Chapter 2 Lesson 1: Land, Homeland, Territory

The Context

In some Indigenous communities Turtle Island is referred to as the Americas, or Las Américas. Before colonization, Indigenous peoples would travel in four cardinal directions without confronting borders or immigration officials, and without having to carry documentation such as passports. Land, Homeland, and Territory is about human relationships with the land as homeland and territory. Students will engage in critical thinking and global citizenship skills to challenge the notion of ownership over territories and homeland. As well, through the stories in this chapter students will consider the meaning of sovereignty over lands and territories and at the same time question different notions of land “ownership” and “stewardship,” and being responsible to and for the place where one lives. Indigenous peoples have always asserted – and continue to assert – their unique relationships to their land and for over five hundred years have actively defended their territories.

Learning Goals:
• To develop a common understanding of the difference and similarities between the notions of land, homeland, and territory
• To begin to research and explore whose lands/territory/treaty are students/teachers living on



Curriculum Expectation


Brainstorm with students the difference between land, homeland, territories, and borders.

O.C. 1. Listening to Understand: listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes (ENG3U)
Demonstrate an understanding of Aboriginal sovereignty issues, as expressed in Aboriginal literary works (Sovereignty–NBE3U)
Analyze themes related to sovereignty, as portrayed in media works by Aboriginal creators (Sovereignty– NBE3U)


Divide the class into three groups. Each group reads one story: “Borders,” “Rita Hayworth Mexicana,” or “The ‘Oka Crisis?’” Discuss the questions below. Questions to think about while reading:
a) What is the relationship between people and the land in the stories?
b) How are borders problematic for Indigenous peoples?
c) Who “owns” land? Can land be owned?
d) How do Indigenous peoples take responsibility for looking after the land or caretaking the land (this is sometimes referred to as “stewardship” of the land)?
e) How might Indigenous peoples continue to face challenges with borders?
f) How do Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples perceive the notion of “owning” land? What’s the difference between “owning” land and taking responsibility for its well-being?

RLS: Reading for Meaning: read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, informational, and graphic texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning (ENG3U)


Research the territories/land that the school is situated on.
a) Whose land are we on?
b) What is my relationship to the peoples of this land?
c) What is the purpose/significance of acknowledging the lands we are on?
d) How can we go beyond just acknowledging the lands?

W: Developing and Organizing Content: generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience (ENG3U)


Research and explore the territorial lands that students are from and investigate the Indigenous peoples of those lands.
a) Who are your territorial lands ancestors?
b) What was their relationship with land?
c) What is your understanding of relationship with the land?

W: Applying Knowledge of Conventions: Use editing, proofreading, and publishing skills and strategies, and knowledge of language conventions, to correct errors, refine expression, and present their work effectively (ENG3U)
RLS: Reading for Meaning: Read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, informational, and graphic texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning (ENG3U)

Teacher Reflection

Teacher shares what is their positionality as a colonial settler or Indigenous person/ally living on Indigenous land.
Teacher shares with students what is their territorial lands from their ancestors.