2A. OCT 04 - Colonial Context & What is a Place?


We are all connected with the ocean in diverse ways. Although we give names to different parts of the ocean, there is really only one ocean on Earth, and it covers over 75 percent of the planet. (Some have suggested the planet should be called Ocean rather than Earth.) Wherever we live, the ocean impacts us, and we impact the ocean. 

Let's explore WHERE we are and what that means to us and the surrounding coastal communities.

Key concepts: contributors to water exploitation: colonization, land, resources, and industrialization


As pressure mounts on the world's limited water resources, individuals, industries and governments will all have to start managing our shared water resources more efficiently.

Coastal First Peoples’ lives and cultures are inextricably connected to the ocean. Their survival has always depended on it. Through the traditional scientific knowledge acquired over generations, they understand its benefits, and also its stormy dangers. Many epic narratives connect with the ocean, including supernatural beings that live beneath the sea in parallel worlds to the humans.

Hebron is a five minute video that shares a conversation between the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Natan Obed, and non-Indigenous Canadian, Shaun Majumder, both participants on Leg 6 of Canada C3, about the history of Hebron and the impact of relocation and displacement on Inuit culture and homelands. 

A small Indigenous town in central Guatemala is using their traditional roots as inspiration towards their no-plastic policy. If you have access to Facebook check out the AJ+ link here

Off the Kenyan coast, locals are blending traditional boat-making with flip flops washed ashore. Watch the video below for more. 

For this activity, your will post a discussion thread and post in the Gallery. If you would like to post an individual response to the assignment, you are welcome to do so!


Sense of place concerns your home and region, feelings about land and community, kindred species, community niches, and sacred places. To have a sense of place is to merge your personal geography with the ecological landscape, incorporate maps of memory with how you dwell in a bioregion.

1) Start by discussing the following questions:

  • What is a place?
  • What are some ways in which people experience place?
  • How can you gain a sense of place in your local environment?
  • How can you share your observations and ideas about living things in your environment to help someone else learn about place?


1) Create a map of the physical space in which you live. How broad or how specific you define that place is up to you (e.g. it could be your city, your home, etc.). You may interpret the map how you wish. For example: drawing a picture, creating a mind map, or putting together a photo collage all work well. Consider the following when creating your map:

      • What are the waters sources near you? How are those connected to each other? As you do this think about how this water is connected to your own life.
      • Water shapes the land around it. What are the land forms in your place? How does the water interact with them
      • Water can also come from many different places: oceans, lakes, rivers, wells, springs, groundwater, ice, and weather.
      • How does the water move through your place? Does it run through a river, or evaporate and fall in the water cycle

2) Share your map in the Gallery, along with a description of your creation process. How did you interpret the map? Once in the Gallerycomment on 2 other students’ maps and how you interpreted their map. 

  • How do you view this new place? 
  • What connections do you see the water making in this person’s life?

1) With your class, discuss the following:

  • How has your view and understanding of place changed during this assignment?
  • What did you notice about your place that you were not aware of before?
  • Did you discover anything that threatens your place? How does plastics and microplastics affect the place where you live?
  • What solutions do you see for protecting your place? What solutions could you create and implement to make an impact on your place?

2) Have ONE REPRESENTATIVE from your group post on the Discussion ForumEVERYONE in the group is then encouraged to comment on other posts to stimulate the dialogue about what makes a place.

Discussion posts and comments you post are what will be used in the final paper! Be are clear, respectful and engaged in your responses as well as while commenting on others. Don't forget to ask questions!

Learning Objectives

Additional Video Resources:

This three minute video highlights some of the changes that have developed in Cambridge Bay over the past 10 years, including: an increasing tourism industry, a world class research station and plans for increased shipping in the area.

First Peoples have always monitored their environments to track changes. Continual observation of the local ecosystem is inherent in First Peoples’ scientific practices. Today coastal First Nations communities work with scientists to monitor the well being of their oceans and lands using traditional knowledge and contemporary technology. Many coastal First Nations communities have watchmen and stewardship projects that monitor important land and marine resources in their territories, as well as working to protect them. 

Thank you https://canadac3.ca/en/digital-classroom/ and http://www.fnesc.ca/resources/ for inspiring these resources

Questions to consider - choose 2-3 questions from the list below to answer.

  1. Increased tourism, research, and shipping are three examples of increased activity in Cambridge Bay that are explored in this video. What are your thoughts about these changes in the community and in the Canadian north? Are these changes good?
  2. Do these changes in the north affect Canadians living in the south?
  3. Can two societies coexist and equally thrive?
  4. In the present, with 50% of Canada’s coastline and 35% of Canada’s landmass located within protected Inuit homelands, explore what this means in terms of the future of Canada’s Environment, Economy, and Society & Culture?
    • Visual Tool: Create a three-circle venn diagram to use a systems-thinking lens, and as a group, brainstorm any ideas, questions, concerns or revelations that you have for each circle.
  5. Natan suggests “social equity should be for all Canadians.” What does this mean to you?
  6. How do Inuit efforts to co-manage over a ⅓ of Canada’s landmass and to ensure cultural thrivability over the next 150 years relate to you and your life?
  7. How can we apply First Peoples’ scientific knowledge about the marine ecosystem to protect it in the future?
  8. In what ways are we all responsible for the well being of the ocean?

Continue to 2B. OCT 04 - Streams and Rivers »

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