How first Nations have preserved identity and culture

The preservation of Cowichan First Nations culture

since first contact

Learning Outcome

Students describe how societies preserve identity, transmit culture, and adapt to change.


Goal: Students will be able to identify the elements of Cowichan First Nations culture that have been preserved since first contact.

Task: Students write to explain the challenges faced by First Nations peoples attempting to preserve their culture.

Activate Prior Knowledge: Give pairs of students the following words to discuss: fluent, contact, territory, obligation, prohibited, ancestors. Have students generate their ideas and share with the class. (A/B partners)

Predict and Question: Have students make predictions about the video based on the words and information shared. Give them the title and ask how it has changed their thinking. Questions: What are you wondering? What questions do you have?


Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the information. Students can track ideas on the T-Chart during the video.


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Click above to view video

(Video Length: 6 mins)

A/B PartnersShare elements that have been preserved and have a class sharing of ideas. Model T-Chart on the board/overhead. All ideas should be listed on the left hand side. Discuss with the students how important the described elements are to the Cowichan First Nations people and what other elements have been preserved (i.e textiles, food preservation, etc.).

Students record or extend their list of ideas on the T-Chart. Students then, individually or with a partner, brainstorm how those elements were preserved. It is more important for students to have the conversation around possible reasons than to focus on “the right” answer.


Students write to explain the challenges faced by First Nations peoples attempting to preserve their culture. The length of this writing piece can be determined the teacher (ie. essay, paragraph) but the intention is for individual accountability.


Review which elements of the Cowichan First Nations culture have been preserved since first contact.

Reflection: On the back of your T-Chart, write two things you now know about First Nations culture that you didn’t know before. Write one question that you still have about the topic.

Extend learning or next lesson

Research other Aboriginal cultures in Canada (i.e. Cree, Mohawk, Inuit) and investigate what elements of their culture have survived since first contact.