BC Social Studies Lesson Plans

Squamish Nation Governance

Grade 6


Squamish Nation Governance

Big Idea

Systems of government vary in their respect for human rights and freedoms.

Essential Question

Who benefits from the different forms of governance and decision-making?

Learning Standards Content

Students are expected to know:

  • different systems of government

Curricular Competencies

Students are expected to be able to do:

  • use inquiry processes and skills to — ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions.

Core Competencies

I can share my learning about governance structures through discussion.

I can think critically about court decisions.

I value generational roles in a community and reflect on my own community and identity.

First People's Principles of Learning

Learning involves generational roles and responsibilities.
  • Show 5-minute video The Elders Are Watching.
  • Have students use a Think, Pair, Share strategy to discuss the following questions:
    • “What did you notice about the story?”
    • “How did the story make you feel?”
    • “What is the message of the story?”
    • “What connections can you make?”
    • “Who watches over Canada?” (government)
    • “What is the role of the government?”
  • Invite students to go for a silent walk (outside if possible) to reflect on the story.
  • Have students write a reflection in their journals.
  • Journal: Why do we have governments? What do they do? What different types of government exist?

Part 1: Getting to know the Squamish Nation

  • Play the Squamish Nation Welcome Song. Ask: “How does the song make you feel?”
  • Use a Jigsaw strategy to have students explore the Squamish Nation website. Divide students into 4 groups and assign each group one of these 4 sections of the “About Us” tab of the website: The Nation Today, Our History, Our Land, Our Culture. Have each student record their findings on the handout “Facts/Wonders/Images”.
  • Put students into mixed groups to share their Facts/Wonders/Images.


Part 2: Government Symbols

  • Discuss the image and quotation: “The Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw will protect the Amalgamation and enhance the Úxwumixw cultural values and traditions through respect, equality and harmony for all”
  • Cut out 12 symbolic aspects of the carving. Put students into 12 small groups of 2 or 3 and hand out one symbol to each group. Have groups research their assigned Squamish Nation Animal Symbols. Have each group create a statement about how their symbol relates to government.
  • Have whole class form a circle (outdoors if possible) and share their statements about their animal symbols and government.


Part 3: Connection to Elders

  • Play the opening 2:16 minutes of Squamish Chief Ian Campbell’s speech 
  • Tell students that they will be interviewing a family member or friend about a story of one of their elders. Have students create interview questions and then conduct the interview for homework over the next few days.
  • Have whole class form a circle (outdoors if possible) and share the stories from their interviews.
  • Discuss the fact that learning involves generational roles and responsibilities.



Part 4: The Indian Act

  • Show the 1 minute 22 second video The Indian Act
  • Brainstorm: “What do you notice, wonder, feel”
  • Ask: “How might the Indian Act affect the daily lives of the people of the Squamish Nation?”


Part 5: Case Study: Squamish Nation vs. Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans

  • Discuss the fact that access to resources can be a source of conflict.
  • Provide students with paper or digital copies of article Squamish First Nation’s Bid for More Sockeye Fails in Court
  • Ask: “How do you feel? What makes you feel that way? Do you feel the court decision was fair?” Have students respond using a Think, Pair, Share strategy.
  • Explain the if people feel that a court’s decision is unfair, they can take it to a Court of Appeal.
  • Provide students with paper or digital copies of article about Court of Appeal decision
  • Have students create a statement that represents their feelings and thoughts about the appeal process.
  • Exit Ticket: “What do you know about the Squamish Nation. What questions do you still have?”
  • Have students work in pairs or small groups to write an email to a current Squamish Nation council member. Students can use the “Letter to Councillor” handout to plan a draft of their email.
  • If students receive responses, they should share these with the class.

Canada. 2012. “The Learning Circle: Classroom Activities on First Nations in Canada, Ages 12 to 14.” Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada. https://publications.gc.ca/site/eng/9.687655/publication.html

Centre for First Nation Governance. 2013. “Best Practices: Squamish & Lil’wat First Nations: Principle: Inter-Governmental Relations.” 


North Vancouver Museum & Archives. 2018/19. “Squamish Community: Our People and Places: Teacher’s Package.”



Squamish Nation. 2018. “Governance Policy.”


Squamish Nation. [n.d.] “Project, Negotiation & Development.”


Squamish Nation Council. 2019. “Memorandum Regarding Squamish Nation’s Governance: Structure, Designated Council Representatives and Communications Protocol.” 


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Last Reviewed

February 01, 2023

Produced by JES

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