The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

A pilot flies a Cornell, one of the many types of planes that pilots were taught to fly, over Lethbridge, Alberta.

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was designed Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia in 1939 and fully implemented in 1940. Its purpose was to handle all of the Allies’ air training programs within Canada. This included training programs for pilots, navigators, bomb aimers, wireless operators, air gunners, and flight engineers. More than 130 000 people in total were trained at these bases across Canada from 1940-1945. This is one of Canada’s greatest contributions to the Second World War. A total of 231 sites were stationed all across Canada in every province except Newfoundland that would train these aircrew. Canada funded the majority of these training operations, spending $1.6 billion dollars of the $2.2 billion total (unadjusted for inflation). This was a massive amount and went way over the proposed $600 million total budget. However it was necessary to focus many of Canada’s resources on this project as the Allies needed lots of trained aircrew.

At the time, this program changed Canadian social, political and economic values and norms, not just because it was a vast enough project that happened to cover all of these, but because it both was changed by these ideas, and changed the idea of Canadian identity afterwards. The first key factor going into this was the massive amount of money spent. This is an economic factor, as it caused a lot of tax dollars, however it also was a political decision. When the plan went over budget, Canada’s government paid more than a billion dollars than the original budget. This was a big political decision and because of this, we can infer something about how the Canadian government valued an indirect war effort like training all of the Allies aircrew. This is a very Laurier like decision, as it focuses on not putting Canada right in the action, but rather helps their allies in a support role. This decision, also changed a lot of the Canadian populations opinion on Canada at the time for the better; a social change happened. People were proud that Canada was helping with the war effort and when the plan first launched, many Canadians visited the new airbases and held community celebrations in support. Some of the more extravagant celebrations such as the one at Regina included a marching band, an afternoon of sports, and a roast beef dinner. This shows the support that Canadians had for this new program.

Australian pilots make snowballs at a training base in Ottawa, Ontario.

This program furthered Canada’s autonomy by showing that Canada was able to fight in the war in their own way; through the support of troops overseas. The many training bases across Canada were celebrated by the Canadian citizens. The approach Canada took by focusing many of their resources on this project is different than most other countries. Canada wanted to help and be involved in the conflict, but wasn’t ready to send out massive amount of troops (they still sent some) overseas. They rather played a big support role that furthered their autonomy. Canada wasn’t reliant on other countries during this war, other countries were reliant on on Canada. This was a political autonomy given to Canada, as this left us more free to make political decisions and gave us bargaining power when making them.

 

A resident of St. Catherine, Ontario helps by refueling a plane at a training base.

However, this political autonomy didn’t necessarily translate to a changed social autonomy. Canadians were very supportive of this program, however they were less autonomous due to it. When being supportive of the program, they were so focused on it that they didn’t change their initial supportive opinions of the plan over the years of World War 2. Because of the high stakes and pressure put on most people during World War 2, they were quick to support new movements like the British Air Training program, but didn’t reflect on changing their opinions. This limited their social autonomy, however, it was beneficial due to the war times requiring a lot of support from everyone.

Venn Diagram

Trudeau Similarities Laurier
  • Trudeau focuses on impacting individual lives for the better through open negotiation. He aims for everyone’s individual happiness to go up and caters to the individual.
  • Trudeau has many promises to fulfill and has set expectations.
    • His political platform
    • Why people voted him in
    • Previous prime ministers
  • Feminist and LGBTQ+ supporter
  • They both aim to change Canada through “sunny ways” or open negotiation.
  • Both strand to represent all Canadians
    • Laurier – Manitoba Schools Question, Naval Services Act
    • Trudeau – immigration / indigenous peoples rights
  • Military “peacekeeping” tactics: Do not directly impact, but still support efforts:
    • Laurier – Boer War
    • Trudeau – removing fighter jets from Syria
  • Leader of the Liberal party
  • Support free trade with USA
  • Laurier focuses on impacting Canadian lives as a whole for the better through open negotiation. He aims for the total net happiness to go up.
  • Laurier has free reign as noone know what Canada should be.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/ns-prof-trudeau-sunny-ways-1.3280693

https://trudeaumetre.polimeter.org/

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/sir-wilfrid-laurier/#

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/04/the-canada-experiment-is-this-the-worlds-first-postnational-country

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/laurier-the-first-canadian-feature/

Confederation DOL

I, Joseph Howe believe that is is in Nova Scotia’s best interests to not join the new Canadian Confederation.

Currently, Nova Scotia is one of the furthest east colonies. This means we can use international trading exports, as well as imports easily. One of our main economic driving forces right now is that of trade. By joining the new Canadian Confederation, we would lose our autonomy with our trades and forfeit many of the benefits of being independent to the Confederation. By remaining as our own independent colony, we are able to have a stronger and more independent economy.

Another motive to staying independent is that our trade and economic power will be lowered in the following years, and will not be recovered. We will end up supporting much of the rest of Canada when it comes to international imports and exports. Because of this international trade, new transportation systems and infrastructure will have to be implemented within Nova Scotia to connect it with the rest of Canada. This will take a heavy toll on us in the following years, as we will have to finance many of these projects. As well, we may never see the benefits of these projects if all the economic gains get lost to the rest of Canada and do not remain in Nova Scotia.

In addition, with the newly proposed “rep by pop” system, the other colonies of Canada will be making many of the decisions for Nova Scotia. Our current population of around 350 000 means that we have very little say in the decisions that affect us as well as the rest of Canada. By having little say, there is barely any benefit to us joining confederation in the first place.

Through a combination of our trades being less profitable, being forced to cater to the rest of Canada’s economic gains as well as having no say in the government, thus negating any benefits to joining, I can safely say that we should not join the Canadian confederation.

Joseph Howe

Sources:

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/joseph-howe/

https://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/confederation/023001-4000.36-e.html

http://www.canadahistoryproject.ca/1867/1867-05-howe.html

 

In depth #6

I am genuinely happy with what I have done over the past four months. I have managed to learn a lot more about event photography and some unique skills I never thought I would have learned. I learned about what to keep in mind as a photographer on events, how to work with different clients and what I need to do to stay relevant. Since I have accumulated all this knowledge since January, I will need to find an appropriate way to display it and show my work to others. The way I have decided to do this is through a learning center, however from nearly two years of my TALONS experience, I know exactly what I will be doing to make my learning centre effective. Seeing multiple learning centres from previous eminents and In-Depths, I have come to the conclusion that the most important part of any learning centre is the TALONS learner themselves. It is best to have a learning centre that highlights some of the best parts as conversation starters, then have the TALONS learner expand and provide more insight; this is better than having a lot of writing and descriptions of your work. I plan on showcasing my photos for people to look at, as well as having my camera and lenses for people to try out to see what it is like to be an event photographer. As In-Depth night itself is an event, I can use it as a prime example of what to look for when taking photos (Which angles, how to get faces etc.). Showing people what I have been doing through first hand experience, in my opinion, is the best way for them to grasp what I have to do.

James Cameron

“Cameron’s great-great-great-grandfather, a schoolteacher, migrated from Balquhidder, Scotland, to Canada in 1825. ‘He was a bit of a free thinker. He didn’t like the king,’ “

This quote doesn’t directly relate to James Cameron, but relates to how Canada’s identity was founded. It intrigued me as it showed that even the most influential Canadians have roots to immigration. This is a common theme in Canada right now, where we are accepting of immigrants. Within the lower mainland specifically, there are people of many diverse ethnic background stemming from immigration. This quote also gives insight into why people immigrated to Canada; often people escape to Canada to start anew or to have the ability to express themselves freely.

 

 

” ‘You were either in science or you were in the arts. But I was interested in both.’ His dream was to write a science-fiction novel and illustrate it.”

This quote relates to when James Cameron was a teenager and was starting to think of what he wanted to be when he was growing up. This quote intrigued me as this is from 50 years ago, and things have only changed slightly since. In most universities, they still have two distinct divisions: arts, and science. This quote shows how James Cameron didn’t want to follow what other people had laid out for him and that he wanted to forge his own future. This relates to the idea of Canada being a post-national state by not having specific rules for individuals to conform to. Our post-nationalism is one of having multiple identities, and by going against the norm, Cameron forged his own.

 

“He didn’t tell Corman he hadn’t actually done any front projection before. ‘I didn’t lie, I just didn’t tell the whole truth […] I had a tremendous amount of theory and zero practical experience.’ “

This quote stood out to me as it sounds like something I would totally do. This refers to Cameron working on set of “Battle Beyond the Stars”, one of his first films. Him volunteering himself for something that he hasn’t had a whole lot of first hand experience isn’t necessarily a negative thing as he had been passionately learning and researching how to do front projections. This sheds light on another aspect of Canadian identity of how passion for something leads to results. By passionaly learning, Cameron was ready to produce a new film.

 

“He had none of the burdens of studio or media expectations that hung over his later shoots, nor the responsibilities of massive budgets, army-sized crews, and groundbreaking technologies. ‘At that point he wasn’t James Cameron,’ Biehn says. ‘He was just Jim, and there was a great joy in him when he was making that movie.’ “

This quote spoke to me as it reminds me of myself and how often times I try to find my own solutions independently, but I find my joy in the process and not necessarily the product. For example, I enjoy photography, but I enjoy doing it more than seeing the final product. This quote relates to Canadian identity as it shows the strong will of Canadians and how they will find their own way independently. Being a Canadian now means that you have the freedom to do what you want. This is a catalyst for people working on their own passion project independently like Jim.

 

“To Cameron, diving the Titanic wreck was paramount, making a movie incidental. Wreck diving had been a passion of his for years—he loved the romance and the mystery of these human tragedies buried under the sea. And this was the chance to dive the Mount Everest of shipwrecks. ‘I’m an explorer at heart, a filmmaker by trade,’ he says. ‘There is nothing that Hollywood can offer more tantalizing or powerful than the chance to explore a place nobody has ever seen.’ “

This quote intrigued me as it shows me how Cameron was able to use his passion to fuel himself to get something done that is only partially related; he used his passion of exploration to create meaningful films. This relates to Canadian identity as it shows us that we have the freedom to accomplish what we want and are only limited by ourselves. By having this freedom, Cameron was able to merge passion and creatition into one art, one that he made for himself to get enjoyment out of, similar to the quote above.

 

Theme:

A theme I picked up from reading this book and analyzing quotes is that you don’t need to follow the norm to be successful, often times you can be successful of your own accord. This theme is prevalent with James Cameron’s story of how he didn’t follow what other people told him and created his own success from his own means.

John A. MacMemorialized

Nathan

Mr. Morris

English

April 18, 2018


How do the values of the past translate to the values of the present, and therefore our current actions? Through judging history’s values, statements about society’s current beliefs translate to our actions. One example of this is the choices of who society remembers as heroes of the past; society remembers those that had huge positive impacts to our current society. Memorials, school names, street names—everything is there to remember our past. A popularily talked about memorialization within Canada is that of Sir John A. Macdonald: a prominent historical Canadian remembered as the father of our confederation and the one that united Canada. However upon further investigation and deeper historical analysis, John A. Macdonald proves to not always be the saint he is made out to be. However, given that some of his values are unreflective of our current beliefs and views, society cannot necessarily judge him based on the present. Based on his role in unifying the Canadian Government and creating the Canadian Pacific Railway, Macdonald’s name and likeness should kept in the public sphere.


John A. Macdonald proposed and implemented a system in which there would be a central, unified government, with authority over the provincial government, allowing for both a more cohesive country and nation that was the new formed Canada. John A. Macdonald said, “if we wish to have one system of government, and to establish a commercial union […] if we wish to be able to afford to each other the means of mutual defence and support against aggression and attack—this can only be obtained by a union of some kind between the scattered and weak boundaries composing the British North American Provinces”(John A. Macdonald, ) This belief of unifying Canada through a single government that would connect people from across the country is still shared by Canadians. Our current prime minister, Justin Trudeau, expressed that Canada is becoming a “post national state [and one with] no core identity, no mainstream [, however it is one of] shared values – openness, respect, compassion, willingness to work hard, to be there for each other, to search for equality and justice”(Trudeau, 2015). One of the things that makes up the zeitgeist of Canadian identity is that of differing values that come together to form no such common identity, but rather a difference of values all being capable of expression; John A. Macdonald expressed his belief of this by trying to unite Canada through connections. His commitment to uniting Canada is one of great significance. Memorializing his significance at the time happened through memorials, and naming of buildings and streets. Society must recognize his accomplishments by keeping his name in the public sphere, remembering it as it was in the past. Society does this for other Canadian heros such as Terry Fox so why should John A. Macdonald be any different?


It appears there is a flipside to John A. Macdonald however. He is not completely the hero his likeness within the public sphere would make the population think. For constructing the ever so critical railway of the Canadian Pacific, he brought in Chinese workers, but upon completion, “he passed laws to exclude people of Chinese origin“(Olivier, 2017). These laws included discriminatory policies such as the high head taxes against the Chinese. However, This contrast between our current values and that of the past do not mean John A. Macdonald should be excluded from the public sphere altogether. John A. Macdonald’s reasoning for this was that “on the whole, it is considered not advantageous to the country that the Chinese should come and settle in Canada”(John A. Macdonald, 1887). This shows that John A. Macdonald genuinely believed the country would be better off without the Chinese in Canada. Based on our current values, this is unacceptable, but based on the thinking of the past, it was okay. In addition, John A. Macdonald brought the Chinese to Canada in the first place to work on the Canadian Pacific Railway, which was a crucial component to the unification of Canada at the time.


Through seeing how our values can change over time, it is clear that society cannot judge John A. Macdonald with our current values. By keeping him in the public sphere, society acknowledges that what he did at the time was right and benefits us today. When one considers Macdonald’s work in unifying Canada and the long-term effects of his dedication, it is clear that he is a man of great importance and value to our history, hence he should stay in the public sphere. Despite his mixed values, he was doing the best he could at the time. By taking down his name and likeness within the public sphere, would have to do so for all historical memorializations, as our values will eventually stray from memorialized them for in the first place. Only by keeping these memorializations can we remember the past and the positive impacts these people had based on the values of the past.
Olivier, Annabelle. “Activists Deface Statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Downtown Montreal.” Global News, 12 Nov. 2017, globalnews.ca/news/3857052/activists-deface-statue-of-sir-john-a-macdonald-in-downtown-montreal/.

In Depth Week 11

Since my last blog post, I only took photos at a few more events and they were SlamJam and a new car release at a dealership. I’m not going to touch on SlamJam in this post a lot as I have already taken many photos at similar events such as Coffee House and Talent Show. The new car release was very different as it was a social event with a large crowd of invited guests. At this event, I was was mostly aiming for getting people interactions, however Mark also showed me some new things I should keep in mind. One of the biggest ones is getting third party companies that are also brought on by the event host’s in photos. This includes things like the lighting, DJ, catering companies and sponsored products. He explained how if you also take photos of these companies, you can send them to those companies as well as your main client. This builds a strong relationship between the photographer and the other companies, so if they happen to go to other events, they are able to refer you, or can use you as a photographer if they have their own events. When taking these photos, he said the main thing is to get the logos as well as their product.

This is an example of a shot I took with sponsored products in them.

I had a lot of fun at this event and it was really nice to get to sneak behind the curtains of where the catering company was(and maybe have a bit of food) and see the way many different parties are hired for events.

 

As for the questions by Ms. Mulder, here they are:

  1. What kinds of learning opportunities does the mentor provide to expose you to new learning?

My mentor gives me a lot of hands on experience and teaches my through trial and error. Event photography is not something easy to learn in a classroom setting so we find it best to get a lot of experience. Hands on experience also gives me a lot of chances to try and see what works for myself, and a quick way for me to teach myself.

  1. What kinds of learning opportunities exist to reinforce new learning?

My mentor has me go through my photos and review them with him afterwards, where we talk about what I have learned and how I can improve both what I have learned as well as new approaches in the future. By going through the photos, it reinforces a lot of things I have learned before and makes myself more aware for the future of what I need to do.

  1. What kinds of opportunities exist that might accelerate learning?

Having more opportunities as well as varied types of opportunities to take photos at would allow myself to learn faster as I would get a larger variety of things I could try and do. A lot of what I am doing now with photography is very diverse, but having more settings would accelerate my learning.

  1. When you get together what do you talk about?

We go over my photos together and review what I’ve done and how I can improve. We discuss specifics such as different compositions as well as facial expressions to capture. We also plan out future event that I can shadow him at.

  1. What is going particularly well in your mentoring relationship right now?

The fact that we are able to communicate with each other so easily and well when we are not meeting in person. I text him fairly often with our scheduled dates and availability, and he is great at communicating back fast. We also use a shared iCloud Calendar where we can both see our meetings.

  1. What are you learning about one another?

We are learning about our strengths and weaknesses. Mark is becoming more understanding of what i do well and what I need to improve on, but at the same time, I am also learning about his strengths and weaknesses. One of his strengths is that he is capable of listening around for human interaction and laughs and able to pinpoint it super fast to take a quick photo. One of his weaknesses relates to his strengths and that is his tendency to focus on people and the main event but miss smaller details of the venue itself. That is why he uses a second shooter most of the time, but if he doesn’t have one, he will have to remember himself.

Canada’s Identity DOL

Disclaimer: I discuss a variety of topics related to racist and discriminatory policies in the late 1800s from the perspective of people at the time and how they justified it. If you are not comfortable with this, please refrain from reading my document of learning.

What factors did caused Canada to overlook the working conditions for Chinese immigrants of the Canadian Pacific Railway construction?

It is not secret that the Chinese immigrants brought to build the Canadian Pacific Railway suffered from harsh working conditions. They often times were put in dangerous working conditions with minimal safety equipment. However, this is imparting our current values and beliefs upon the past, and it would be unfair to do so without comparing these working conditions to other construction jobs at the time. If the working conditions were different, there could be a variety of reasons, but one prevalent one would be valuing the completion of the CPR and it‘s economic value over that of the working conditions. So how did Canada overlook the working conditions for Chinese immigrants of the CPR construction due to the economic benefits of completing it faster?

A group of Chinese workers working on the CPR.

The working conditions of the CPR would astonish today’s society and not be acceptable. They often had to do dangerous jobs with minimal safety equipment such as using dynamite to make tunnels. The workers worked from sunrise to sunset everyday with only three breaks during the day; most of them ended up being tired out. In addition to this, they were unable to eat any nutritious food due to having to pay for their own food on a meager wage of $1-$1.5 a day, while also paying for lodging and tools. Because of these conditions, 2 workers died for every mile of track laid. However, the conditions didn’t need to be this way. These conditions mostly applied to the Chinese immigrants that came for work, but there were also Caucasian workers working at the same time. In stark opposition to the previous working conditions, the Caucasian workers were paid $1.50-$2.50 a day and also were supplied with food, tools, and lodging, while also not being subjected to more dangerous jobs such as demolition. This shows that Canada at the time was able to support the Chinese workers more but just chose not to. From an ethical standpoint, we are able to see the injustice and discrimination policies at the time, and conclude that the working conditions for Chinese immigrants were unfair and could be prevented.

A sign advertising for workers.

At this time in history, there were many discriminatory policies in place against immigrants. The construction of the CPR demonstrates this in many ways. At the time, it was considered okay for the Chinese workers to be paid less and have more dangerous conditions. This was justified in many ways by many people at the time, and these justifications would not be okay in today’s society, but were acceptable at the time. Based on the fact that better working conditions were able to be achieved, but weren’t given to Chinese immigrants, it can infer that one of these justifications was brought by thinking about them being “disposable” and “inferior”. This is proven by the fact that they were brought over to Canada with the promise of work, but were not brought back to China, despite being promised. They were seen as a workforce and nothing else. On the other hand, the Caucasian workers were seen as more valuable and as people, not a workforce. Based on current society’s standards, this would be completely unacceptable, but at the time it was seen as simply a cost cutting measure. Another justification was the thought of getting the railway done faster. If the railway could be completed, it would bring a lot of economic benefits to the newly formed Canada in an easy mean of transportation to the pacific coast. Some of the harsh work such as unsafe dynamite procedures as well and long work hours less was simply because the railway was wanted to get done faster.

This treatment of the workers shows what was considered acceptable by Canada at the time. It was unfair and unjustified. Through comparing the working conditions that they faced, we get a deeper understanding of why they were what they were. The two main factors for Canada willing to overlook the terrible working conditions were the fact that they thought it culturally acceptable to do so, as well as valuing the completion of the project over that of the workers. By understanding Canada’s darker past, we are able to both see how much our society’s ideals and values have changed over time, as well as how to prevent something that goes against these values in the future.

Nathan's Blog 2018-03-05 16:48:40

Thousands of people gather at Toronto Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto for the Justice for Tina rally. (Rhiannon Johnson/CBC)

Tina Fontaine is among the thousands of missing and murdered indigenous women that have affected Canada in a severely negative way over the years. She was only 15 years old when she was murdered on August 10th, 2014. This event, as well as many other similar cases, have changed Canada in a lot of ways. For one, it’s biggest impact was that on Canada’s social aspect within itself. On February 27th, 2016, thousand gathered in Toronto at the Justice for Tina rally to call for justice upon the Canadian government. It was a massive gathering with many passionate people participating. This social outcry sparked a political change within the Canadian Government as “her death was a key factor in convincing the Trudeau government to set up a national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls” (Poisson). This resulted in a social organization that started from a political change due to a social outcry. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) (http://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/en/) has aimed to shed light on, and give help to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, as well as the LGBTQ2S community. The MMIWG has also impacted the economy by requiring money from the federal government. So far, they have poured $53.8 million dollars into the program and will reevaluate its budget on November 1st, 2018. The total cost to run this program isn’t small, but is a worthy price to pay in the eyes of those at the rally in Toronto. This foundation and cause of the MMIWG links social, political and economical change all into one timeline. As for the environmental changes and impacts, this whole issue affects it very little. This is because when the social relly was first initiated, it was targeting social issues. These issues led to a political/social change that led to an economic change, however nothing was there to initiate an environmental change. If the initial social rally was targeted towards an environmental issue, then the political change would affect it. Likewise, if the social change had a required environmental change (such as that of creating a bridge or wall) then it would have also affected it. However, neither of these were the case so this issue only affected the social, political and economical change.

This trio of changes has worked towards creating a more coherent Canadian identity. When the Toronto rally first started, it brought together a group of people from many different backgrounds to fight for one cause. This one cause ultimately ended up as the MMIWG. The MMIWG is a federal program and would not be possible if Canada was in a postnational state. If Canada was truly a postnational state, there would be multiple programs that all do similar things to the MMIWG, albeit in slightly different ways, each of which catering to the needs of the different nations. However this is not the case, as we have one unified program that aims to help people from many different supposed “nations”. Because of this, these nations do not truly exist, and the fact that there is only one MMIWG proves that Canada is not yet a postnational state.

In my opinion, there is a great value to define a specific Canadian identity for all of us. In the event described above, it was only through a united Canada that the MMIWG was able to form and protect Canadians. If we had multiple nations, it would be harder for something like this to form due to not having one thing to stand behind. Currently, Canada is trending to a more postnational state as we accept more immigrants and develop more diversity, but this will only happen to a point. As this happens, Canada’s identity will trend to that of one diverse unified population rather than a lot of divided ones due to everyone accepting this change rather than dividing up because of it. This is clearly evident in a place like Gleneagle where there are people of all backgrounds, yet we are able to come together to form one broad identity. This identity of Canada is important as it retains a sense of patriotism in it’s citizens, keeping them invested in the government and its social, political, economical and environmental views. By keeping citizens invested, they are more aware of these issues and more likely to care.

 

Sources:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/thousands-gather-in-memory-of-tina-fontaine-in-toronto-1.4561309

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/raymond-cormier-trial-verdict-tina-fontaine-1.4542319

https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/03/03/toronto-protesters-demand-justice-for-tina-fontaine-and-other-indigenous-girls.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Tina_Fontaine

http://www.macleans.ca/lost-and-broken/

https://globalnews.ca/news/3842726/mmiw-inquiry-has-turned-a-page-will-ask-for-extension-no-later-than-january-commissioner/

http://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/en/faq/

http://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/en/

 

Historical Thinking Questions

How do we know what we do about the past?

I believe this question is the most important question to address in socials this year. The past i defined as everything that has ever happened before us, while history is defined as recorded events that happened before us. Due to these definitions, the past can only be inferred through secondary sources, as anything with a primary source is classified as history. If we want to know more about the past, we must study history and make inferences. In order to make these inferences, we must have a clear understanding how our current knowledge of history came to be, and to do this we must question how we know what we know about the past. Questioning our knowledge allows us to keep in mind how history relates in time, as we have a fuller understanding of the event, as as well as how it was recorded. In addition, by understanding the means of which we learn about history, we are able to understand history itself better. An example of this is learning about Christopher Columbus “discovering” America. When we learn about this story, often times we hear about how great he was, however this is not the case, and we only found out that it was not due to asking questions about our evidence. For the longest time people took the “winners” side of the story as they were the ones that told it, however by questioning the source we were able to find out more evidence about the past that were not history before, and turned it into history. This applies to almost anything we are analyzing in socials this year, as we will gain further knowledge and understanding of events by questioning how we know about them. I believe this is the most important question to have a vibrant and challenging socials experience this year.