Learn about the 630 Indigenous groups of people who have lived here for thousands of years and the first contacts they had with those who believed they “discovered” this land. 

Learning History

In Reconciliation work we often hear the response,        

“I was never taught that in school …..”

Learn about the First Nations people who have lived on these lands for thousands of years and their first contacts with those who believed they “discovered” this land.

This list is provided as a “good way to start.”

It is not meant to be complete or the only path to follow.


Doctrine of Discovery – Stolen Lands, Strong Hearts from Anglican Church of Canada.

This film is one of the responses of the Anglican Church’s Primate’s Commission on Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice. 


First Nations 101 by Lynda Gray (2nd edition 2022)


First Nations 101 provides a broad overview of the diverse and complex lives of First Nations people dealing with more than 70 subjects including education, youth, child welfare, residential schools, and language preservation.

21 Things you May Not know about the Indian Act by Bob Joseph     


21 Things You May Not Know About the Indian Act is the essential guide to understanding the legal document and its repercussion on generations of Indigenous Peoples.  Since its creation in 1876, the Indian Act has shaped, controlled, and constrained the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Peoples, and is at the root of many enduring stereotypes.  

A Knock on the Door (2015).

This is a history of residential schools prepared by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada. It can start with a knock on the door one morning. It can be the Indian agent, the priest, or, the RCMP. That is how many Indigenous children in Canada began their school experience.  



The Indigenous Canada Course from the University of Alberta


Indigenous Canada is a 12-lesson Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) from the Faculty of Native Studies that explores Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations.  


Blanket Exercise  


The Blanket Exercise builds an understanding of our shared history as Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada by walking through pre-contact, treaty-making, colonization and resistance. Everyone is actively involved as they step onto blankets that represent the land, and into the role of First Nations, Inuit and later Métis peoples. By engaging on an emotional and intellectual level, the Blanket Exercise effectively educates and increases empathy.              


Mapping the Ground we Stand On.  


“Mapping the Ground We Stand On.” explores Indigenous presence and Settler arrival on the map of Turtle Island/Canada.  It seeks to act as “education for reconciliation.”   Tim Wilson, documented the creation of the exercise and produced two videos, available on PWRDF’s Youtube channel. The Exercise itself is now available as a virtual Mapping Exercise workshop to be delivered over Zoom. The workshop is approximately two and half hours long, with breaks, breakout rooms and interactive elements. We hope it will prove to be a helpful complement to the in-person workshop as we move into a post-pandemic world, reaching audiences that might not be able to participate in-person.