Teaching Students About the Northwest Territories: Engaging Young Minds in Canada’s North


The Northwest Territories (NWT) is a vast, remote, and exciting region of Canada that is rich in history, culture, and natural resources. Teaching students about this fascinating part of the world not only broadens their horizons but also expands their understanding of the nation’s diverse geography and indigenous heritage.

Below are several strategies for educators to introduce the unique characteristics of the Northwest Territories into the classroom and inspire students’ curiosity in this captivating Canadian region.

1 .Integrating Indigenous Perspectives

Given the strong presence of indigenous communities in NWT, it is essential to incorporate indigenous perspectives while teaching about the region. Begin with discussing the Dene, Inuvialuit, and Métis peoples – their languages, cultural practices, and connections to the land. Collaborate with local elders or cultural leaders who can share authentic stories and experiences with students.

2. Exploring Geography

The Northwest Territories covers more than one million square kilometers of diverse geographical features. Introduce students to the taiga forests, tundra landscapes, numerous rivers and lakes, and traditional land use areas in NWT. Use maps or GIS technology for interactive lessons that will engage students in analyzing geographical patterns and identifying key features.

3. Discovering Natural Resources

NWT is abundant in natural resources such as water, timber, minerals, and precious metals. Teach students about how these resources have influenced the economy, environment, and people living in the region. Plan hands-on activities that enable them to understand extraction processes and their impacts on local ecosystems.

4. Investigating History and Politics

Provide an overview of NWT’s history from pre-contact to present-day by examining key events such as European exploration, fur trade expansion, territorial changes over time, and land claims settlements with indigenous peoples. Discuss how these events have shaped political boundaries and governance structures within NWT.

5. Sharing Art, Music, and Literature

Expose students to the unique art, music, and literature of NWT by bringing local artists, musicians, or authors into the classroom or showcasing their works. Share traditional art forms such as carving, beading, and Dene handgames, as well as contemporary expressions that reflect the evolving culture in the region.

6. Celebrating Special Events and Festivals

Introduce students to significant events and celebrations specific to NWT, such as National Indigenous Peoples Day, which highlights indigenous cultures across Canada. Encourage them to participate in local activities or collaborate with other schools in the region to create a shared cultural experience.

7. Field Trips and Virtual Tours

Supplement classroom instruction with field trips to relevant sites within NWT or virtual tours of cultural landmarks and institutions that offer online resources for remote learning. These immersive experiences allow students to explore the region’s unique features firsthand.


Teaching students about the Northwest Territories is an enriching opportunity to incorporate diverse cultural perspectives and interdisciplinary themes into their education. By adopting these strategies, educators can cultivate an appreciation for Canada’s North in young minds while fostering awareness of its importance within our national fabric.

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