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Secondary Instructional Plan: Francophone and other Ethnic Settlement and Language Rights (Grade 9)

Part Two

Main Activity: Multi-Paragraph Assignment

By this point students should have a much better understanding of Francophone Settlement in the Province of Alberta, and the challenges/hardships those people had to overcome to create a new life. They should also be aware that the first language of these settlers was not English, and that they also struggled to have their first language, French, recognized and used.

Direct students to the text in the Student Zone dealing with Language Rights in Canada and the problems Francophones encountered while trying to have French recognized and used as an official language. This will help prepare them for the next activity/assignment.

Instruct students to do a written analysis of 400-500 words about the challenges/hardships that Francophone Settlers encountered in their attempt to settle in the Province of Alberta and use their first language. Students may also choose to use another Ethnic group to complete the assignment. The information for this can also be found in the Student Zone section under Immigration Histories. Students should include the following in their analysis:

  • What factors led these Francophone settlers to migrate to Alberta
  • Where did they settle in Alberta and why
  • What was life like in Alberta
  • Reception they received from English speaking settlers in Alberta
  • What were the positives and negatives of settling in Alberta
  • Considering the journey, hardships and challenges of settling somewhere new, do you think it was worth it
  • What obstacles did the French speaking settlers have to overcome in order to have French officially recognized and used as a language in Canada
  • You may want to design a marking rubric as a class, use one of your own, or use those from Alberta Education. The rubric forms developed to assess writing qualities are in the section on Achievement testing. They are outlined in the Bulletin section (grade six rubrics located here )and applied with writing samples located here.

Extension Activity

As an extension activity have students do some online research into Immigration policies of the early 1900’s and compare them with current Immigration policies. How have these policies shaped Canada as a Multicultural nation? A debate might be interesting here.

Teacher Text Regarding Language Rights

For the Francophone settlers of Alberta, French language rights were essential. Although much effort went into trying to maintain bilingualism in provincial government services and communication, not much happened. Schools also lost ground and, for many years, were unable to provide classes in French for those who would prefer it. In relatively recent years, following the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution, it has become possible for Franco-Albertans to regain some of their linguistic and cultural rights.
Language Legislation
In 1891, the Northwest Territories Act of 1875 was amended by the Federal government. The Territories were given the power to pass their own ordinances and control their public expenditures after they had been recommended to the lieutenant-governor. Until 1891, the territories had been officially bilingual.
However, the new settlers, most of them English-speaking, were surprised to find that there were two official languages and some controversy.

  • This was very clear when Lieutenant-governor, Joseph Royal, presented his 1877 throne speech in English and French.
  • A lobby group began pushing to have English recognized as the Territories' only official language.
  • Many of the territorial newspapers rallied around the cause. A strong pro-British sentiment was present at the time.

An 1891 ordinance made English the language of legislation and the courts for the Northwest Territories.
A second blow to the French-speaking population of the West came with ordinance number 22 of 1891-1892.

  • English would be the only language of instruction in the schools.
  • The ordinance reversed the accord of 1888, which permitted bilingual education.

After 1891, all education was to be in English. The committee could however permit French language education in the primary grades.

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