Developed by Google engineers and Actua experts and aimed to engage Aboriginal youth into the area of computer science, this code Making program called “Codemakers” provided an opportunity for students to code and remixing their voices. This opportunity by Google is able to provide Aboriginal students something that’s new and cutting edge tech but still rooted in their culture.
For many young students participating in this program, throat singing is how they have learned to pass on the traditions of their past. Being able to mix and digitize the stories they shared in song allows them to connect culture with technology. A breakoff of this project has students “throat boxing” using recording software on mobile devices and computers. A CBC article further explains how Aboriginal students can still embrace their culture but stay connected at the same time.
Two music videos featuring 22 indigenous Surrey students representing 19 Nations have been released, with student-written lyrics and compelling visuals that shed light on some of the challenges facing indigenous youth in an urban setting.
Done through the project Our Story, Our Future, the videos were created in partnership with Aboriginal Learning and N’we Jinan, a non-profit production company that seeks to capture the voices of indigenous youth, empowering them to share what they feel is an important message. N’we Jinan brings a mobile recording studio and professional music producer into schools across North America to provide students a creative outlet to express themselves.
The videos, called “Hide & Seek” and “Show Us The Way,” both center on young indigenous people embracing and acknowledging their heritage.
Show Us The Way, was created with 13 Grade 4-7 students. It is about standing tall, coming together, learning from the elders and passing on tradition.
Indigenous Youth in STEM Program (InSTEM) is a customized, community-based approach to engaging First Nations, Métis, and Inuit youth in locally and culturally relevant STEM education programs. Over the past twenty years, members of this program have worked closely with hundreds of Indigenous communities and tens of thousands of Indigenous youth.
Actua, a national charity that is preparing youth to be innovators and leaders by engaging them in exciting and accessible STEM experiences that build critical skills and confidence, has also developed strong connections with thought leaders in Indigenous education and national organizations like Indspire, the Aboriginal Human Resource Council, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and others. As a result, their model of Indigenous outreach is based on current thinking and successful practices in Indigenous youth engagement in STEM.
There are many people talking about this resource and how it has open the eyes of so many Indigenous students providing opportunities that would have otherwise not been available. Below are some examples:
Filmmaking is an art form that’s fairly new to indigenous creatives. It seems as if only within the past few decades have Native producers, directors, and writers emerged as autonomous agents from the stereotypical noble savages and Wild West Indians of the Hollywood film industry. Through its singular and long-standing commitment to Aboriginal filmmaking, the National Film Board has been instrumental in providing Canadians a rich cultural resource and legacy: a comprehensive body of films inviting us all to share in the Aboriginal experience. Throughout the course of a number of NFB initiatives, the Aboriginal Voice has evolved.
Below is the first Inuktitut language feature but also the most important film in Canadian history, bringing epic filmmaking to a Northern legend. It won Official Selection at the 2001 Cannes International Film Festival and remains the highest grossing indigenous film in Canadian history.
Canada’s screen industry has yet to fully leverage one of the richest cultural resources this country has to offer — the stories of Aboriginal people. The stories and perspectives of Aboriginal people are vibrant, distinct and uniquely Canadian. The proliferation of Aboriginal stories and perspectives has a vital outcome — it enables Canada to carve out a new legacy that celebrates and includes Indigenous stories and perspectives. Our nation’s colonial history has created social and economic challenges unique to Aboriginal peoples and has impacted cultural expression. Fostering Aboriginal stories and perspectives on screen enables Canada to forge a new era of inclusion and recognition of the Aboriginal storytellers who shape our cultural landscape and re-elect the diversity of our nation.
Twenty-one-year-old Natasha Fisher is a singer-songwriter from Thunder Bay who is using her music and her Ojibwe heritage to inspire young people living on First Nations reserves. Thunder Bay is known for its natural beauty and tranquility, but it’s also known for singer-songwriter Natasha Fisher. Now 21, Fisher spent her first 18 years in Thunder Bay and says her Ojibwe heritage has influenced her music.
Her musical journey began six years ago when Fisher started uploading videos to test the waters. The response was overwhelming with more than 200,000 views. After graduation she started doing hip-hop and R&B covers but has taken her music to the next level with the release of her first album entitled Her.
In an interview with CBC, Fisher said she is passionate about is continuing to cultivate a mentorship role she created when she was just 15. She said she has travelled to First Nations reserves to connect with children and youth on subjects like anti-bullying, while providing songwriting workshops and encouraging children to pursue their dreams and develop their talents.
Having the ability to use social media like YouTube provides a medium by which she can help inspire other young Indigenous artists to express their culture in ways unavailable years ago. Fisher told CBC that Ojibway heritage influences her music, it influences her to be a better person and to inspire youth and with so many people hurting right now in northern communities it looks as if her songs can inspire others to follow their dreams while being proud and promoting their culture.
It will be my intention to include her message and the medium by which she is using in my final paper proving the possibility for Indigenous communities to still preserve their culture while embracing technology to promote it.
Intercontinental Cry‘s online publication for world indigenous studies is more like a grassroots journal. This site is an excellent example of using technology to connect Indigenous groups around the world.
I explored several of the opinions, news, and editorials that can be found on this website; here are some of the titles covered:
Each of these stories goes into more depth and lead to further links and information on the subject. This type of website offers all Indigenous communities who wish to do so, a platform for expressing their concerns about various subjects that affect their communities. I believe this type of media forum can serve to inform each other and the world about issues, and it can also be used to learn from each other. Perhaps such a platform can also provide Indigenous communities with strength in number and offer them ideas and ways to protect their collective histories and ancestral ways.
Each web news segment also offers the opportunity to blog, with many comments supporting various causes. It is interesting to note that this site provides the Musqueam people the ability to get a worldwide audience to react to their plight. The story on the Musqueam Marpole ancestral burial site under “Canada” was interesting and will be noted in my final paper.
It is my opinion that the Internet was an important tool for the Musqueam people in propagating their issue and in resolving the matter. Thus I conclude that various forms of media: the Internet, blogs, videos, interviews etc. did serve to protect and disseminate their collective history. I also believe that other Indigenous groups can likely use this example as a guide for their own struggles and give them ideas about how to work with government entities to resolve issues.
This video entitled: The Musqueam Marpole Midden Vigil Interview, explains what the Musqueam community has done:
The steps that have been taken, from peaceful demonstrations, suggestions of swapping land to relocate the condo project, their efforts to talk to the provincial and federal government, until their blockade on the bridge – which is sad when the government decided to take note of the issue and begin talks.
The speaker makes a good case of why saving this site is important to the Musqueam people and also of comparing the fact that digging up other Canadian graveyards is not allowed or done in Canada, why should it be different for them.
It is interesting to note the different ways Indigenous people use media to cover one issue concerning the protection of their collective history. I chose to examine the village and Midden site of c̓əsnaʔəm of Marpople village and the Musqueam community. The first means with which the Musqueam Community spreads the word about their plight is through Facebook where they have various news clips, photos and also a blog that describes their efforts to stop a condo development site from being built so that their ancestors are no longer desecrated.
By this means of communication, they are able to get the public to react and support their cause through blogs and even a petition. There are quite a few supportive comments in their blogs, but it is unclear how many actually come from outside the community itself.
Site # 2
By continuing to explore this story and how the Musqueam community is using the Web and Internet to protect their 4,000-year-old burial site, also know as the Eburne site, Manpole Midden or Great Fraser Midden, I found a 5-minute youtube video, here is the link:
I found that this video was powerful, the message is clear – the images are evocative. The Musqueam community is really working together to save their historical site and they are willing to go all the way to protect their collective history. I found this to be a very effective way to get the Musqueam message across. Many people view YouTube and it can obviously help their cause. The video is well made and has a very important message.
In a 2009 article by Stephen Hui, Denise Williams of the Cowichan Tribes discusses the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the need for broadband. In the article, she states that “It’s the infrastructure that’s going to strengthen the entire social fabric of the community,” and in many respects, it can help broaden opportunities on the often remote and isolated reserves.
While all First Nations schools have some level of Internet access—mostly supported by the federally funded First Nations SchoolNet program—their connections range from dial-up and satellite to cable and digital subscriber lines. In the eyes of Williams, many of the schools the Internet isn’t built into the curriculum providing a disadvantage to many students. Later that year, the provincial government has invested $30.8 million in First Nations connectivity and digital-literacy programs providing much-needed broadband to many schools. Williams states Their scope of what’s possible is limited to where they are,” Williams stated that. “What technology can do in a school with the Internet is open the whole world.”
The decline of aboriginal languages is part of the tragic legacy of Canada’s residential school system. Mike Parkhill, founder of aboriginal language advocacy website SayitFirst.ca believes that technology can help save lost languages. A past Microsoft director, Parkhill says his main goal is to ‘revitalize the language’ so that he can help the First Nations people. His main concentration is to get the language back so that he can support saving culture. Another goal he has is to modernize Indigenous language using technology making it easier to communicate modern thoughts. He talks about how Indigenous names have no literal meaning to modern words. For instance, the Inuktitut meaning for the Internet is translated literally into “my body stays here but my soul travels other places”. Parkhill believes that using software to help translate modern words into usable Indigenous meanings will help preserve Indigenous culture.
In Addition, Brent Tookenay from “Seven Generations Educational Institute“, teamed up with Parkhill to further collaborate on digitizing Indigenous languages. If Tookenay is able to bring all of the Indigenous content and Parkhill has the technical knowledge, together they can help preserve lost languages.
Because we live in a digital age, there are many tools at their disposal. Using just a mobile phone and an app called “Arasma” parents can now read children books to their kids in their native language.