Geography Report

For your course project, please consider each of the following four editorials on this webpage:

– the first is by Ken Coates (2022) “Canada’s paternalistic mindset toward supporting Indigenous communities just doesn’t work”;

– an additional piece by Gladu and Coates (2022) “Indigenous resource management guarantees cultural survival, with the benefits passed on to everyone”;

– the third editorial is by Alicia Elliott (2018) “A memo to Canada: Indigenous people are not your incompetent children”; and finally

– the fourth piece is by Jeffrey Simpson (2013) entitled “Too many First Nations people live in a dream palace”.

During the course we will be discussing the environmental, social, political, cultural and economic geographies of the North. The major focus will be on the challenges, contradictions and advantages of incorporating First Nations (FN) and Inuit peoples world views and community objectives into the political-economic agenda of the Canadian state with the additional reality of climate disruption, affecting the North faster and more intensively than any other part of the world.

As you might imagine, historical and modern land claim territories negotiated between the Indigenous peoples of Turtle island and the Canadian Government could well be comprimised by the combined pressures of global politics and environmental change.

With the above in mind, you must incorporate the recommendations and conclusions of the 2015 Conference Board of Canada report “Building a Resilient and Prosperous North” to support or counter the arguments you make in your discussion as well as some of the observations and issues illustrated in the 2015 documentary After the Last River.


The report can be an individual or small group effort (for a group report there can be no more than 3 students working together):

1. Creating a response to one the editorial pieces, arguing for or against their perspective, during which you will develop, through course concepts, materials and your own research efforts, a scenario(s) for Northern sustainability. While you must include in your analysis relevant elements of an ecologically-sustainable system (that is combining environmental, social and economic factors), you can place more emphasize on one element over the others given the focus of your project.

Choosing the first approach could include one of the following:

– an examination of the Indian Act (1886 + +) as it contributes to First Nations’ aspirations for autonomy within, or as equal partners, of the Canadian state;
– considering the factors involved, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of increased Northern development with a focus on a specific region or locality in Canada’s North (think communications, housing, energy and/or food systems;
– Nunavut’s promise of Inuit self-government and political-economic autonomy within the Canadian state;
– compare the advantages of relying on Traditional Ecological Knowledge and/or Western Science and/or the incorporation of both knowledge systems to deal with specific ecological issues;
– argue for or against the merits of the Canadian government’s approach to sustaining Aboriginal communities in the context of climate change adaptation strategies, community planning, or delivering quality and sufficient Social Determinants of Health. Here you should choose a specific Northern locality or your arguments may be too general in nature.

– or another topic area that satisfies the general conditions of the first approach. We can discuss your choices during our in-class workshops.

2. Focus on the implications of ONE of the above editorial pieces by examining a Northern remote community that you can argue is or could be ecologically sustainable, that is environmentally, socially and economically self-sufficient, as well as being politically doable. It would be up to the student(s) to both define and satisfy these conditions. This can be from the First Nations or Inuit perspective living in either a non-wage or wage-based economy or a blend of both, or from the Canadian state’s perspective, but you must focus on a specific geographical locale with its specific ecological characteristics incorporated into your discussion. Bear in mind that the above conditions may not be able to be met given the challenges and pressures of increased economic development, climate change and security concerns in Canada’s North.

Whichever approach or perspective students choose to write about, YOU MUST THINK CRITICALLY! Do not simply parrot back in your reports what you think is the most politically-correct and/or course-based responses to solving the problems and issues faced by Northern peoples and Northern states. THINK!

The major course project, making up 35% of the total course grade, must include the following elements:

…..a title page with student name(s) and ID number(s), course number and the title of your project;.

– the report or project may be submitted in any of the following formats: a powerpoint presentation with NOTHING in the ‘notes’ section; a website; or a written report;

– all content must be properly sourced to a correctly formatted bibliography.

… is very important to attend the project workshop tutorials in order to develop an understanding of the instructor’s expectations concerning the length and substantive nature of your research and writing efforts depending on your topic, the number of people contributing to the project, and the particular format with which you want to use to present your findings.


The final submission MUST include a complete and well formatted bibliography that reflects both your individual or combined research efforts and the approach you have chosen. Reports must reference all secondary information adequately and appropriately to a well formatted bibliography or risk a grade of ‘0’.

And please edit your final submission. You could also lose marks for grammatical errors and these will be deducted after the final tallying of the rubric listed above.

Each student or small student group (no more than three people per report) can select whatever topic they want to explore from the above choices.

Possible formats and suggested lengths of the major report should include…

– report-style – individual approx. 2000 to 2500 words; 2 students approx. 2500 to 3000 words; 3 students approx. 3000 to 3500 words;

– powerpoint – individual approx. 20 slides; 2 students approx. 25 to 30 slides; 3 students approx. 30 to 35 slides;

– website – individual approx. 1500 to 2000 words; 2 students approx. 2500 words; 3 students approx. 3000 words with an easily navigable and well illustrated design.

The method of submission for written and powerpoint reports is through the D2L course shell —> assessments —> assignments —> GEO 605 or CGEO 605 Term Project and submit! Once graded, you will be able to see your evaluation via D2L as well.

For small group projects it is the responsibility of the student who submitted the report to D2L to alert the other members of the group about their grade and evaluation details.

…for websites upload to the D2L course shell a .docx title page with the course name, your name(s), student number(s) and the website address to the D2L course shell —> assessments —> assignments —> GEO 605 or CGEO 605 Term Project and submit! Once graded, you will be able to see your evaluation on the title page document via D2L as well.

For small group websites it is the responsibility of the student who submitted it to D2L to alert the other members of the group about their grade and evaluation details.

All projects must have a title page with all student names and student numbers and course ID. And online projects (ie. websites) must remain online until the end of the Fall 2022 examination period.

REPORT GRADING RUBRIC out of the 35 marks:

10 marks – an introduction describing why you have chosen your editorial piece; a clear indication of what you want to accomplish and where; and the geographical context of your examination, including any constraints and challenges associated with the ecological characteristics of your study area.

5 marks – the quality of the research effort, including the variety and substantive nature of the various resources, and the successful incorporation of one of the four key readings into the description, analysis and final conclusions of the final report.

10 marks – fulfilling the focus and conditions of what you have presented in your introduction, including references to relevant course materials and concepts.

10 marks – a substantive conclusion describing what you feel you have achieved by fulfilling the requirements of the course project, including any course content and/or concepts that contributed (or not!) to your conclusions, and a set of recommendations for future consideration.

Remember that marks will be deducted from the final assessment of the reports for grammatical and spelling errors, sloppy or inappropriate report design, and incorrect or inadequate referencing and bibliographic formatting.

MAJOR considerations for the different submission formats:

For Powerpoint – there must be absolutely no content in the ‘notes’ section; there should be a combination of text-rich and point-form slides and images, and ascribe to all of the same referencing requirements as any written report.

For Websites – once the URL has been submitted for evaluation, there must be no further edits to the submission and the site must be easily navigable and ascribe to all of the same requirements as any written report.

For written reports – all figures should be included in the body of the written report (not placed in an appendix at the end of the essay) and introduced and referred to appropriately in your narrative.

Writing your report in general:

…..refer to any of the available on-line Style Guides so that your referencing and bibliographic formatting are consistent and correct.

…..all essay content that is not your own opinion or your personal observations (that is, all secondary information sources) MUST be sourced in your essay to a bibliography using the same format style as your in-text referencing;

…..try not to include more than two or three (at most) direct citations. The report must be largely written in your own words;

…..and images, charts and maps in your essay must be sequentially numbered (Figure 1, 2…n) and sourced using the same format as you would for your direct citations;

…..DO NOT number the pages of your report or include a table of contents or an abstract;

…..DO include a title page and a complete and properly formatted bibliography;

…..DO proof your report thoroughly for spelling, grammatical, sentence structure and referencing errors before submitting it for evaluation.

…..and if you are working with a small group of students, please upload only ONE submission per group effort.

The projects are due on or before the due date as stipulated on the course outline; submission details will be discussed and posted later in the semester.