Aboriginal Perspectives


Our Families

Jessica Wesaquate


Social Studies/Mathematics (part two of activity)


Identity; "me"

Grade Level:



Alika Lafontaine, Video 15: "Who were and are your role models?” and
Glen Anaquod, Video 1: "Overview of Tipi Raising”

Evergreen Curriculum:


Identity, self, groups, families.


Students will know that:

  • The family is a group.
  • People belong to families.
  • Families have similarities and differences.


Students will:

  • Describe and compare families.
  • Organize this information using graphs or charts.

Attitude/Values Objectives:

Students will:

  • Appreciate their own families and those of others.


Video clips (see above for titles), optional literature (see bottom of page for details)

Set (introductory) activity:

Put up pictures of different types of families. It is important to include foster families, single parent families, mixed families, life partner families, and pictures with diversity. Talk about the different types of families. If students feel comfortable they can share what type of family they have.


Part One (A):

Click on the first video “1: Overview of Tipi Raising.” on the Tipi Raising with Glen Anaquod page. Before showing students this video, have them listen to how Glen talks about family (the focus is on his family, versus the tipi aspect for this particular lesson).

Once the video is completed, ask students what types of things Glen said (I.e. that the Grandmothers in his family taught him about the tipi, and that the Mother kept the tipi so that the children always had a place to sleep).

Take this time to talk about the functions of families.

Part One (B):

Show students Video 15 of the interview with Dr. Alika Lafontaine. Once the video is completed, ask students what he says about his family.

Look at the term ‘role model.’ Ask the students if they have ever heard of a role model before. Explain to them that a role model is like “someone to look up to.” Take time to discuss the role models in the lives of your students.

Part Two:

Record the number of people in each student’s family. Use this information to create a graph. This graph can be posted in the classroom to demonstrate the similarities and differences among number of family members in each student’s family.

Let students build Play D’oh models of the different people that are in their families. Find a place you can display these art pieces in the classroom. You can make a model of your own family as well.

Additional Resources:

There is a lot Aboriginal literature that demonstrates the importance of family in Aboriginal kinship. Two examples of these books are:

  • My Family by Penny Condon
  • My Cree Grandmother by Lorna Wesaquate

Additional Activity:

Leave the last few minutes of each day, or start your day allowing your students to share stories about their families.