Danielle Daniel explains the importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can also act as animal guides for young children seeking to understand themselves and others. Students can listen to the story, then explore characteristics that they feel best represent who they are. The opportunity to create a self portrait with physical animal characteristics helps students consider who they are and who they want the world to see them as. A written component to encourage students to build and use vocabulary to describe themselves is easy to add for older primary students.
by Margot Landahl
The Six Cedar Trees offers key traditional teachings connecting people’s relationships with the land. Near the school playground there were six tall cedar trees and as eagle flew among the trees he listened carefully to the messages each tree shared about its life and connection to the creatures living in the area of the Tsawwassen First Nation of British Columbia. Each tree provided a teaching such as the wolf’s communication strength that comes from cooperating, listening with respect and sharing. Students are encouraged to acknowledge and give thanks for the cedars and the wolf, raven (creative and playful), salmon (critical thinking and perseverance), bear (find balance), beaver (cooperate), and orca whale (importance of family). This resource published by Strong Nations Publishing provides an excellent way to introduce character education with cultural knowledge and introduce key animals, birds and water creatures from the Pacific Northwest Coast.
The Earth Rangers website contains lots of information about animals along with blog posts articles about interesting animals and the problems they face.
This website is also available in French at www.ecoheros.ca