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Teacher Guide for Heart Berry Bling

Engaging Respectfully With Indigenous Stories and Their Themes in Grades 1–8

Table of contents

  • Introduction 1
  • Rationale 2
  • Protocols and Approaches for Engaging With Indigenous Histories, Teachings, Arts, and Stories 3
    • Respecting Protocols 3
    • Practising Cultural Appreciation 4
    • Knowing Your Learners and Using Trauma-Informed Practices and Approaches 5
    • Balancing Stories of Trauma With Joy 5
  • Preparing for Reading 6
    • Learning About the Indian Act and the Impacts of Colonization on Indigenous Peoples 6
    • Situating Yourself as a Learner 6
  • Key Themes and Connections 8
  • Vocabulary and Terminology 9
  • Connecting Learners to the Story 11
    • Engaging Before Reading 11
    • Engaging During Reading 12
    • Engaging After Reading 13
    • Extending Learning in Culturally Appropriate Ways 14

Use this guide alongside Heart Berry Bling to explore themes of social justice, cultural continuity, and resilience through art.


Written by Rotinonhsón:ni (Kanien’kehá:ka) educator Jerica Fraser and reviewed by author Jenny Kay Dupuis, the Teacher Guide for Heart Berry Bling offers support for educators in

  • engaging learners before, during, and after reading
  • using the suggested activities, questions, and ideas for inquiry
  • considering trauma-informed practices when approaching sensitive topics such as colonialism, social and racial injustices, and the Indian Act
  • practising cultural appreciation and providing context when introducing Indigenous stories
  • respecting protocols for engaging with Indigenous histories, teachings, art, and stories
  • balancing stories of Indigenous trauma and Indigenous joy

Activities in this teacher guide are most appropriate for grades 1 to 8 and can be used in a range of subject areas including English language arts, visual art, social studies, and history