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From Field to Studio: The art of Paul Kane - page 17 / 36





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PKI Teaching Guide

Page 17 of 36

This poster from the early 1840’s is an illustration of how First Nations culture was marketed in terms of the so-called “Wild West”. The poster can be shown using the DVD or printed out and distributed in the class. It should be noted that there is terminology in this poster that is very dated. The supplementary reading material associated with this activity should be carefully considered.

Download the poster

Classroom Activities:


Read supplementary reading material 6.1 and 6.2 and the poster.

Project the poster on a screen or print it and hand it out to the class. Discuss the terms being used in the poster. If the terms are out-of -date, ask the students to explain why. Make a list of the out-of-date terms and try to agree on terms that would be appropriate today.

Discuss the term, “Wild West”. following:

Ask students to consider question such as the

  • List some of the stereotypes associated with the term Wild West?

  • How were stereotypes promoted and maintained over the decades?

  • What role did early posters, popular publications, and Hollywood western films play in

promoting stereotypes of life during the 1800s in North America?

  • How have stereotypes such as these (e.g., the practice of horse stealing or scalping)

influenced perceptions about First Nations’ peoples over the years?

  • In what ways have stereotypes been harmful to First Nations, Métis and other people?

  • In what ways have stereotypes influenced formal documentation (e.g., history books)

and public perceptions of historical events?

  • In what ways are stereotypes about various cultural groups still in existence today?

How can these stereotypes be addressed?

Ask students to create a list of stereotypes about “Wild Teenagers”. In what ways are these stereotypes harmful, and how can they be counteracted?


Ask small groups of students to decide what items they would include in an exhibition

for an agreed upon subject or idea. The exhibition could be about contemporary art, culture, politics, or current social issue. Ask each group to list and describe the various artifacts that they would like to include in their exhibit. If the students were creating an exhibition about a particular global conflict, for example, they might include photographs, newspaper articles, interviews, personal narratives, maps, journal entries, video footage, objects from the scene, and so on). Challenge the students to use terminology that everyone in the group can agree

on to describe their exhibition.


Ask each student to create a poster to promote their group’s exhibit. How would the

poster be designed to best represent and promote the exhibit? What terms could be used to

attract an audience? What promotional or marketing techniques could be employed to popularize the event? What would be the slogans? Ask the students to consider how the

From Field to Studio: The art of Paul Kane

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