UNIT 4: Informational Essay – Contemporary Indigenous Issues

The informational essay – also called a research essay – is an important tool in your English arsenal. It is quite simple: you choose a topic, research and collect information concerning your topic, then present that information in a concise, logical, and intelligently structured fashion. You are essentially becoming an expert on a specific topic and reporting your findings to a general audience.

Once again, you will be expected to present your ideas in the standard 5 paragraph essay format. A short, simple introduction to the 5 paragraph essay format: Intro to 5 Paragraph Essay.  For more detail & some examples check out this link: 5 Paragraph Essay (more detail)

Andy Everson - Idle No More Comox Valley.png

Andy Everson ‘Idle No More’ (Comox Valley)

Activity 1: Choosing a Topic:
It is really important to choose a topic that is not too general. For example, writing a 5 paragraph essay about PLANET EARTH is probably too broad. You could easily write a ‘Game of Thrones’ length essay on Planet Earth. You want a topic you can actually cover in 5 paragraphs. This is a skill in itself, but you’ll get better with practice. Your topic can be anything that relates to contemporary Indigenous issues. You can choose from the list below or, I would love it if you presented your own idea – something you are particularly passionate about.

Fish farming occupations on Vancouver Island
Justin Trudeau’s record on Indigenous issues so far
Decolonizing & Indigenizing Schools
Justin Trudeau’s UN speech concerning Canada’s treatment of its Indigenous peoples
Conditions on reserves across Canada (drinking water, housing, etc)
Education funding for Indigenous peoples in Canada
Acts of Resistance (including but limited to): North Dakota protests, Idle No More, Muskrat Falls, Oka, Ipperwash, etc.
Indigenous Musicians / Rappers
Indigenous actors, politicians, authors, and activists
Treaty Issues / Land rights issues
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
Cultural resurgence in First Nations communities
Issues concerning Indigenous women in Canada
Influential Indigenous women in Canada
Contemporary Métis issues in Canada
Cultural Appropriation

Brian Jungen - Masks

Brian Jungen – Assorted Masks

Activity 2: Informational Essay – Outline
Have you ever started writing an essay and it turned into a sprawling mess that went places you never expected or wanted it to go? In my experience, it really, really helps to have an outline. Once you’ve decided on a topic and cleared it with Rory, your first job is to create an outline using the 5 Paragraph format. This includes:

1) Intro
– ‘hook’ that you start your essay with
– thesis statement (where you tell the reader what your paper is about)
2) Body Paragraph 1
– intro sentence
– point form what your main points are
3) Body Paragraph 2
– intro sentence
– point form what your main points are
4) Body Paragraph 3
– intro sentence
– point form what your main points are
5) Conclusion
– intro sentence
– how you’re ending your essay

*** I always recommend starting by thinking of your 3 MAIN POINTS. What are the 3 central points you’re going to write about? Those will be your 3 body paragraphs. That helps you organize the essay and things tend to fall in place naturally.

exist and resist and indigenize and decolonize2.jpg

Activity 3: 5 Paragraph Essay
Wow, guess what, you’ve already done most of the work! Aren’t outlines amazing??? Now you just fill in the gaps and complete the essay. Make sure to go over the guidelines for 5 paragraph essays and to proofread before submitting. I am happy to give your essay a quick look-through with some suggestions.
*** Requirements for Informational Essay: 3 sources that you CITE in your paper. I do not expect a formal bibliography, but I do want a list of your sources.

Another unit down, holy crap, you’re on fire!