Lesson Plan: Chief Dan George

By: Charlene Camillo and Kerry Day

Charlene Camillo

Education Collaborator

Charlene Camillo is from the Moose Cree First Nation and of Italian heritage.  She is a teacher and coach in the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB).  

From 2016-2022, Charlene was the Learning Coordinator in TVDSB for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Education.  In this role, she led professional learning for staff and helped to develop various opportunities for Indigenous students.  She also created lesson plans and resources for use in classrooms, and shared best practices in bringing Indigenous content into schools.  

Charlene taught multiple subjects from 2010-2016 at Saunders Secondary School in London, ON.  In 2022, she returned to Saunders and has been teaching History and Indigenous Studies while coaching Girls Basketball and Girls Hockey, and supporting the Indigenous Student Association.

Charlene has been fortunate to work with multiple First Nations as a teacher and a coach.  She continues to take feedback and learning from Indigenous students and families to provide opportunities for staff and students to enhance their knowledge of Indigenous experiences. 

Kerry Day

Education Collaborator

Graduating from Western University (B.Ed), Kerry Day began teaching English and History in the Thames Valley District School Board in 2000. For the last decade she has learned alongside Indigenous students and educators, creating literacy resources focused on Indigenous voices.

Recommended Grade Level

9-12/Sec V

This lesson and activity should take place over two 60-75 minute periods.

Notes for Teachers on Cultural Safety and Cultural Appropriation
Prior Learning and Experiences
Learning Goals
Content Warnings

Lesson Outline 

Lesson Materials

Chief George Dan 1 Slideshow

Note: A Google Slides version of the slideshow is available here with all speaker notes.

Chief Dan George Day 1 SlideshowDownload
Chief Dan George Day 2 Slideshow

Note: A Google Slides version of the slideshow is available here with all speaker notes.

Chief Dan George Day 2 SlideshowDownload
Chief Dan George Handout
Chief Dan George HandoutDownload
Persuasive Devices Chart
Persuasive Devices ChartDownload
Chief Dan George Poem Handout
Chief Dan George Poem HandoutDownload
Found Poetry Student Example 1
Found Poetry Student Example 1Download
Found Poetry Student Example 2
Found Poetry Student Example 2Download

Lesson Steps

Day 1
  1. Welcome students and complete any opening routines you usually do as a class.

  2. Have the day 1 slideshow ready to go on a computer and projector.

  3. Use slides 1-3 to share about the toonie released for circulation that includes Indigenous artists.

  4. Guide students through slides 4-7 and help them learn more about how Canada celebrated 100 years as a country in 1967.  Introduce Chief Dan George and use page 1 of the handout to help students learn about Indigenous perspectives on celebrations of Canada.  Students can read page 1 on their own, or the teacher can read the text aloud to the class.

  5. Play the YouTube video of the speech on slide 8 and have the students follow along with the text of the speech on page 2 of the handout.  

  6. Have students complete page 3 of the handout.  Walk around the room and support their brainstorming.  Review responses as you walk around the room, and provide time for students to share some of their responses with the class.

  7. Lead slides 9-12 to help students learn more about Indigenous perspectives and experiences with celebrations within Canada.

  8. Have students complete part 3 of the handout on page 4 on their own or in small groups.  Take up responses with the class.

  9. Play the video on slide 14 to learn more about Chief Dan George and have students complete part 4 of the handout on page 4.  Review responses by students in the time remaining in the class.

Day 2
  1. Welcome students and complete any opening routines you usually do as a class.

  2. Have the day 2 slideshow ready to go on a computer and projector.

  3. Check in with students through the images on slide 2.  Have students respond verbally, on paper, or by raising their hand and showing their selection through a number of fingers.

  4. Use slides 3-5 to share examples of Baby Yoda beadwork and Indigenous artists who are connecting to their identities and interests through beadwork.

  5. Slides 6 and 7 – Introduce gratefulness and allow time for students to complete a journal entry as instructed on the slide.

  6. Instruct students to review Chief Dan George’s speech from Day 1 after they complete their journal entry.  Handout a copy of the persuasive devices chart to each student.  Consider completing the first row with students as an example and then allow time for them to complete the chart individually or in small groups.  Teachers may decide to include this chart in day 1 instead of day 2 depending on the timing of classes.

  7. Remind students that Chief Dan George ended his speech with his hopes for the future and then introduce his poem “My Heart Soars”.  Handout copies of the poem and read the poem aloud.  Use slide 11 to introduce “found poetry” and support students with creating their own versions of the poem.  Two student examples are provided.

  8. As additional support, teachers can direct students towards websites to give examples of adjectives and adverbs to add to their poems.
Additional Resources