Instructional Plans: Plants Used for Medicinal and Social Purposes
1.2.1 Appreciate how stories and events of the past connect their families and communities to the present
1.2.2 Analyze how their families and communities in the present are influenced by events or people of the past by exploring and reflecting
2.1.1 Appreciate the physical and human geography of the communities studied
2.2.1 Appreciate how stories of the past connect individuals and communities to the present
2.2.2 Appreciate how Aboriginal peoples have influenced the development of the student’s community
2.2.3 Appreciate the importance of collaboration and living in harmony
3.1.1 Appreciate similarities and differences among people and communities
4.1.1 Value Alberta’s physical geography and natural environment
4.2.1 Appreciate how an understanding of Alberta’s history, peoples, and stories contributes to their sense of belonging and identity
4.2.2 Critically assess how the cultural and linguistic heritage and diversity of Alberta has evolved over time
5.1.1 Value Canada’s physical geography and natural environment
5.2.1 Appreciate the complexity of identity in the Canadian context
5.2.2 Critically examine the ways of life of Aboriginal peoples in Canada
7.1.2 Appreciate the challenges of co-existence among peoples
7.2.3 Appreciate the challenges that individuals and communities face when confronted with rapid change
In exploring the past and connections to Aboriginal culture, students will learn how Aboriginal people developed many of their own medicines through their unique relationship to the land. Aboriginal communities had their own “doctors” that helped the members of their communities. Students will also learn how many of the traditional medicines have influenced medicines that we use today.
It is important that students are introduced to the special connection between Aboriginal people and the plants, trees, and roots that were developed by the Creator. In fact, Aboriginal People harvested many plants, roots and berries for medicinal and spiritual purposes. Aboriginal communities used the diversity and vastness of Canada’s land to their benefit in a number of innovative ways. Oral histories, stories and the special knowledge of Medicine men made it possible for Aboriginal people to often heal themselves with what the earth provided.
Introductory Activity: Health and Wellness
To begin this series of lesson plans, which may be used together or independently, it is suggested that you read the Teacher Resource Section of the lesson as well as peruse the Student Zone. The following lesson plans focus on Aboriginal peoples’ use of plants, root, and berries as healing tools. Wellness was created in these communities by using plants, roots, and berries and Elders were the ones that passed down the methods through oral history. Therefore, it is suggested that you introduce students to Aboriginal culture by taking them on a “nature walk” on the school grounds or if possible at a nearby park. Direct the students to focus their attention on the many different types of plants, roots, and berries that they see. When you return to the classroom record these observations on the white board and discuss as a class. This would also be an ideal time to share information on Aboriginal culture and the method of using oral history and storytelling to pass down important information from generation to generation.
If weather does not permit this activity an alternative would be to take students on a virtual tour of a provincial park.