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From Field to Studio: The art of Paul Kane - page 29 / 36





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PKI Teaching Guide

Page 29 of 36

The two to choose from are entitled:

Fort Edmonton Buffalo Hunt

Classroom Activities:


View Kane’s field notes and compare them the published text. Note: This activity might

be of more interest for students to try on their own. The main point is to illustrate the subtle but important differences between the “field Kane” and the book published under his name, Wanderings of an Artist.


Kane’s field writing and the work that was published under his name in Wanderings of

an Artist raise many fascinating questions about how history is created. Find some documents that are at least 100 years old at www.canadiana.org that help tell a story about the past. Decide if these documents are primary or secondary sources. Find other clues at the

library and on the internet to tell the story of a particular event or person. Conduct more research on Paul Kane as well as on George Simpson, Tecumseh, Poundmaker and Big Bear. During this research process, ask students to consider which sources are primary and which are secondary.


Kane’s field writings are quite different from what is presented in the published book

Wanderings of an Artist. Discuss the significance of this observation and whether we should

be concerned about the authenticity of the representations in the book.


Early in 2006 it was revealed that several portions of James Frey's best-selling

memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," were made up

(http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/0104061jamesfrey1.html ). The book's publisher

issued a statement saying that, in essence, it did not really matter as it was a “personal

history whose aim was to illuminate, by way of example, events and issues of broader social consequence”. Find out if students agree or disagree with this statement. Ask students to find

out what is the difference between a work of fiction and a memoir. Ask them to consider whether everything included in a personal memoir should be true. Discuss this issue and relate to certain problems in Kane’s book Wanderings of an Artist.

10b. - Video - The Pacific Northwest

This video explains in detail what Kane experienced in Pacific Northwest. In particular it speaks to the incredible mix of cultures he encountered and how to this day there is a significant cultural legacy.


  • sense of place

  • landscape art

From Field to Studio: The art of Paul Kane

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