As summer comes to a close, so does our intern Isabelle’s time at the museum. She’s worked hard all summer on an outreach kit about immigration, migration and refugees. We are grateful for all of her wonderful work and students will enjoy the fruits of her labour for many years to come. This is Isabelle’s last post in her blog series about developing an outreach education kit. 


This outreach kit, which I am finishing today, was created on the ancestral, shared and unceded territories of the Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh (Squamish), Tsleil-Waututh, xwməθkwəyə̓m (Musqueam), Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.  In this outreach education kit, I am trying to tell the stories of people who settled on lands where Indigenous peoples have lived for time immemorial. In order to tell that story respectfully and accurately, I need to incorporate Inidgenous content and engage with what students are already learning about Indigenous history in the social studies curriculum.         

While the nine stories in the outreach kit focus on the experiences of newcomers, Indigenous history is embedded in the stories and activities. One story in particular, that of the Kanaka Ranch families, examines the complexities of Indigeneity, as most of the individuals in the story were of both Coast Salish and Indigenous Hawai’ian ancestry. The individuals followed different paths. Many of them joined Indigenous communities, while others joined the mainstream colonial society. They did not fit neatly into any colonial category. Many children from the ranch were forced to go to Residential School, while others were not. Some residents of Kanaka Ranch married Indigenous partners, while some married European partners. This story, and its special activity, “Exploring Identity,” gives students a chance to explore the complexity of identity for historical people and peoples, as well as for themselves

Indigenous issues are also highlighted in the main activities of the kit. One activity called “The Power of Names” encourages students to learn the original names of the places they live, learn and play, and it examines how the colonial practice of renaming places is being challenged by Indigenous activists. Another activity, “Indigenous-Newcomer Relations” lets students analyze primary sources to uncover how Indigenous peoples interacted with various marginalized immigrant groups in BC history. 

It has been a great pleasure to work with the Vancouver Maritime Museum on this project this summer. I wanted to especially thank Sarah and Dennis from the Programming Department, as well as my UBC Supervisor, Professor Coll Thrush. I hope that this outreach kit will soon be in circulation for teachers and students to engage with, learn from and enjoy.


First Nations Map of British Columbia: 

First Peoples Principles of Learning:×17.pdf

BC Social Studies Curriculum:

 Image: Old Songhees Village Richard Maynard / Public domain