At the end of this lesson, students will have a clear understanding of the critical dilemmas and decisions that developed as a result of the political and social divides within Red River in 1869–70.

Essential Question:

3.1: Why did the Métis resist the westward expansion of Canada and what were the consequences?

Historical Thinking Concepts:

2. Use primary source evidence

5. Take historical perspective

6. Understand the ethical dimensions of history


Show the students the illustration created for the cover of the Canadian Illustrated News from April 23, 1870 depicting the execution of Thomas Scott on March 4, 1870. Ask the students to analyze the photo.

Identify that the title of the photo is “The Tragedy at Fort Garry.” Ask students what they think about this title. Is it political? Was the execution of Thomas Scott a tragedy? Under what context was this execution carried out?

Did the media report on things fairly back in 1870 and does it do so today. What does the 1870 photo have to do with “Nation Building?” Can you trust illustrations? Can you trust the media? What does it mean to think critically?


Have students find an article pertaining to the Métis from the past, and analyze it according to the Historical Thinking Concepts. A good source of archival newspapers can be found on the Digital Resources in Manitobia History web site.


Ask students to find an example of an event in contemporary Canadian news that has been portrayed from a variety of perspectives. Have them start by looking at a story reported on in the mainstream media. As a starting point, teachers could find a few examples.

Have students present their findings to the rest of the class using the six Historical Thinking Concepts. What is being represented in each source? For what purpose? What is the truth?

Discuss how is history written, how can history be misrepresented to serve certain ideological needs?


Have your students create images that would describe the events of March 4, 1870. What are their motives? What is the truth from their perspective? Host a gallery walk open to the school and/or community, or create a digital gallery and invite feedback from other classes and historians.