Meet Tom Longboat: Indigenous Hero

Grade Levels
1st - 3rd, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF (30 pages)
  • Activity
Includes Easel Activity
This resource includes a ready-to-use interactive version of the PDF. Assign it to students to complete from any device. Easel by TpT is free to use! Learn more.
Part of the Teach for Justice collection
This resource is part of a collection of educator-created, expert-vetted resources to help you create learning environments to support every student, challenge biases, and encourage discussions around race and social injustice. Explore the collection.


Have you heard of Tom Longboat? No, me neither until recently. In 1899 he was forced to attend the Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford, Ontario. He ran away from there not once but twice. In 1907 at age 19 he was one of the most famous people in the world. His incredible life is one that needs to be shared and remembered by all Canadians.

As an Indigenous male coming of age in the early 1900’s, he survived residential school and anti-Indigenous racism to become one of the world’s most famous athletes, a World War I dispatch runner, and an international celebrity.

In this book companion to Elizabeth MacLeod’s Meet Tom Longboat published by Scholastic Canada (ISBN 978-1-4431-1397-7), students will learn about Canada’s legendary Onondaga long-distance runner, Tom Longboat. The book does an excellent job of highlighting some of the injustices and stereotypes Tom Longboat suffered throughout his life in a compassionate way your students will understand and remember. It's a great "stepping stone" picture book for educators to introduce their students to residential schools, too.


This unit includes 4 days of activities:

•educator links about residential schools and Tom Longboat

•resource goal, unit overview and teacher notes

•learning goal posters

•question prompts for journals

•interactive notebook activity

•art activity

•research activity

•Tom Longboat's Legacy

•Social Justice "Step into Action"

•distance learning suggestions


In order to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada made 94 Calls to Action. These resources were created in response to the Commission’s 62nd and 63rd Calls to Action:

Orange Shirt Day: freebie

la Journée du chandail orange: gratuit

Introduction to Residential Schools Part One: Shi-shi-etko

Introduction to Residential Schools Part Two: Shin-chi's Canoe

Cultural Appropriation or Appreciation: Inquiry Images

I believe it is our duty as teachers to educate ourselves about Indigenous perspectives, cultures, and histories and to pass this on to our students. I hope this unit helps you do that.

All the best,


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Keywords: Tom Longboat, residential school, Truth and Reconciliation, famous Canadians, Orange Shirt Day

Total Pages
30 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
4 days
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