Activity Overview

Starting a unit or lesson with the key vocabulary that students will see in their readings or presentations aids in overall comprehension and retention. In this activity, students will create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary related to Métis Peoples of Canada. Students will preview the terms and definitions and use whole class or small group discussion to demonstrate their understanding of each meaning. When students define and illustrate each term, they master the application of it and retain it as part of their lexicon.

Métis Nation Vocabulary

Red River Cart: The Red River cart is a large two-wheeled cart developed by the Métis people in the Red River settlement in what is now called Manitoba. The wheels could be removed to travel down the river like a raft. The cart was used in the buffalo and fur trade in the 1800s in both Canada and the U.S.

Métis Flag: The Métis flag is the infinity symbol on a blue background. It represents the everlasting Métis nation and the joining of two cultures. The flag is considered a symbol of community and pride for the Métis people.

Sash: The brightly colored, woven sash is festive clothing and was an important tool that could be a rope, first aid kit, towel, bridle, and saddle blanket for the Métis. The sash is a symbol of pride and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, “The Order of the Sash” is bestowed upon a Métis person who has made cultural, political, or social contributions.

Buffalo/Bison: Métis buffalo hunting began on the North American plains in the late 1700s and continued until 1878. The hunt was a vital part of Métis peoples livelihood. Pemmican is a popular dried buffalo meat mixed with berries that is made by the Métis .

Beadwork: The Métis are masters of decorative arts, some of which are focused on brightly colored floral motifs in beadwork and embroidery. The Dakota and the Cree even refer to the Métis as the “Flower Beadwork People”.

Louis Riel: Louis "David" Riel (1844-1885) was a Canadian politician, founder of the province of Manitoba, and political leader of the Métis people in pre-Manitoba Northwest Territories. He led two resistance movements in defense of the Métis people against the government of Canada which was led by prime minister John A. Macdonald.

Gabriel Dumont: Gabriel Dumont (1837-1906) was a Métis leader and buffalo hunter during a time when buffalo herds were in decline and the Canadian government was taking over Métis lands.

Fiddle: The fiddle (violin) is an important part of Métis music and culture past and present as they've been "fiddling" for hundreds of years and many Métis craftspeople make their own fiddles. The Métis jig, the famous "Red River Jig", is dancing that accompanies the music. Fiddle and jigging contests are popular events.

Identity: A set of characteristics and values that describes the essence of a person or group.

Métis: People of mixed First Nations and European ancestry who identify themselves as Métis people. They are distinct from First Nations, Inuit, and non-Aboriginal peoples. Métis are descendants of the children of First Nations women and European fur trappers and traders.

First Nations: Aboriginal peoples of Canada who are not Métis or Inuit. There are more than 600 First Nations across Canada.

Roman Catholic Missionaries: A Roman Catholic priest who travels for the purpose of religious charity work and promotion of the religion

Canadiens: A Francophone descendant of the settlers of New France living anywhere in North America.

Economy: The way in which people meet their basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing.

York Boats: A boat used by the Métis to transport furs; it replaced the canoe as the main means of transportation on Western rivers and lakes.

Pemmican: Dried, shredded buffalo meat mixed with fat and berries.

Nor’Westers: A North West Company employee. The North West Company was a fur trading business headquartered in Montreal from 1779 to 1821. It competed with increasing success against the Hudson's Bay Company in what is present-day Western Canada and Northwestern Ontario.

Hudson's Bay Company: The Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) was chartered in England in 1670 for the purpose of fur trading with First Nations in North America. They are the oldest incorporated joint-stock merchandising company in the English-speaking world. HBC was a fur trading business for most of its history and its past is entwined with the colonization with British North America and the development of Canada.

Pemmican Proclamation: A government law created in 1814 that banned the Métis from exporting any meat, fish, or vegetables from the Red River Settlement.

Migrated: Movement of people within a country.

Rupert’s Land: A vast territory named after Prince Rupert, the first head of the Hudson’s Bay Company, consisting of most of what is now Western and Northern Canada.

Assimilation: A process by which culture or individual is absorbed into a more dominant culture because of its overwhelming influence.

Métis Provisional Government: A temporary government established by the Métis in 1864.

Manitoba Act: A law that was passed in July 1870 in response to the Métis Bill of Rights; it created the province of Manitoba.

Reserves: A parcel of land that the government agreed to set aside for the exclusive use of a First Nation.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard that defines and illustrates key vocabulary relating to the Metis Nation of Canada.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. In the title boxes, identify the key terms you have chosen.
  3. In the description boxes, write the definition of the term.
  4. Create an illustration for each term using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.

Requirements: Must have 3 terms, correct definitions and appropriate illustrations for each that demonstrate your understanding of the words.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/3] Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/4] Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 9-10 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies
  • [ELA-Literacy/L/9-10/6] Acquire and use accurately general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Define and illustrate each of the key terms.
7 Points
4 Points
1 Points
The vocabulary words are correctly defined.
The meaning of the vocabulary words can be understood but it is somewhat unclear.
The vocabulary word is not clearly defined
The storyboard illustrations clearly depict the meaning of the vocabulary words.
The illustrations relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words but it they are difficult to understand.
The illustrations do not clearly relate to the meaning of the vocabulary words.
Evidence of Effort
Work is well written and carefully thought out.
Work shows some evidence of effort.
Work shows little evidence of any effort.

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Métis Nation of Canada

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