Downstream Lesson Plan

Lesson: Downstream (Movie) Whose Voices are Being Silenced and Why? 

Time allotment for Lesson: 90 minutes

Objectives to be covered: Learning about colonialism and its history in Canada.

Required Resource: Downstream [DVD]. (2009). Leslie Iwerks Film. 33 min

Connections to preceding/following lesson:

  • This lesson should follow a lesson on colonialism. Focus on how colonialism is a part of Canada’s past as well as Canada’s present. Try to avoid talking about those individuals who lost or those individuals who won. Instead focus on what happened, what is happening and what we can do to create positive change. Questions you can ask students during these lessons are:
    • What is colonialism and how does it function?
    • How does colonialism continue to function today?
    • How is each person in the class caught up in the process of colonialism?
    • How is each person hurt by the process of colonialism?
    • What did people do in the past to try to stop colonialism?
    • How can we work against colonialism in our daily lives?
  • This is also a good time to examine stereotypes towards First Nations people:
    • What stereotypes are expressed in the film?

Learning experiences/activities:

  • Students will review what they learned about colonialism in the previous class. 
  • Introduce the film to the students and ask them to keep note of interesting facts that stand out in the film while they are watching. 
  • After the movie is done, discuss which parts of the movie stood out to each student. 
  • Then ask the students each of the following questions, with each question followed by a class discussion before moving onto the next discussion.
    • How can colonialism be seen in this film?
      • Whose voices are being silenced?
      • Why are these voices being silence?
    • Whose responsibility is it to start listening?
    • What can we do?
    • How does the film perpetuate stereotypes toward First Nations people?
  • Have students reflect in their journals about the movie and the discussion. Ask them to think about their feelings, what stood out to them, and what action they might take (if any) towards helping. It is important to stress here that students write about their thoughts and not just what others in the class had discussed. 

Assessment Strategies/procedures:

  • Teachers will comment in student journals by providing comments which may encourage students to further explore their ideas and to aid students in their ability to see things from the perspectives of those in Fort Chipewyan. 

Teacher Reflection:
Areas which are weak:






Areas which are strong: