Social Studies 20-4: Nationalism in Canada and the World
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Contending Nationalist Loyalties

Activity: When Loyalties Are in Conflict

Formative Assessment

Throughout this suggested activity, you will support students in achieving the following skill that is the focus for assessment:

The following formative assessment opportunity is provided to help students unpack and develop the focus skill for assessment. Feedback prompts are also provided to help students enhance their demonstration of the focus skill for this activity. Formative assessment support is not intended to generate a grade or score.

Formative Assessment: Assessment for Learning Opportunity

Describe Contending Nationalist Loyalties

Involve students in peer coaching so they can provide and receive feedback about the perceptiveness of their descriptions of contending nationalist loyalties in Canada. Use the feedback prompts below to provide structure in guiding students through this formative assessment opportunity.

Feedback Prompts:

  • Have I described the contending nationalist loyalties from the perspective of each group?
  • Have I explained the reasons why each group holds a specific nationalist view?

These feedback prompts can be posted on an interactive white board or bulletin board, or incorporated into a feedback tool that can be copied for student use. Samples of tools created for a similar skill within a different formative assessment context may be found in the Social Studies 20-4 Formative Assessment Summary PDF.

Linking to the Summative Assessment Task

  • As students describe contending nationalist loyalties through the suggested activity When Loyalties Are in Conflict, they will have completed the first portion of the Summative Assessment Task: Contending Nationalist Loyalties Word.
  • Students should consult the assessment task and the assessment task rubric Word to ensure that they have provided the information required.
  • Encourage students to use the feedback received during the formative assessment opportunity to make enhancements to their work in progress.
  • If necessary, continue to use the feedback prompts from the formative assessment opportunity to coach students toward completion of a quality product.

Students select an example of contending nationalist loyalties and describe how a selected loyalty can be at odds with Canadian nationalism.

Instructional Support

A number of possible tasks are provided in this suggested activity. It is not intended that you work through all of the tasks, but rather select those tasks and resources that will best meet the learning needs of your students. The focus should be on ensuring that students have the background and support to be successful with the skill that is the focus for assessment (describe contending nationalist loyalties).

Setting the Context for Learning

  • Have students imagine that they are Edmontonians who cheer for the Calgary Flames (or another scenario that fits the context of the community). Ask students to consider the following:
    • What it would feel like to be a Flames fan within a sea of Oilers fans?
    • Are there still places where you would feel like you belong to the Edmonton community?
    • Can you live in Edmonton and have contending loyalties about sports teams?
  • Share with students that while sports teams are not necessarily examples of nationalist loyalties, they can help us to think about the concepts of loyalty and conflict and to consider our own loyalties or connections to groups as part of our identities.
  • As the discussion about sports teams concludes, ask students to think about situations in their own lives where they may have contending loyalties, situations where their allegiance is at odds with that of the wider community.
  • Let the students know that as they work through their inquiry over the next several classes, they will be working on the skills that they need in order to be successful with the Summative Assessment Task: Contending Nationalist Loyalties Word.
  • Share the assessment task and the assessment task rubric Word with students. Point out the different parts of the task, and let students know that they will be working on the various parts of the task as the classes proceed.
  • The language of the assessment task rubric is clarified through the formative assessment opportunities provided for each suggested activity. The boldfaced descriptive words in the rubric are also clarified in the Summative Assessment Task Rubric Glossary PDF.

Describe Contending Nationalist Loyalties

  • As students select an example of contending nationalist loyalties to examine for the summative assessment task, encourage them to apply their own experiences to this assessment opportunity. For example, the listed examples of contending loyalties may include tensions that students experience in their own lives; other students may wish to select an example of contending nationalist loyalties that they have witnessed or that they are personally interested in.
  • Engage students in a class discussion surrounding the concepts of historical versus contemporary perspectives, as well as what unity and divisiveness mean in relation to nationalism. After the discussion, show students a video such as The Experimental Eskimos or another video that explores identity and nationalism. Following the video, discuss with students the implications of multiculturalism and contending loyalties.
  • Help students understand the distinction between contending loyalties and contending nationalist loyalties. There are many situations where contending loyalties occur in Canada, such as cheering for sports teams or disagreeing with the government over laws. Contending nationalist loyalties are on a much broader scale. For example, during the Second World War, the Canadian government feared that Japanese Canadians would have contending nationalist loyalties between their homeland of Canada and their former homeland of Japan; as a result, the government ordered Japanese Canadians into internment camps.
  • Share examples with students from current events about contending nationalist loyalties. For example, discuss the ongoing conflict in the Middle East over Israel. The contending nationalist loyalties come from both Israelis and Palestinians believing they have a legitimate claim to the same piece of land; their nationalist loyalties for that land are at odds and they are using armed conflict to attempt to resolve those contending nationalist loyalties. Similarly in Rwanda, the contending nationalist loyalties of the Hutus and Tutsis resulted in genocide.
  • Connect the international examples to examples of contending nationalist loyalties in Canada. Ask students to brainstorm where nations exist within the nation–state of Canada. Students may suggest various First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Québécois experiences. Some examples of contending nationalism in Canada include the following:
    • desire by the Iroquois Confederacy to issue their own passports, the Métis Nation's definition of membership in the Métis Nation 
    • writings of Alootook Ipellie, reflecting on his feelings as an Inuit Canadian
    • support in Québec for sovereignist parties; i.e., Parti Québécois and Bloc Québécois and the 1980 and 1995 referendums.
  • Prompt students to articulate how the idea of "nations within a nation" can create contending nationalist loyalties.
  • As students begin to work on completing the first part of the summative assessment task, describe contending nationalist loyalties, prompt students to select an example of contending nationalist loyalties in Canada. To fully understand the contending nationalist loyalties they have selected, students will need to conduct some research to understand the context of the contending loyalties.
  • For students who are struggling, assist them by accessing appropriate resources as required.
  • Select an example of contending nationalist loyalties from current events. Model for students how to identify and describe the contending nationalist loyalties. Share with students that contending nationalist loyalties are perspectives, and students need to identify how each group views an issue differently.

Suggested Supporting Resources

Textbook References

Student Basic Resource—McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Understanding Nationalism:

  • Pages 62–63 Reconciling Nationalist Loyalties
  • Pages 64–72 How Do Nationalist Loyalties Shape People's Choices?
  • Pages 74–75 Québécois Nationalism Show more
  • Page 75, Figure 3-16: Percentage of Population Speaking French at Home, 1971 and 2001
  • Pages 77–80 How Have People Reconciled Contending Nationalist Loyalties?
  • Pages 84–85 Reconciling Nationalist and Non-Nationalist Loyalties
  • Pages 86–88 What Are Non-Nationalist Loyalties?
  • Pages 96–100 How Have People Reconciled Nationalist and Non-Nationalist Loyalties?
  • Page 344, Figure 15-19: English–French Bilingualism in Canada, 1996–2006

Teaching Resource—McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Understanding Nationalism:

  • Reproducible 1.3.1 Choosing among Loyalties
  • Reproducible 1.3.2 Affirming Nationalist Loyalties
  • Reproducible 1.3.3 Protecting Language and Culture in Québec Show more
  • Reproducible 1.3.4 Voices
  • Reproducible 1.4.1 My Nationalist and Non-Nationalist Loyalties
  • Reproducible 1.4.3 Reconciling Nationalist and Non-Nationalist Loyalties

Web Resources

Web Links for Online Sources:


Critical Challenges: