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PKI Teaching Guide

Page 18 of 36

visual images and text in their posters can be composed to attract the viewers’ attention and persuade them to attend the exhibit.

Select a few of the students’ posters to discuss as a group. Discuss ways that each poster represents a contemporary worldview, or reflects the students’ social and historical environment. Compare the students’ posters to George Catlin’s poster, and to other posters from the past. Discuss ways in which posters reflect the social environment of their time periods.


Find an example of an exhibit or an event that is going on in the community. How is the

event being promoted? What visual images are used to promote the event? Visit this event and write a review, considering the particular cultural and historical context of the event. (For example, a review of a curling bonspiel might include an examination of the posters, an overview of the origins and historical development of curling, and an examination of the role of curling in contemporary cultural and social life in Canada. Or, students might attend a local fair or community event. The review might include a description of the origins of such gatherings, and the role they plays in enriching lives in local communities. Students might attend a local powwow. The review might include the historical development of powwows and

an examination of the role of powwows in the lives of contemporary First Nations people.)


Imagine you had attended Catlin’s exhibition in London in the 1840’s. Write a review

from the perspective of an audience member in the 1840s. Or alternatively, write a review

from the perspective of a modern day museum curator of First Nation’s ancestry who is studying the archival materials in Catlin’s exhibition.


Imagine what Paul Kane might have thought of Catlin’s exhibition and how this could

have inspired him to go on his own journey. Write a fictional entry from Paul Kane’s journal as

he imagines getting ready to embark on his journey after seeing Catlin’s exhibition.


Ask students to write about an adventure that might take place today that would be

comparable to those embarked on by Catlin and Kane.

Supplementary Reading


Challenging the Historical Record: Warfare and First Nations People Source: (http://www.artsmia.org/surrounded-by-beauty/history culture2.html )

Although First Nations people engaged in warfare before European contact, as well as later in defense of their homelands, their image as savage warriors has been grossly exaggerated. First Nations people who did engage in warfare were no more or less savage than other societies of the period. Although scalping has often been associated with Indian warfare, Europeans may have introduced it on this continent. Europeans certainly encouraged scalping, supplying metal scalping knives to replace flint or horn tools and offering bounties in the 18th century for the scalps of Indian men, women and children.

From Field to Studio: The art of Paul Kane

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