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Homelands and Treaty Paper: Indigenous History and Contemporary Presence in Your Community


Why are we asking you to write a Homelands and Treaty Paper?

The lands we live on and the communities where we live are the homelands to the many and diverse Indigenous groups who continue to live in Canada. Many of the places we live emerged from natural gathering places for Indigenous people; many of the routes we follow today emerged from the routes utilized by Indigenous people.

Many of our communities have place names that were first given by the Indigenous inhabitants of a particular area. In order to improve our understanding of where we live today this assignment asks you to research the history of your community in order to illuminate the Indigenous presence—both historical and contemporary—of your community.

Connecting the history of Indigenous Peoples to the contemporary challenges of reconciliation is challenging.

If we are to achieve reconciliation connecting Indigenous understandings of the world to our own lived understanding of community is essential In this assignment we ask you to research the history and contemporary presence of Indigenous peoples for your home community. A local understanding of Indigenous Peoples in your community is essential for you to understand your role and responsibility in reconciliation.

What are we asking you to do?

We ask you to create a research report that examines the Indigenous history and the contemporary presence of Indigenous Peoples in your community. Your research report will use a range of sources available to you. They may include history books, articles, maps, museums, oral histories, photographs, websites, government data sites, First Nations, Metis and Inuit websites and publications etc... Your research and conclusions will contribute to a larger understanding of your community as a centre for reconciliation. Your paper will be presented in three sections:

Note: For International students: In this assignment you will write about Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Part One: Introduction (one page)

What is the territory in which you live? Where is it located? How long have you and your family lived there?

What is the population of your territory? What proportion of your community is of Indigenous descent? (Use google maps and census data to respond to these requirements.)

Part Two: The history of Indigenous peoples (if any) in your region. (approx. 4 to 5 double spaced pages)

  • Who are/were the Indigenous people(s) who lived in the region where you live?
  • What treaty or land claims agreement covers the area of your home territory/hometown?
  • What Indigenous place names are in your community/territory? What do these names mean?
  • If a place name was changed or erased, what was the situation that precipitated the name change?

Consider how the current place name came to be, by whom, when etc. …

  • Did Indigenous people always live there? If not, where did they come from and why did they move?
  • Where Residential Schools or Day schools operating in your territory/community? When did they operate/who operated them?

Part Three: The contemporary presence of Indigenous community in your region. (approx. 4 to 5 double spaced pages)

  • Where do Indigenous peoples live in your community? What nationality are they?
  • Where and how many Indigenous peoples are living reserve, rural or urban in your territory/community?
  • What cultural/Indigenous national background are they?
  • What are the Indigenous organizations in your area?
  • What are the local initiatives that Indigenous peoples are working on?
  • Where do Indigenous Students attend school in your territory/community? (elementary and secondary)

Please remember that the focus of the paper is on your home community. This project is for you to see your community in a different light. Please note that in Ontario 80% of Indigenous people live in urban environments. If you ignore this segment of the population your paper is incomplete, and you will receive a failing grade.

Part Four: What next? (1 to 3 double spaced pages)

  • What conclusions did you draw from your research?
  • What questions about your community and Canada emerged for you in this exercise?
  • It is important to take your knowledge to action. Given what you found out, what actions could you take that would foster reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in your home community?

Homelands report resources are available inside the academic and student supports tab on the left-hand side of the course Blackboard menu.


Your Homelands report will be 11 to 14 double spaced pages. This page count does not include title pages or reference pages as required by APA formatting requirements.

The final report will use a combination of 10 to 15 in text citations from academic and community sources, including Indigenous organization websites. We are encouraging you to include quotations in your writing to help you expand your ideas and provide context to your research. Reports that include references from Wikipedia or Canadian Encyclopedia will be assigned a grade a 0.

Papers that do not contain intext citations or a reference page will be returned to students with a grade of 0.

This assignment has been undertaken by students in the past. We are aware that there are papers on sharing sites such as CourseHero. Blackboard also keeps copies of past reports and refers to them in calculating your academic integrity score. The report you submit must be your own work. Plagiarism will result in a grade of zero in the course.

a) All assignments must be submitted electronically via Blackboard.
b) All work is due on the date set out in the syllabus unless otherwise announced and agreed upon.
c) Blackboard will allow for late electronic submission of assignments. It records the date and time of your submission so that appropriate penalties can be applied.
d) Please ensure that your work is submitted as a MSWORD file on blackboard.
e) All of your work is assessed using the safeassign software. If safeassign cannot review your work, it will be treated as late.

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