Ottawa Carleton District School Board Metis Murals

Ottawa Carleton District School Board invites Metis Murals Project into their classrooms for Metis story telling, computer graphics and painted hardboards.


In 2008 the Ottawa Carleton District School Board invited the Metis Murals Project into their classrooms. The multimedia project included Metis story telling and the creating of murals using archival images, drawings, collage, computer graphics and painted hardboard.

Have the Metis Mural Project at Your School

Large Scale Murals – Available for All Grades – Your students can design and develop a large scale mural based on the history of Canada – featuring stories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Scottish Fur Traders, the Métis, the Cree, the Orkney Islands, York Factory, Louis Riel, Gabriel Dumont and Chief Poundmaker.

Project Requirements – 5 Day Program – Each project must be a minimum of 5 days (25 hours). Each day is defined as 5 hours of artist-to-student work time. The 25 hours of artist-to-student time can be split up and extended over more than 5 days as long as the time is spent working with the same group of learners.



  • photocopy 10 ARCHIVAL IMAGES per student
  • 1 scissors for each student
  • 3 – 17×11 construction paper for each student
  • glue sticks for each student
  • 500 sheets of  8.5X11 white paper
  • pencils for each student
  • 4’X8’ hardboard
  • gesso to prime the surface of each hardboard
  • 5 TUBS of non toxic acrylic paint (yellow, blue, red, white, green
  • 10 carpenters pencils for students (sturdy graphite pencils to mark design onto primered hardboard
  • 20 paints brushes that vary in size to paint hardboard.
  • 1 mercator projector


Day 1 – Research + Design Workshops (5 hour)

First Period. Hand-out photocopies. talk to student about the 5 day mural project. Give a 50 minute PowerPoint presentation The following topics are included in the presentation: The importance, in 17th century Europe, of the beaver hat The arrival of Scottish fur traders on the western edge of Hudson’s Bay. York Factory, as a fur trading center. The role of Aboriginal Women in their marriage to the newly arrived fur traders. The Métis as children of the fur trade. The Métis as middlemen in the fur trade The importance of pemmican in the new economy The Métis invention of the York Boat and the Red River Cart  The development of the Métis buffalo hunt. The development of Métis Clothing. The development of Métis Spirituality. The expansion of Canada into the northwest in 1869. The expansion of the transcontinental railway system westward. The movement of new Canadians into traditional Métis settlements. The battle of Duck Lake Saskatchewan, the site of the 1885 Northwest Rebellion. The trial of Louis Riel.

Period 2 + 3 The students break into groups to create collages from the ARCHIVAL IMAGES of Canada (First Nations, Metis, Fur Traders) ACTIVITY – develop collage art made from photocopies of archival images of Aboriginal people. Students will cut out archival images and glue them onto the construction paper in order to make a collage.

Period 4 + 5  ACTIVITY Develop drawings based on collage artworks. AS well student will opportunity to view videos, and create cartoons if they so desire. Students will at end of session present work infront of the class and group will vote as to who’s work gets made into a mural. Gesso the hardboard in preparation for the painting of the mural.

Day 2 – Mural Layout Workshop (5 hour)

ACTIVITY ( 5 Hours) Beak students onto groups, assigned to trace the selected design onto the hardboard. Project selected artwork onto 4X8 sheet of hardboard, and draw projected image onto hard board with pencils. Check work from a distance. Get feedback on the look of the image Make adjustments as required

Day 3 + 4 – Mural Painting Workshop (5 hours/day)

ACTIVITY ( 5 Hours/day) Move hardboard onto the floor and paint mural with acrylic paints onto hardboard. Clean up with water.

Day 5 – Mural Painting Workshop (5 hours/day)

ACTIVITY ( 5 Hours)  Finish painting murals on hardboards.  Review finished work and wrap-up project. Clean up with water.


Professional Development – “A valuable professional development opportunity that enabled me to develop new skills and approaches.”

Engages Students – “Graham was able to engage students who are not normally engaged, especially those with autism and developmental delays – Graham was highly successful in fine tuning his activities to the needs of the students in his approach to teaching visual arts. He also interacted with staff and students in a professional and caring manner. Graham’s interest in the youth and the topics he covered provided a rich artistic learning experience for our students.”

A Fresh Approach to History and Art – “I saw new tactics in the classroom, I saw what my kids were capable of – Graham did an excellent job directing and supporting the students. Thank you so much, this program was amazing!”

Aboriginal Peoples and the Fur Trade – “ The students were motivated by Graham’s media presentation on the historic Canadian fur trade and his approach to designing images from this period through the use of collage, hand drawings and paintings, he supported me to meet specific learning outcomes outlined in the arts curriculum, knowledge of elements, creative work and critical thinking, he created an additional opportunity for learners to collaborate, cooperate and celebrate their talents and each other – extremely effective, a huge sense of accomplishment for students and staff. I love the long term results!”

Ottawa Carleton School Board, Human Rights

Aboriginal Human Rights Art Seminar 2007 in collaboration with the United Nations and Amnesty International at Ottawa Carleton District School Board.


During March 2007,  Graham Thompson in collaboration with the United Nations and Amnesty International, conducted an Aboriginal Human Rights Art Seminar at the Ottawa Carleton District School Board of Ottawa Canada

By illustrating the spiritual connection Aboriginal People have to the Earth, Thompson in conjunction with speakers from the UN and Amnesty International, worked with students to create Aboriginal Human Rights themed paintings and drawings based on Medicine Wheel principals and Archival images of Native American life prior to colonization.

Medicine Wheel Beliefs and Principles were discussed using an interactive video based presentation North-South-East-West. The presentation North-South-East-West (NSEW), with accompanying talk, has an introduction that illustrates Ontario’s past, its present day mass media culture, and its technological future.


The main section of NSEW begins in the east where the earth gives birth to a new day, to a new life and to the feeling of deep peace and belongingness. As well the east represents the first challenge in life – the test of survival. The animation celebrates the tiny frail flowers that live another day and open to greet the sun.


The East represents Birth, Sunrise, Spring and the Challenge of Survival

The eastern section is followed by illustrations of the earth’s southern personality. The south brings the heat of the summer, the bloom of adolescence and the quest for a vision. The south represents the time we are given to discover our meaning and the ability to hold the power of this vision as our secret.


The southern section is followed by meditations on the west. The west represents adulthood, autumn and the path of the vision discovered in our youth. In autumn the cool winds of the west signal the end of summer and a time of preparation – an adult time. In this direction or season of life, we learn that the path of our vision is not easy. The difficulties come like thunder clouds, yet they bring rains that “wash away yesterday” and allow us to renew ourselves and continue our work as in adulthood we realize that the sun will set before our path is complete.


The piece completes the cycle of directions, seasons and stages of life in the north. The north represents winter, old age and the wisdom of the path of the vision. It is at this stage that our view of life is simple and uncomplicated, like a landscape where blankets of snow hide the complexities of the terrain. This is the time to have courage to live and embrace the changes of the final stage of life.


The North South East West new media series can be summarized by mapping the geographic and climatic themes onto a matrix as shown below




Old Age

















Hope, Optimism and Belonging

Bloom and Identity

Westerly Winds Bring Clouds

Life Review Like a Snow Covered Forest