Module 2 Indigenous Peoples Protect their Lands and Rights

Maintaining land ownership continues to challenge Indigenous peoples as governments of the dominant societies capture lands that have been the center of tribal life for many Indigenous peoples.  Recently the government of British Columbia sided with local industries to turn Fish Lake, a body of water that not only provided food and water for the Tsilhqot’in people, but served as the place where ceremonies were held for centuries, as a dumping ground for mining waste.

The Tsilhqot’in people had traditionally isolated themselves from the mainstream societies.  They successfully prevented roads from being built on their lands; they have resisted measures to bring electricity to their area, and they teach their children their traditional language.  The latest move to capture their lake forced the Tsilhqot’in to use technology to get their message across.  They chose film.

The film, Blue Gold:  The Tsilhqot’in fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), features members from the tribe speaking about the lake and the impact that the government’s proposed policy would have not only on their lives, but on the area’s ecosystem.  The grizzly’s habitat would be threatened, for instance.

The Tsilhqot’in won their case, and it was the film that swayed the panel who reviewed the case, as well as the general public who offered their support towards the cause.

This site is useful to research in place-based learning because it shows that the Tsilhqot’in peoples used narrative to tell the story about the Lake.  Narratives play a major role in disseminating the knowledge of this and other Indigenous tribes through the generations.  Film was the ideal media for this tribe to tell their story to the outside world.  The film also shows the inter-connectedness of nature, culture and religion to Indigenous peoples.  In place-based learning, geographical places are taught from the perspective of the stories and traditions that are meaningful to Indigenous peoples.  In this type of learning, disciplines are not separated as specialities, but are tightly interwoven in the fabric of learning, changes in the land, the seasons, are understood from the perspective of their relationship to the divine.


Indigenous Peoples protect their lands and rights.


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