This humanities assignment was broken up into parts. One was about Louis Riel, the founder of Manitoba, and the other was about Big Bear who was a Cree chief. Who was Louis Riel? Who was Big Bear? What did they do that was so important? How will this help me answer the driving questions? Well, let’s start by talking about Louis Riel. He was a Canadian politician living in the red river settlement. He was a brave, courageous, and slightly crazy leader. He led his people against John. A Macdonald and the English government. This also had to wrap into the other part of our project which was to create three different images that had to do with our topic (our groups topic was big bear). How would we combine these two big ideas together?
Before I explain that, you need to better understand our project. The Driving Question for this project was “How can we present past actions and decisions through images to help us make decisions of what is fair or unjust?” I worked in a group with Emily to create three different photos on our topic. I’m going to explain some of the milestones leading up to that and what I learned!
Milestone 1: Current Event Response (Understand Ethical Dimensions)
For this task, we had to choose a current event regarding indigenous people/groups in Canada. For my topic, I chose the recent events regarding the Liberal’s decisions on the Wet’suwet’en Teck crisis. This article discusses the liberal side of the teck crises. This milestone helped me better understand ethical dimensions. This was because I also had to search on this topic to gain a better understanding of both sides of the story. I had to dig deeper to find which side actions were just, or unjust.
Milestone 2: Partner Research (Understand Ethical Dimensions)
This next task had to do with us getting into our groups and choosing our topic. My group members and I ended up choosing Big Bear. This milestone was all about researching him so that we could create our photos. We found out that Big bear was a Cree Chief born in 1825. In his life, he made tough decisions such as the decisions to sign Treaty 6. He also led his people into the Battle of Belly River. Similar to milestone 1, this assignment required a lot of research and comparing information. We looked at Big Bears’ life from his early life, till the end of his life. We tried to understand all of the actions and important decisions that Big Bear made throughout his life. With this information, we were set to start creating our photographs.
Milestone 3 / 4: Images Draft / Presentation (Connect)
Milestone 3 and 4 are the final milestone I’m going to talk about. This is because I think that these are some of the most important milestones. This milestone is the presentations of the three photos we’ve been working on that all had to do with a big bear. We needed to show how these images would show his past actions/decisions. Along with that, we had to present a caption with it.
For our photos, we chose to make three different photos. One was a quote said from a cree chief, one was a photo of him and his village, and the other was him with symbols of important events. Below are the two photos I made. The one with the quote tells people that we only have a limited amount of resources and when we realize that we need the resources more than just money, we’ll have nothing left. The other photo is a photo of big bear with symbols that represent important events and beliefs. These symbols are the buffalo, treaty 6, and belly river.
Our caption for these photos was “Big bear was a Cree Chief born in 1825. At a young age, he was set on becoming a Cree Chief. To prepare, he spent time praying and reflecting on the spirits. As a reward, he was given a fur necklace in the shape of a bear paw to show his leadership. Later on in his life, he made tough decisions such as the decisions to sign Treaty 6. He also led his people into the Battle of Belly River. No matter how bad things were, he didn’t stop fighting until he got what was best for his people.”
(If you want to check the Instagram page with our photos and our classmate’s photos, click here).
This milestone taught me how to connect the information to what I was drawing/creating. I had to take everything I’d read on big bear, and connect it all to the art piece I created. I needed to show all of the information through the visual I created and the text I wrote. I think with my final draft, I was able to do this!
Louis Riel Comic Strip
Now, for the Louis Riel part of our unit. We had to read a comic strip about Louis Riel’s life from when he became a politic until he got put to death. From reading this book, I learned a lot about perspective and looking at the goods and bads of historical events. Louis Riel could be considered a hero, and a villain for some of the things he’s done. If it weren’t for him, we may not have the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway). Although, Louis Riel committed many crimes such as Murder, High Treason, and Manslaughter. You could also look at this though as he was standing up for his beliefs and his people. It’s very hard to decipher all of it but I think because I read the book and completed all of the summaries, I’ve become better at finding what is just, and unjust.
Now, to answer the driving question. I would say that to present past actions through images, you have to be very knowledgable about the topic. You have to show key historical symbols that will get people curious about what the photo’s about. The final thing I think is to present it in different creative ways. I think that we could have been more creative with our ideas but I believe creativity helps capture the viewer and helps them learn the information better. From there, you can then add smaller details such as different shades of colours or brighter/darker areas to show the information that is just or unjust. Think of how to show it in your way! In conclusion, I realize that the best way to get your photo and message across to the audience is to stay creative.