The Rabbits – a picture book for use in high school classrooms…

THE RABBITS by John Marsden addresses the theme of colonization and may have a place in Social Studies Curricula specifically BC FNS 12 and Social Justice 12.  As well, it may have a place in English First Peoples 10 – 12 curriculum with themes that connect to historical events that have impacted the lives of Aboriginal people.  An inquiry question might derive from something such as: What has been the nature and impact and response to colonization by the Indigenous people of Canada? This area?

An inquiry approach may be used in BC FNS 12 in teaching the colonial area fron 1849 – 1871 to supplement an existing resource which addresses the big ideas around this PLO: Analyse the varied and evolving responses of First Nations People to Contact and Colonialism.  The following are examples:

− the 1864 “Tsilqoh’tin (Chilcotin) War”

− the 1874 Sto:lo petition to the Province

− the 1887 Nisga’a and Tsimshian journeys to Victoria

− the 1910 Laurier Memorial

− the 1911 Victoria conference (the Indian Tribes of BC and the McBride government)

− the Native Brotherhood of British Columbia − the protests against the 1969 White Paper

− the Calder (1973), Sparrow (1990), Guerin (1984), Delgamuukw (1991), and Van der Peet (1995) cases − confrontations at Oka and Gustafson Lake

− local incidents of resistance

This book has  been made into an imovie on utube which begs students to create similar multi-media representations of the impact of colonization . What would be powerful would be to tell the story from the Aboriginal perspective – stories from a strength or resilience perspective in order to illustrate the impact and the response of Aboriginal people to events such as those listed above.

Anne Tenning, 2008 Governer-Awards recipient brought this perspective alive in her classroom.  Please  have a look at her unit, WALKING ON THE LANDS OF OUR ANCESTORS.

Sweetgrass Coaching is a blog which addresses the topic of colonization which you may wish to check out.

If you have other picture books which may be used as similar springboards, I would appreciate knowing. Let me know how it goes!


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