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Handout 1.6
In My Opinion

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Name: _______________________________________________________

In the Document Package, you will come across status summaries of Aboriginal land claims relating to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (GTPR). But what do they mean? Why are they important? They are several sentences on one page that reveal little of what happened historically, and the complexity that stands behind them. Here you will explore the other side of the story—the story behind simple words of legislation and how powerful they are.

1. Take a look at the rest of the documents in the Document Package, and explore through the links related to Aboriginal peoples in Activity Resources.

2. Using the resources mentioned above, make a summary of how Aboriginal peoples were treated during the expansion of the GTPR. Include the most important points.

3. There are various mentions in the Canada Gazette of subsidies, bond issues, loans and land rights provided by the federal government that reveal the struggles of the GTPR to build and maintain the railway line. Some issues involved the displacement of Aboriginal peoples, such as the Tsimshian along the Skeena River. What information can you find about the Skeena River in British Columbia?

See if additional information on Aboriginal peoples is available in the LAC Canada Gazette database. Use the following keywords:

  • Gitwangak
  • Kitselas
  • Moricetown
  • Nadleh Whuten
  • Kitsumkalum 1908
  • Fort William

4. As a concerned citizen, you believe something should be done to resolve the situation between the GTPR and the Aboriginal peoples.

Based on your research, write a letter to the editor or an editorial expressing your views on one of the questions below. Use the format and instructions provided in the "Analytical Writing" link under "Newspaper Making" in Activity Resources.

a) Letter to the Editor:
What should have been done to accommodate the Aboriginal peoples?

You may also wish to address challenges arising from your opinions, and how you would resolve them.

OR

b) Editorial:
If you were the prime minister, what would you do today to "right" the situation?

Make sure to summarize your research findings, the needs of the Aboriginal peoples, and provide suggestions or recommendations that address these needs. You may also wish to address challenges arising from your recommendations, and how you would resolve them.

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