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Defenders for Human Rights
Karihwakè:ron Tim Thompson

Karihwakè:ron Tim Thompson Equitable Education for All

GRADE LEVELS = 5 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Four 60 minute class periods

How to use this lesson

Global and Canadian Defenders for human rights have changed societal conditions and provide inspiration for students. The overall goal of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to raise student awareness that advances in human rights come through the actions of individuals.

In this lesson plan on Equitable Education for All you will find:

  • An interview with Tim Thompson including his biography.
  • Student activities that support the theme of this lesson, including activities related to First Nations Education in Canada, Shannen’s Dream, and an opportunity for students to assess the level of Aboriginal resources in their classrooms and schools.
  • Three brief community defender profiles are provided to expand the lesson and encourage students to identify with a variety of defenders for human rights.

To support the lesson on Equitable Education for All, you will also find:

  • Sections or articles of selected legal instruments that are tied to the theme of Equitable Education for All.
  • A student activity that links the Moments in Time timeline of advancements and setbacks in human rights from a Canadian perspective.

You can, of course, choose to use any or all of the suggested student activities.

It is recommended that teachers access the 100 Years of Loss Teaching Toolkit for a comprehensive teaching resource on the Residential School System in Canada. This resource can be obtained from the Legacy of Hope Foundation. We have included the timeline of 100 Years of Loss in Student Activity I.

Learning Targets

During this lesson students will:

  • be informed of the history of First Nations education in Canada
  • be aware of the perspectives needed to for effective reform of First Nations education
  • have an activity on the need for reforms in First Nations education

Skills Development

After this lesson students will have improved the following skills:

  • Adding meaningful argument to a group discussion
  • Researching, organizing and interpreting information
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Presenting acquired information in an engaging manner
  • Respecting opposing points of view
  • Creating an artistic presentation and sharing it with the class
  • Implementing advocacy activities

Guiding Questions

  1. Why doesn’t every student in Canada have access to the same quality education?
  2. Who should lead the changes in aboriginal education?
  3. Why is it important to have access to an education that reflects your culture, your history and your language?


Opportunities and issues related to human rights are integrated throughout the curriculum. This lesson plan suggests student activities that will match curriculum expectations in Language, Social Sciences, Aboriginal Studies, Health, and Art as well as Health and Wellness, Citizenship, Law, and Technology.


Depending on the activities chosen it may be necessary to have access to a television, the Internet, computers, and/or films (on DVD or streamed) in addition to presentation materials to support individual and group presentations. Some of the recommended videos may have a rental fee or purchase cost.

Legal Instruments

Speak Truth to Power Canada highlights legal instruments in their simplified forms, which relate to the themes addressed in the 12 lesson plans. Selected articles and sections of these legal instruments are offered in this lesson plan to complement the discussion and the research.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Article 1: Right to equality
  • Article 18: Freedom of belief and religion
  • Article 25: Right to adequate living standard
  • Article 26: Right to education
  • Article 27: Right to participate in the cultural life of the community

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • Fundamental Freedoms
  • Democratic Rights
  • Mobility Rights
  • Legal Rights
  • Equality Rights
  • Enforcing the Charter
  • General

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

  • Article 2: Right to freedom and equality
  • Article 3: Right to self-determination
  • Article 7: Right to life, liberty and security
  • Article 8: Freedom from forced assimilation
  • Article 9: Right to belong to an Indigenous community
  • Article 10: No removal from lands without prior consent
  • Article 11: Right to practice and protect their traditions and cultural property
  • Article 13: Right to recover, use and teach Indigenous languages
  • Article 14: Right to Indigenous educational systems
  • Article 15: Accurate reflection of Indigenous cultures in education
  • Article 24: Rights to health and quality social services
  • Article 27: Rights to cultural processes to resolve disputes