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Leaving It All Behind: Relocation of the Mashuau Innu

  • Indigenous History
  • Secondary – Junior

This Learning Tool appears in 2 Collections

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Students will be required to conduct research on the relocation of the Mushuau Innu from coastal Labrador to the settled location of Davis Inlet. Students will examine the reasons why the federal government chose this course of action. In addition, students will study the effects the forced relocation had on the Innu community.


Students will:

- Identify the difficulties with relocation 
- Analyze the resources regarding the relocation of the Innu 
- Explore the history of the Innu and their plight in Canada 
- Discuss personal perspectives 
- Differentiate various view points and locate biases in source materials 
- Create an opinion essay which supports their views


Students will have been exposed to other forms of forced relocations; Acadians, Loyalists, various Aboriginal peoples, Japanese-Canadians, and the African-Canadians who lived Africville. The time period studied is from 1967-1990s when the Government of Canada decided to relocate the Mushuau Innu to Davis Inlet. Students will engage in analytical and critical thinking. Students will also have the opportunity to dramatize a historical situation by taking on the role of the Innu or government officials.



The teacher will facilitate a discussion where students will have the opportunity to describe their own personal experiences to moving, using the “KWL” approach (Know, Want to Know, Learned). They will also describe their own interpretations of the term “forced relocation” using a web diagram so that it’s recorded for student reference. Teachers can also implement a Venn diagram or pro/con inventories, and other graphic organizers.

Students are to break into groups of three and distribute primary/secondary sources to enable them to decide what the top three issues are regarding forced relocation from the perspective of both the Innu and the federal government.

Have them go to their school library to conduct further research on the federal government’s position on relocation.

Students will break into groups and, using a PMI chart (Pluses, Minues, Implications), compare and analyze the responses from the Innu community regarding relocation and evaluate their findings with their classmates.

Students are to use the accumulated data to produce two short scenarios (filmed or performed in class) based on their findings. Maximum length: 2-3 min. 

FIRST SCENARIO – A mock interview with an Innu person who was relocated.

SECOND SCENARIO – A mock interview with a federal representative regarding the Innu experience.

Students will produce an essay using critical thinking strategies to determine whether forced relocation by a government as a course of action can be justified. Evaluation will be based on a teacher developed rubric.


- Participation marks for introductory activities (PMI Chart, KWL, etc.)
- Presentation
- Written Report

Required Materials:

- Access to a computer lab for several periods 
- Source documents (film or print) 
- Teacher to establish contact with a teacher in the Innu community 
- Digital/Video camera, Webcam or A/V equipment - Chart paper, Markers