Teacher-Guided (30 minutes)

PART 3: Advocacy and Dr. Peter Henderson Bryce

PART 4: MMIWG2S+ (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People

Student Action (Over 3 days—1-2 days for planning and preparation, 1 to run stations)

PART 5: Action

The following are suggestions for art projects/installations that students can create within a school environment to raise awareness. Teachers may choose to do one large art installation or multiple small ones by breaking students into smaller groups, and may choose to collaborate with other classes who are engaging in similar learning.

It is important throughout the creation phase to support students so that they are not culturally appropriative. Here is a guide on cultural appropriation vs appreciation. Non-Indigenous students should not design as though taking on the voice of an Indigenous person, and should not be tasked with recreating sacred Indigenous objects, ceremonies, dress, or practices. It is essential to work with your school’s Indigenous consultant or an Indigenous community connection for this portion of the activity, to ensure the art being created is, indeed, supportive.

Remind students of the importance of giving credit to the original artists of these various installations. Since the purpose of the art piece is to raise awareness and increase advocacy throughout the school, think about how you might invite other students and staff to visit the art. What information would need to be included so others understand what it represents and why it’s significant? How will credit to Indigenous artists be made clear? What calls to action might be addressed to the audience?

Conclusion (15 minutes)

PART 6: Reflection

Provide students with an opportunity to reflect in their thoughtbooks about their learning experience throughout this time.

This may also be a good opportunity to work with students to send letters to members of government or take other forms of action, based on where the class learning is going and how they want to engage with it after the art piece.

To support a discussion (with an elbow partner or with the larger class), ask direct and thoughtful questions such as, “What was the most meaningful learning you had as part of this experience?” or “What key learning are you taking away from this experience when it comes to being an advocate for justice?” or “What is one thing you will do going forward that will have an impact on raising awareness about the experiences of MMIWG2S+?” or “How can art be a tool for advocacy and awareness?” or “What other issues are close to your heart that you want to think about advocating for as well?”

Potential Extension

Create a large “No More Stolen Sisters” banner and invite parents and community members to add their handprints as a commitment to support Indigenous communities.

Think about the same curatorial and contextual questions as presented earlier, such as: What information would need to be included so others understand what it represents and why it’s significant? How will credit to Indigenous artists be made clear? What calls to action might be addressed to the audience?

Slideshow for Lesson
Dr. Bryce, Advocacy, MMIW2S+Download