Module One – Initial Research

My interest lies in indigenous storytelling using new media or traditional platforms within educational and extended community spaces. Even after narrowing the scope to Canada, I find it an overwhelmingly vast – and therefore promising – area of research.

Specifically, I would like to explore storytelling projects guided by expressions within oral, dance or art practices. My findings so far fall into two general categories: (i) featured projects reflecting local manifestations of storytelling within the larger global context, and (ii) general resources reflecting larger missions of a more global scale designed to support work across the country.

Here are five websites that reflect those categories. They are by no means exhaustive; they fall within a broader network that led to their discovery, and lead to so many more!

(1) First Nations Pedagogy Online

This is an online community that provides a wealth of information about best practices, pedagogy and resources including a Learning Centre, in support of First Nations storytelling.

(2) Aboriginal Arts & Stories

This site bills itself as “The largest and most recognized art & creative writing competition in Canada for Indigenous youth.” It contains a teachers’ page with a comprehensive and valuable Teachers’ Kit designed to help educators create safe spaces for expression, handle sensitive issues and support a process using Aboriginal Arts & Stories Learning Tools. The site features links to previous arts and writing winners.

(3) Town of Rigolet Storytelling Camp

One example of local storytelling is Rigolet Inuit Community Government’s UKausiga Youth and Elder Storytelling and Culture Sharing Camp. Digital stories on the website were created in 2009-2010 as a part of the Changing Climate, Changing Health, Changing Stories project, a community-driven, participatory, storytelling project that “utilized digital media to gather place-based narratives, documenting the impacts of climate change on human health and well-being and sharing adaptation strategies.” According to the site, the My Word Storytelling & Digital Media Lab continues to operate and facilitate Digital Storytelling workshops.

I will be looking for projects similar in scale to this one, in communities and schools. If they are digital in nature, my hope is that they will share local stories on a global scale online. Specifically, I hope to find works featuring oral storytelling, art and dance as mentioned above.

(4) The Canadian Education Association’s First Nations Schools First!

This website is home to an event that took place in Vancouver in 2016. This learning symposium’s theme was “sharing successful indigenous learning,” focusing on ensuring the success of all Indigenous students. The event featured workshops, case studies, speakers and networking.

(5) Finally, a two-part bonus, featuring two Canadian foundations that are active in indigenous-focused philanthropy:

(a) The McConnell Foundation states that a principal focus of its granting is Indigenous youth, recognizing that it is the fastest growing segment of Canada’s population and that partnerships with Indigenous communities and others are essential towards everyone’s shared future. The page features a list of grants and initiatives working with a range of relevant partners.

(b) Through the McConnell foundation, I discovered The Right Honourable Paul Martin’s Martin Family Initiative (MFI), whose mission appears to be completely education and entrepreneurship focused in nature. It is an organization with an impressive roster on its team of influential and powerful individuals who are working together on a range of initiatives such as the Model School Literacy Project. The resources page is extensive.

Please watch founder Paul Martin speak about the MFI’s mission to work with indigenous communities here. Other MFI videos are available on the MFI site and its Vimeo channel here.

If I may give an Honourable Mention, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation Useful Links for Aboriginal Education is another site worth mentioning. In a future post, I will feature some of the other notable sites I discovered. I’d love to include them all here, but the list would be much too long!

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