Vincent Massey Junior High
Listen to a podcast with Craig:
This project is part of a series of stations through which students rotate to investigate the impact of the fur trade on Canada and Canadian identity. The stations utilize maps, timelines, documents, songs, images, food and artifacts to understand how the various people involved in the fur trade worked together and how this shaped Canada.
The lesson that is submitted is one of two stations that utilize explanatory maps. These maps are unique as they run contrary to conventional cartographic depictions of the routes of a European explorer and colonizer. The explanatory map of Champlain and MacDonnel portray the traditional locational details of the journeys yet extend an understanding through the emotional geographies and the sense of place evoked by the journals utilizing the expressive use of colour and type. The Champlain map incorporates indigenous geographies and multiple voices interwoven throughout the narrative story. While MacDonnel’s map does not incorporate multiple voices, an accurate sense of the voyageur experience is developed through intertwining emotional colour with the personal narrative of a participant in this harrowing adventure.
As the guiding inquiry question for this topic requires students to investigate the contributions of the various actors in the fur trade, it is important for them to understand that the social, cultural, emotional and intellectual contexts that shape their experience and understanding of an event or time. While Hopkins’ works are alive with people realistically engaged the daily tasks of the time and resplendent with vivid geographic features, juxtaposing Hopkins’ very romanticized watercolours with the graphic realism of MacDonnel’s journal (and the added features of the map) facilitates the development of an accurate historical perspective.