Grade Nine Thematic Unit: Additional Activities and Resources

Additional Activities or add-ons for the Grade 9 Operation Water Spirit Unit

1. Partner with a school in a different territory, if you are in the city find a school in a First Nation community or vice-versa. Undergo this mini-unit simultaneously, e-mail updates to the partnered school. Once you are partnered with the school, you can do a variety of activities. You can also visit each others' communities to look at how water is dealt with in each of your communities. You can share your newscast with other students and schools.

2. Research First Nations people who have had something to say regarding water issues: James Bay Cree etc. Water is a very hot topic in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal people often view themselves as protectors of Mother Earth and the environment. As a class project look into water environmental issues in your community. Write up this information in a newscast format.

3. Research First Nation ceremonies that have water within them. You may want to look at Operation Water Spirit Grade Seven Thematic Unit for more information and ideas. Arrange to attend a First Nation ceremony that has water in it such as Sweat Lodge, Fasting, or Feasts. Meet with local First Nation/Métis/Aboriginal Elders to arrange for a culture day in the country.

4. Invite in a speaker/activist on First Nation and Aboriginal water issues. If you live in a small community, you may be able to contact someone at the health centre in a reserve close to you. It is best to do this face to face rather than over the phone. Ask to speak to someone regarding water issues on their First Nation. Explain what you are doing and why you are doing it. Offer tobacco to the First Nations person and then provide them with an honorarium and gift upon completion of their presentation. Please consider mileage when giving an honorarium. The going rate for a presenter honorarium is about $50 -$75. The going rate for an Elder is $100 -$250, depending on the time spent and whether or not they had to prepare for the presentation. Tobacco must always be exchanged and gifts must be offered. If you are not Aboriginal yourself, it is suggested that you go through an Aboriginal person or Elder’s helper to secure an Elder for your presentation. Be sure to provide the Elder with the information about what you wish them to discuss in a question format at least one week before the presentation. Many Elders do not drive, so you may have to provide transportation or provide an honorarium to the Elder’s helper. Questions you may want to ask:

  • I. Are there any stories that you have been told about water from your grandparents and could you share one of those stories?
  • II. Can you tell us about how you got water a long time ago and now?
  • III. Does water have a spirit, please explain?
  • IV. Is the water safe to drink in your community?

Possible Resources

Aboriginal Elders and Community Workers in Schools: A Guide for School Divisions and their Partners Saskatchewan Education, ISBN 1-894116-58-5

I Have Lived Here Since The World Began: An illustrated History of Canada’s Native People by AJ. Roy. ISBN: 1-55013986-X

Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World (Print-Non-Fiction). Weatherford, J. McIver. Fawcett Book Group 1989. ISBN 0-449-90496-2.

The Stanley Mission Water Unit: Activities and Ideas, K to 12 (PrintNon-Fiction). Staff of Keethanow School Holland-Dalby Educational Consulting 1988. unp. ISBN 0-921848-15-3

Water Management In The Canadian North, The Administration of Inland Waters North of 60°, William MacLeod, 1977. ISBN 0-919996-04-3,


Flooding Job's Garden National Film Board and Tamarack Productions, 1991. Trinkets and Beads First Run/Icarus Films. 1996