What every Canadian should know: history

Dear Mrs. Adams,

I just received your e-mail and I am looking forward to your arrival in my classroom next month. I will do my best to answer your question.

The main thing you should know is that Canada is a diverse country that embraces multiculturalism, much of which is rooted in Canada’s history. British Columbia’s curriculum reflects our country’s past, detailing both the good and the bad events.

French and British colonists began to arrive in the 15th century and were shocked to discover that many diverse tribes of Native American people were already occupying the land. They began to exchange valuable objects such as medicine, blankets and weapons in trade for furs. In this way, they established a rocky relationship with the original Canadians.

From this point onwards the Native American people of Canada were shunted and mistreated by the settlers. Our country has come a long way, and has recently made a public apology on the matter. There is a large portion of our curriculum dedicated to this past, and it is essential that every student learn what happened to our first people and other neglected groups to make a step in the right direction.

In studying history, students will understand that Canada is a bilingual country due to the fact that it was vastly colonized by British and French people. Now, children can learn in immersion programs in order for them to grow up bilingual. That being said, some are speaking many more languages than just French and English; Canada is known to accept many immigrants, giving it an extremely diverse population.

No matter what the program, students are encouraged to learn the country’s history. In fact, it is not until high school that the curriculum takes them into learning about other countries. Today, with this curriculum, they are able to see that people from many different places inhabit their country, and that this is something to respect. Each student here has a different story, and it is not uncommon to hear them comparing their family background and emphasizing their own personal identity.

Best regards,
Stephanie Wigod

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