At the end of this lesson, learners will have looked at a variety of scenarios that might have ensued if delegates were not sent to Ottawa and/or if Assiniboia/Red River had joined the United States.
3.1: Why did the Métis resist the westward expansion of Canada and what were the consequences?
Historical Thinking Concepts:
5. Take historical perspectives
6. Understand the ethical dimensions of history
Have students imagine that Manitoba, or wherever they may live, is not part of Confederation. Create a backstory as to what happened with their province that has a significantly different outcome than the current situation. For example, come into class under the premise that Manitoba did not negotiate with Ottawa or the Americans and became its own country under the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia. Refer to Ernest Callenbach’s Ecotopia (http://static1.squarespace.com/static/521b7c54e4b0e63c9a89da62/t/53e2ffd8e4b038bdcd546300/1407385560344/Callenbach%2C+Ernest+-+Ecotopia.pdf) for these types of activating activities. You can even give out identification cards to students and come up with a whole story of how and why everyone is in the classroom.
In pairs, have students brainstorm different scenarios, or alternative history, if the LAA had not agreed to send the three delegates to Ottawa. Have them create a history and current story about what this area of the world might look like socially, politically, ecologically, etc. Have students think about the different groups living in Red River: the resources, the land, gender, religion, culture, and so on. Students can write their stories, or simply present their ideas to the rest of the class.
At this point, students may need to learn a bit more about the three different sessions of the LAA. Have the students go through documents on the LAA website. Other information related to the sessions of the LAA found at the Manitoba Archives website (http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/leg_assembly/). You can also direct them to Norma Hall’s website (https://hallnjean2.wordpress.com/chronology-the-resistance-during-1870-march-july/the-legislative-assembly-of-assiniboia/), which is an excellent resource on the provisional government and the LAA.
Have your students take a look at the census data from 1870. Who would have lived in Red River in 1869–70? Have them produce a graphic organizer such as Infographic, found at https://infogr.am/ or any site to have their statistics visualized, and they can see how they are able to display data using media and statistics.
Now that they have completed their graphic organizer and have posted or embedded it to their website or blog, have students think of what that graph might look like if Manitoba had not joined Confederation under the terms of the LAA. Have them embed this onto their website or blog and share with the class.
As a group, discuss the differences between each graph. What was significant about the LAA’s decision to negotiate with the Canadian government? Did the Canadian government follow through on all the articles of agreement? Assess the learners’ understanding of the critical role of the LAA and why the Métis may have resisted Canadian western expansion.