Chapter 6 Lesson 1: Community, Self, Transformation

“The Toughest Indian in the World” (2000), Sherman Alexie (Spokane/Coeur d’Alene, 1966– )
“The Secret of the Zutz’baläm” (1997, tr. 2004), Isaías Hernández Isidro (Chontal, 1966– )
“Devotion” (2012), Richard Van Camp (Dogrib [Tlicho], 1971– )
“Grandma and the Wendigo” (2000, tr. 2017), Sylvain Rivard (Abenaki, 1966– )
“Excerpt from Red: A Haida Manga” (2009), Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Haida, 1954– )
“The Boys Who Became a Killer Whale” (2006), Ellen Rice White (Snuneymuxw, 1922– )

The Context
Students will do work to understand the self in relation to others – not only human others but those belonging to the wider living world. These stories explore character transformation and remind us to be respectful to one another as beings that are both related and interdependent. They demonstrate how the “self ” is an open concept defined by our relationships and responsibilities to other human and non-human beings.

Learning Goals:
• To develop an understanding of the “self ” and how characters are beings that are related to others and independent The first story in this chapter deals with a LGBTQI+ relationship. Depending on student readiness, it may be necessary to work through this story as a class.



Assessment Focus


Have students brainstorm an identity map in their journals in which their name is in the middle of a paper and the following attributes surround it: family, spirituality/ religion, culture, race, personality, ethnicity, nationality, integrity, clothing, talents, appearance, hobbies, etc. 



Divide the class in half and ask one half to read the first story of chapter 6, “The Toughest Indian in the World,” and the other half to read the second story, “The Secret of the Zutz’baläm.”
Have students work with a partner who read the story they did not read. Using the following guidelines, the partners take turns retelling the story they read:
a) Describe how a character promotes an understanding of Indigenous cultural identity (identity).
b) Identify customs, ceremonies, and spiritual beliefs that connect characters to nature and to one another (relationships).


Listening to Understand: listen in order to understand and respond appropriately in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes (Oral communication–ENG3U)


Have students continue to work with their partners to create an identity map for one character from each chapter.



Have students add to their own identity map. Ask students to add traits that they share with one of the characters from any one of the stories they have read thus far.


Teacher Reflection

Teachers create their own identity map and link to characters in the stories.