In this challenge, students investigate French and British imperialist policies in the new world and assess the impact of these policies on the social and economic well-being of European settlers and Aboriginal peoples.
Introduce the notion of imperialism and the similarities and differences between French and British approaches to imperialism. Briefly discuss the role of imperialism in the colonization of the new world; e.g., increased population, developed social institutions, contributed to economic growth, assimilated or extinguished local cultures.
Inform the class that both the British and the French claimed Canada as their own, without consideration of the Aboriginal peoples. Invite the class to assess the impact of British and French imperialism on the well-being of the Aboriginal peoples as well as European settlers in North America. Suggest two criteria to assess well-being:
- social well-being: cultural integrity; e.g., how connected the culture feels, to what extent cultural/religious beliefs and practices are respected, the influence/role of women; self-determination
- economic well-being: reasonable income; e.g., amount of goods traded, profit earned; good standard of living, stable jobs.
Direct students to use textbooks and other print and electronic sources to research British and French imperialist efforts and their effects on Aboriginal peoples and European settlers in Acadia, New France and British settlements. Ask students to share their findings with the class. Consider adapting the charts and strategies outlined in Collecting Information (Support Material) to structure and assess their research.
Have students work in small groups to assess and rate these effects. You may want to assign groups to focus on particular aspects, such as effects of British imperialism on social well-being of Aboriginal communities, effects of French imperialism on economic well-being of European settlers. Suggest the following rating scale:
- strong positive effect
- modest positive effect
- modest negative effect
- strong negative effect.
Consider adapting the rating effects chart, outlined in Rating Options (Support Material), to structure and assess this activity. Arrange for students to share their conclusions.
Invite an Aboriginal Elder to share oral stories about the impact of imperialism on his or her ancestors.