Chapter 3 Lesson 1 "Reinventing the Enemy's Language"

“The Son Who Came Back from the United States” (1992, 2001), Sixto Canul (Maya, 1948– )
“Ghost Trap” (1992), Gloria Anzaldúa (Chicana, 1942–2004)
“I’m Not a Witch, I’m a Healer!” (1997, tr. 2007), Joel Torres Sánchez (Purépecha, 1950– )
“Aunt Parnetta’s Electric Blisters” (1990), Diane Glancy (Cherokee, 1941– )
“Land Speaking” (1998), Jeannette Armstrong (Okanagan, 1948– )

Indigenous peoples have lived on Turtle Island and spoken their languages for thousands of years. There is evidence that their presence dates back as far as 20,000 years ago. Through language, a community knows more about its history, customs, culture, identity, traditions, and ways of knowing and being. English, French, and Spanish are not the official languages of Turtle Island; they are the colonizers’ languages that were brought from Europe (Britain, France, and Spain). Because of colonization, many Indigenous languages have been lost or are at the point of extinction. Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island continue to fight, advocate, and revitalize Indigenous languages.

Lesson #1 Learning Goals:
• To explore different languages spoken in the classroom
• To write a story using one or more languages and reflect on words chosen



Curriculum Expectations


As a large group:
On a world map, pinpoint the countries associated with all of the languages that are spoken in class—that is, spoken, written, and read fluently.
Using pins of a different colour, indicate the countries associated with languages the students speak but can’t read or write.
Go back to the countries whose languages are spoken in class and name the official language, or languages, of those countries. For example, students might say that Canada’s official languages are English and French, that Mexico’s is Spanish, and so on.

MS: Understanding Media Texts: Demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts (ENG3U)
Demonstrate an understanding of the relationships depicted in fiction, drama, poetry, and non-fiction by Aboriginal writers (Relationships– NBE3U)
Demonstrate an understanding of the relationships depicted in fiction, drama, poetry, and non-fiction by Aboriginal writers (Relationships– NBE3U)


Teacher or students read aloud “The Son Who Came Back from the United States” and “Ghost Trap.” Think–Pair–Share
a) How is language used as the “code for interpreting reality”?
b) What is lost in translation from one language to another?
c) How does the use of two languages in a text influence mood and tone, and change the meaning and understanding of the story?
d) How is language used for economical, political, and social power?
e) What are the official languages of Canada, Mexico, USA?

RLS: Understanding Form and Style: Recognize a variety of text forms, text features, and stylistic elements and demonstrate understanding of how they help communicate meaning (ENG3U)


Story Writing:
Some students may speak two or more languages. Those students may:
a) write a story in a group of four using both languages and explain why they chose certain words in a certain language. What were the meanings behind the words chosen? What tone or mood did the students want to convey and why?
For students who speak only one language:
a) write a story using the language they know and perhaps invent, add words that are unique to their families, culture, traditions, etc.

W: Developing and Organizing Content: Generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience (ENG3U)
Using Knowledge of Form and Style: Draft and revise their writing, using a variety of literary, informational, and graphic forms and stylistic elements appropriate for the purpose and audience (ENG3U)
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)

Beyond Reading

Reflection piece: If you do not speak the language of your parents/ancestors, can you claim to be part of their culture?


Teacher Reflection

Teacher writes a mono- or duo-language passage