of Injustice

THe Elementary
Teacher Resources

During the 1940s, Canada displaced and dispossessed thousands of Japanese Canadians on racial grounds. They lost their homes, farms, businesses, as well as personal, family, and communal possessions. Landscapes of Injustice is dedicated to recovering and grappling with this difficult past.

This site shares lessons and resources designed to help teachers in elementary classrooms teach about this important issue in Canadian history.

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Who is this website for?

A researcher holds a magnifying glass over historical records

Elementary/intermediate teachers
who want to teach about:

  • human rights
  • the use of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
  • the "Historical Thinking thinking Concepts"
  • the internment and dispossession of Japanese Canadians

This website uses the internment and dispossession of Japanese Canadians as a means to help students learn about the world by seeking answers to big questions

  • What is fair?
  • How do we deal with unfairness?
  • What is home? Community?
  • What is the difference between belonging and belongings?

Teaching Method

The Lessons

Bulletin board with paper recreation of Powell Street Neighbourhood

Powell Street Simulation

Students make a simulated community of a Japanese Canadian neighbourhood on a classroom bulletin board to begin a simulation of internment and dispossession. Start with the Main Dispossession Activity: the Powell Street simulation.  Do the 8 Supporting Lessons concurrently so that you are ready to take away the students’ simulated possessions and property by Lesson 3 Intro to Internment.

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Morishita Family


Using a "Beliefs" statement chart, students begin to think about some of the key issues behind this unit before the actual study of the content.

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Train Departing

2.FUF Game

Students play a strange game in which the rules are not clear and do not seem fair.

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Hastings Park Men's Dormitory

3.Intro to Internment

Students analyze photographs to gain knowledge about the Japanese Canadian experience.

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Women and Two Children

4.Going to Internment

Students evaluate what is important to them by trying to figure out what they would bring if they were suddenly forced out of their homes.

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Family Outside Internment Shack

5.Living in Internment

Students simulate the cramped and crowded living conditions of internees by trying to fit their own belongings in a floor plan of an internment shack. They also examine various primary and secondary sources to learn about life during internment.

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Children looking into empty Toyama store


Students read letters of protest from dispossessed Japanese Canadians to see how some of them reacted to the losses they suffered.

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Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth signing constitution

7.Rights and Freedoms

Students determine whether or not Japanese Canadians were treated fairly with respect to certain rights that other Canadians held.

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Mulroney and Art Miki signing redress agreement


Students assess a number of scenarios to determine whether a situation warrants an apology and how reparations could be made. They learn about redress for Japanese Canadians and evaluate whether the apology was appropriate.

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"My son has really enjoyed this socials unit. We have had many discussions, and I saw his empathy and understanding of this misjustice that occurred. Learning about something that happened locally and being able to drive to the area and the fact it happened in recent history made a huge impact on him and how he views the world and what he wants to see it like in his time."


"I think the government was being very racist because they basically only rounded up Japanese Canadians … I am also quite shocked Canada would do such a thing because we are known for our diversity and our kind people … I just think that putting Japanese Canadians in the internment camps was not right."

Grade 5 student
Port Moody, BC

"It is a fantastic resource and easy to follow. Teachers may say that the subject of the Japanese-Canadian Internment is a minor suggestion in the new BC curriculum and there isn’t enough time to cover the event in detail. What’s important to note is that the whole module doesn't cover only one Social Studies’ concept. It is truly a multi-disciplinary unit that touches a huge range of competencies (skills). In our unit, I added in all the big ideas and competencies that we touched from almost every subject."

Laura de la Salle
North Vancouver, BC

"The history of how the Japanese Canadians during WW II were unfairly treated and discriminated by the people and the government of Canada and the sufferings at the internment camps made me realize how lucky I am today living in ‘more civilised’ multicultural society."

Grade 5 student