Aboriginal Perspectives


Our Names

Jessica Wesaquate

Grade 1
Social Studies:

Identity 'Me'

Evergreen Curriculum:


  • Each student is unique and a valued person.

  • People have similarities and differences

Each student will

  • Appreciate themselves and others.

Pre-requisite knowledge:

Students should have the ability to spell their first and/or last names.


Photographs of the students, 8.5 x 11 white paper, markers (or paint/crayons/pencil crayons/glitter glue), Alika Lafontaine ‘Video 1: Introduction’ (Internet connection, Smartboard, or projector/computer).


Take a picture of each of the students in the classroom. On 8.5 x 11 pieces of white paper, use the top half to paste a photograph of each student in your classroom


  1. Hand out a piece of paper to each of the students with their personal photographs.

  2. Have them write their first and last name underneath their picture. Let them be creative (bubble letters, some big, some small, whatever their imagination seeks).

  3. Show students ‘Video 1: Introduction’ under the Alika Lafontaine material on our videos and lessons tab. Have them choose three small pictures to draw in their white space. These can be things that represent their culture, their likes/dislikes, family/kinship or anything that represents their life. You can share that Alika might draw an infinity sign to represent his Métis heritage, a piece of wheat to represent his Saskatchewan roots and a hospital picture to represent his job as a doctor.

  4. As a teacher you can create a personal example for them to see as a prompt.

  5. Once students have completed this you can go around the room and have students introduce their full names, show their peers their photograph and have them explain the significance of the pictures they drew.

  6. You can discuss with students the importance of their names. Although residential school is a touchy subject to go about, you can share with the students that they are very lucky to be called by their names. There were residential schools where children were labeled with numbers.

  7. Send a handout home for parents/guardians to fill out how their child got their first name and what their last name represents.

  8. Many First Nations last names have a representation. For example the last name “Wesaquate” means ‘as sharp as a whistle’ and traditionally this family were war criers.

  9. During the morning routine, you can share the stories on the students’ names.

  10. Hang the posters up in the classroom, maybe on a bulletin board to create that sense of community in your classroom.

  11. At the end of the year you could re-do this assignment. Students will be able to see the similarities and differences between how they looked at the beginning of the year compared to the end.


Personal and Social Values and Skills: Students will explore themselves as individuals, but also learn about their fellow classmates. They will have a chance to share with their peers who they are and what their lives represent.


You can grade the students on a basic rubric for quality, creativity and effort.