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Indigenous Culture: Types of poles and what they represent (Canadian)

Grade Level Grades 5-9


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Resource: Watching the watchman


Media (3 mins)Take a boat ride with Guardian Watchman Jordan Wilson, whose observations and traditional knowledge inform marine management for the Central Coast. Key Concepts: maritime careers, careers in science, environmental monitoring, Indigenous knowledge

  • See the media: Ocean School makes media/activity combinations. Each piece of media is linked to an activity. You can access this video by visiting the Ocean School website or by visiting the direct link here. If you like this media, you can see all of the available resources in the Ocean School Resource Catalogue. Everything in Ocean School is provided free to the public.
  • About the Indigenous content: This content was filmed and developed on unceded Haíɫzaqv homelands and waterways in direct collaboration with members of the Haíɫzaqv Nation. The Haíɫzaqv are an Indigenous Nation living in (what is currently) Canada's province of British Columbia. We are sincerely grateful to the Haíɫzaqv Nation for allowing Ocean School to be guests in their territory, for sharing their stories and knowledge, and for collaborating with us for this module. All Haíɫzaqv language use in Ocean School content is overseen by the Heiltsuk integrated resource management department.

Activity (40 mins): Career reflection: Students learn about the cultural significance of different carved poles in Haíɫzaqv culture, including the Watchmen poles. Then, they write about the knowledge, skills and values that a watchman must have.

  • Teaching tip: Show Indigenous people as appropriate role models for learners to connect with.
  • Alert: Many images belong to particular people, nations, families, or clans. Don’t use designs, symbols or crests without permission. Please note that the colours of Haíɫzaqv poles are culturally significant, protected knowledge. Please do not colour in the images of the poles.
  • Want another format? We offer a Google Slides version of the activity, a Microsoft Powerpoint version of the activity, and a PDF version of the activity on the Ocean School website.

About Ocean School
This is a free educational resource from the Canadian Government about the ocean, through the Ocean Frontier Institute at Dalhousie University and the National Film Board of Canada. Ocean School provides media-rich, ocean-based resources in multiple subjects for students in grades 5–12. Created by educators, scientists and storytellers, these interactive learning materials help students understand our influence on the ocean and the ocean’s influence on us. Ocean School is ad-free and requires no login for teacher or student.

Available in French
Check out the Resources tab for the French activity sheets and media.
Or check out the French Ocean School page.

Please note: Ocean School activities are not stand-alone lessons (they do not cover all aspects of one topic or subject) but instead supplement learning through dynamic and engaging experiences.

Lesson Resources:


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