BC Social Studies Lesson Plans

Impact of Colonization on First Peoples of BC

Grade 4


Impact of Colonization on First Peoples of BC

Big Idea

Demographic changes in North America created shifts in economic and political power.

Essential Question

How did colonization change how First Nations people made a living?

Learning Standards Content

Students are expected to know the following:

  • the impact of colonization on First Peoples societies in British Columbia

Curricular Competencies

Students are expected to be able to do the following:

  • Sequence objects, images, or events, and determine continuities and changes between different time periods or places (continuity and change)

Core Competencies

I can describe how First Peoples contributed to the economic development of BC.

I can explain the impact of colonization on the ways First Peoples made a living.

I can consider how work is connected to identity.

First People's Principles of Learning

Learning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions.
  • Explain that “economy” is the wealth of a country or province. On the board, or on a sheet of chart paper, list the three major areas of the economy:
    • Resources—using nature
    • Industry—making things
    • Services--helping people
  • Have students brainstorm different types of jobs that people do in British Columbia. As students suggest a job, ask them in which area of the economy it belongs. Write it under the appropriate economic activity. For example:
    • Resources--farming, fishing, forestry, and mining
    • Industry--making clothing, paper, furniture, houses.
    • Services--medical, educational, and entertainment.
  • Explain that all these ways of making a living contribute to our province’s economy.
  • Write the essential question on the board: How did colonization change how First Nations people made a living?
  • Explain to students that they will be watching First Economies, a short video about the various kinds of work that First Nations people did in BC before newcomers came, after newcomers came, and then after BC became a colony.
  • Show the video a first time. Afterwards, ask students what information they already knew.
  • Provide each student with a copy of the chart “First Peoples’ Work
  • Show the video First Economies a second time, stopping at appropriate spots to give students time to fill in the chart.
  • Students can then use the information at the top of the handout to finish filling in the chart.
  • Organize students into groups of two or three and assign each pair or triad one type of work from the chart:
    • Hunting
    • Fishing
    • Trading
    • Trapping
    • Mining
    • Guiding
    • Building Houses
    • Cooking and Cleaning
    • Logging
    • Farming
    • Milling Lumber
    • Canning Fish
  • Have students use pictures show what they know about that type of work.
  • Label three pieces of chart paper “Before Newcomers”, “After Newcomers”, and “After BC Becomes a Colony” and place these around the room. Have pairs decide which time period(s) their pictures of work represent and glue or tape their pictures to that chart paper. If the type of work fits into more than one time period, they should put their pictures under all appropriate categories.
  • Have students do a Gallery Walk to add labels to the images and comments about the different types of work on each chart paper.
  • Show the short video Everything is Connected (1:48).
  • Explain that Indigenous tourism in BC has become an important part of the economy.
  • Divide students into six groups and assign each one of the tourism regions of BC:
    • Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
    • Kootenay Rockies
    • Northern British Columbia
    • Thompson Okanagan
    • Vancouver Coast & Mountains
    • Vancouver Island
  • Have groups access the Indigenous Tourism BC website and click on the tab “Places to Go”. Student should come to consensus on one experience they would like to have within their assigned region.

Ajay, Ghandi. 2001. “Indigenous Resistance to New Colonialism.” Cultural Survival Quarterly Magazine. Cultural Survivor, Inc. https://www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/indigenous-resistance-new-colonialism


Centennial College. [n.d.] Our Stories: First Peoples in Canada. PressBooks. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Licensehttps://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/indigstudies/#navigation


“Canada's First Nations: An Introduction Historical Overview.” 2007. First Peoples Before European Contact.  Goldi Productions. https://firstpeoplesofcanada.com/fp_groups/fp_groups_overview.html


“Colonization.” [n.d.] Stolen Lives: The Indigenous Peoples of Canada and the Indian Residential Schools, Historical Background. Facing History and Ourselves. https://www.facinghistory.org/stolen-lives-indigenous-peoples-canada-and-indian-residential-schools/historical-background/colonization


Gibson, L. [n.d.] “What Were the Real Reasons for Creating the Colony of British Columbia?” The Governor’s Letters: Uncovering Colonial British Columbia. http://govlet.ca/en/cc3.php


Milloy, J. 2008. “Indian Act Colonialism: A Century of Dishonour, 1869-1969.” Research Paper for the National Centre for First Nations Governance. http://www.fngovernance.org/ncfng_research/milloy.pdf


Montreal Urban Aboriginal Community Strategy Network. 2019. “Indigenous Ally Toolkit.” https://gallery.mailchimp.com/86d28ccd43d4be0cfc11c71a1/files/102bf040-e221-4953-a9ef-9f0c5efc3458/Ally_email.pdf


Tattrie, J. "British Columbia and Confederation". In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. Article published December 19, 2014; Last Edited January 16, 2020. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/british-columbia-and-confederation


Wilson, K. “Colonization.” [n.d.] Pulling Together: Foundations Guide. [n.p.]: BCCampus https://opentextbc.ca/indigenizationfoundations/chapter/43/#:~:text=Colonizers%20impose%20their%20own%20cultural,access%20to%20resources%20and%20trade.&text=Indigenous%20Peoples%20were%20able%20to,share%20their%20knowledge%20and%20expertise.




Francis, D. 2006. “The Story of British Columbia.” Madeira Park, BC : Harbour Publications.


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Last Reviewed

March 01, 2021

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