Category Archives: Module 2

National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

The Winnipeg Hearings for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is scheduled for this October. At the political level the need for this inquiry has been greatly debated, while among Indigenous Communities there is recognition that something must be done to insure the safety of Aboriginal Women and Girls, who are 3.5 times more likely then their non-native peers to experience domestic abuse or assault.

The MMIWG Inquiry is having difficulty getting organized, communicating and meeting the needs of the families involved. Critiques like Mi’kmaq lawyer, professor, activist and politician Pam Palmater are speaking out how the MMIWG is not doing justice to the inquiry process.


  • “A look at what needs to change: The National Inquiry into MMIWG and Thunder Bay | APTN InFocus.” YouTube, YouTube, 4 Oct. 2017,
  • “National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls .” National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls,

Music and Indigenous Cultural Resurgence

Music shared through technology is aiding in the resurgence of Indigenous Cultural Awareness.

Indigenous Culture is being celebrated and shared through music. In the past First Nation artisits like Buffy Sainte Marie and Susan Aglukark were considered an exception. Presently we are seeing more Indigenous artists being celebrated in mainstream entertainment not just for their musical talent, but also for their contribution to Aboriginal Culture. Many of the songs written and performed by these artists share language, traditional song, drumming and dance as well as messages about traditions, the impact of colonization and histories of Indigenous Peoples.

In a CBC interview singer and songwriter Art Napoleon said he choose to produce his album “Creeland Covers” entirely in Cree in order to share a little of the language with others.   While groups like A Tribe Called Red are using their popularity to increase awareness about the hardships Indigenous Peoples face worldwide.

Catalina Johnson writes in a bandcamp daily article “The Anti-Colonial Beats of Indigenous Hip-Hop” that music, especially Hip-Hop, which is really a form of oral storytelling allows artists to take back the narratives of their people. Indeed one Hi-Hop musician, JB the First Lady, notes Hip-Hop did not only allow her to learn her language, but also connected her with traditional songs, dancdes and ceremonies. “Our songs, our dances, our ceremonies, and our language comes from the land,” she explains. “That’s why land is very important to people here in Turtle Island. It’s a direct link to our ancestors and to Creator.”



Module 2 posts

Toward an Indigenous Feminine Animation Aesthetic

While not discussing digital storytelling, this article does articulate many of the themes I’m interested in exploring in my final project: raising political consciousness of Indigenous rights, drawing attention to how mainstream media works to “naturalize” imperialism, and the digital realm as a dynamic communication network that bolsters tribal political, cultural, and spiritual sovereignty.

Indigenous Digital Storytelling in Video: Witnessing with Alma Desjarlais

This article discusses how Indigenous digital storytelling in video tells the story of what has happened and is happening in the lives and work of Indigenous peoples. Alma Desjarlais is an Indigenous Elder who shares her stories to help people understand the histories and strength of Indigenous peoples.

Grandmothers of the Metis Nation

The above link shows the trailer for the film, Grandmothers of the Metis Nation. The film shares stories of Metis grandmothers to demonstrate the roles and responsibilities of Metis women in the past and today. One of the grandmothers is Alma Desjarlais (from the article above), who explains the roles of grandmothers as educators and healers in their communities.

Narrating Aboriginality On-Line: Digital Storytelling, Identity and Healing

Healing the wounds of “colonial contagion” is a process that’s articulated through the spoken and written words of Aboriginal writers. Indigenous digital stories present counter-narratives to the Canadian settler state to give voices to otherwise silences experiences of the effects of colonization.It focuses on therapeutic possibilities of digital storytelling and warns of limiting the healing potential to simply matters of cultural assertion. It also discusses the limits of digital storytelling and how some individuals and communities may not have the resources to participate in digital storytelling.

Media Portrayals of Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women

This article summarizes the differences in Canadian local press coverage of missing or murdered Aboriginal women and white women. It discusses stereotypes that make Aboriginal victims less likely to be covered in news stories and the idea that victims are divided into stereotypes of “pure” women who are newsworthy victims and fallen women who are not (aka “missing White woman syndrome”).

Module 2 – Post 3 – Technology Helping Create Original Aboriginal Art by Kevin Andrews

Under the mentorship of Ken McNeil and utilizing the latest design and fabrication technology, UBC is working with local First Nations to carve out wood/cedar ‘story panels’.  Using modern scanning and CNC router technology, unique limited edition prints and panels are produced to promote the cultural connection between the artist and the cedar. For many of these artists, the panel design and the technology used allows for a greater means of expression producing a ‘self-portrait’ of the designer. Aboriginal art is an estimated $2-billion market worldwide, but only for a few select, high-end artists, with galleries making the majority of the money through the hops is the training and application of computer-assisted machining technologies will lead to added wealth for the artists and First Nations communities. The panels, which are functional works of art, take hours to complete and are one-of-a-kind.

For many of these artists, the panel design and the technology used allows for a greater means of expression producing a ‘self-portrait’ of the designer. Aboriginal art is an estimated $2-billion market worldwide, but only for a few select, high-end artists, with galleries making the majority of the money, though the hope is the training and application of computer-assisted machining technologies will lead to added wealth for the artists and First Nations communities. The panels, which are functional works of art, take hours to complete and are one-of-a-kind.


Programs for Indigenous Youth in Canada

For my second post in Module 2, I wanted to share some of the websites I did not list in the discussion board that I have found for my project on extra-curricular activities and school based programs designed for Indigenous Youth in Canada.

1. StatCan Participation in Sports and Cultural Activities
Using information from the Aboriginal Peoples Survey (APS) of children and youth, StatCan compiled information about Aboriginal youth participation in sports and cultural activities. The survey includes important data that made a connection between youth that participated in sports and those that also participated in extra-curricular activities. The survey also explains that the use of an Aboriginal language and spending time with Elders are connected to participation in cultural activities.

2. Indigenous Youth Futures Partnership
The Indigenous Youth Futures Partnership is based out of Carleton University and is a seven-year SSHRC-funded partnership grant. They work with First Nations communities in Northwestern Ontario. The objective of the program is to encourage young community leaders by enhancing cross-generational relationships, empowering youth voices, strengthening cultural identity and helping sustain communities.

3. IndigenEYEZ

IndigenEYEZ hosts youth camps for Indigenous youth and adults in BC. The program uses the Creative Community Model to empower and inspire future community leaders. They integrate a holistic approach, by integrating four essential relationships: with self, with others, with nature, and with culture. They host annual summer camps and offer customized community workshops.

Traditional Medicine Resources

The contribution of the Indigenous Peoples to the survival of the early European Settlers is often glanced over, or not touched upon at all in our classrooms.

It is important to remember that without the help of Indigenous Peoples settlers would not have survived, contents would not have been so easily explored, skills would not have been learned. Unfortunately these early teachings were lost in the idea that one culture was better then another, and that there was no “science” behind Indigenous Medicines.

The website lists 31 of the well Native American medicines. Unfortunately there are many more that have been lost because of the refusal of the dominant culture to understand, and learn from other cultures. The 1992 Drama “Medicine Man” touches on the idea that many traditional medicines have been lost to the world because of colonization and in turn – industrialization, and globalization.

Perhaps technology can document traditional medicinal knowledge before, like many languages, it is lost to the world. Perhaps the sharing of traditional medicinal knowledge online will allow the sharing of history and create a culture of respect for Indigenous cultures.


  • McTiernan, John, director. Medicine Man. Medicine Man, Hollywood Pictures Cinergi Pictures, 7 Feb. 1992.
  • 31 Powerful Native American Medicinal Cures.” com, 17 Jan. 2017,

New Website Helps Teach Inupiaq

University of Alaska Fairbanks graduate student Qaġġun Zibell (Chelsey), developed a website that will help introduce the Inupiaq language.   In an interview Zibell recognizes that the website cannot fully teach the language, but can be uses as a more modern resource for connected learners. The site features games, videos and interactive activities.


The University of Alaska Fairbanks Information and News Bulletin also notes that Inupiaq is designated as a “severely endangered” by The Endangered Languages Project.


Overcoming Barriers Starts with Funding and Education (Mod 2 Post 4)

Coming off my last post and in my search for financial support for Indigenous girls in post-secondary education, I came across an Indigenous-led registered charity called Indspire.  In addition to it dispersing financial aid, it also provides an online resource for teachers with a variety of lesson plans, online webinars, in-class seminars and links to upcoming events.

In my research so far about the barriers facing Indigenous women in STEAM and tech-related fields, two trends are emerging- funding and teacher education.  Funding is one way to support Indigenous students becoming successful in education, but another large indicator for success is the education of teachers and their knowledge and understanding of how to deliver curriculum and better help support Indigenous students.  There are two upcoming conferences that will have Indigenous students and Indigenous educators sharing their experiences and practices of what works and providing teachers with some of this knowledge and understanding about Indigenous needs in education.

The first event is coming up this Oct 19th at Simon Fraser University where a panel of 3 Laureates (Dakota Brant- First Nations, Maatalii Okalik- Inuit, and Gabrielle Fayant- Metis), will “discuss issues such as being the first person in the family to go to university or being the only Indigenous student in the class, and how schools can better support Indigenous students.”  Registration is still open. 

Another upcoming conference is the 23rd Annual Aboriginal Education Conference “Renewing our Relationship” put on by the First Nations Education Steering Committee and happening in Vancouver Nov 30- Dec 1-2 at the Westin Bayshore.  As stated on their website this conference will be:

“Showcasing innovative curriculum, inspiring people and excellent networking opportunities, the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) Annual Aboriginal Education Conference draws over 800 educators each year. Our conference theme, Renewing Our Relationship, will explore the role of education in reconciliation as part of the ongoing conversations about Canada’s 150th celebrations and planning for the future of First Nations education in British Columbia. This will include examining how we can work together to transform our relationships in order to advance quality First Nations education.

There are a variety of workshops to choose from and several keynote speakers,  including one of the authors from our course readings- Dr. Jan Hare who is the Associate Dean for Indigenous Education (UBC).


Women in Tech- or Lack Thereof (Mod 2-Post 3)

Thinking about the recent initiatives set forth by the BC government to recruit and train British Columbians in skilled trades, I wondered if there was an for technology training specifically for Indigenous peoples.  It was here where I found out about the 2.2 Million invested into Indigenous skills training for the tech sector. 

The Bridging to Technology program was created by the First Nations Technology Council and when reviewing the team making up the council I was pleasantly surprised to see a team full of women.  However, I was disappointed to find the board of directors consisted of only men.  This was a stark reminder of the gender gap in authoritative roles that women of all ethnicities face.

As the CNET article highlights, the tech industry is already male-dominated:

And this is for white women. The statistics get worse if you’re a woman of a minority.  According to a study done by Michelmore & Sassler (2016), “Black women, Latina women, and Indigenous women especially, earn less than white and Asian American women” (Rao & Lunau, 2017).

The dominance of men over women in higher paid, higher power positions is a trend in most sectors but is especially pronounced in the tech sector.  As Blanche (2016) highlights “The problem is when diversity programs focus on “women” as a whole, they often fall into the trap of prioritizing the majority: White Women”.

If we truly want to make our tech industry more diverse, we need to analyze the barriers that Indigenous women face specifically.  Grants for an example are a start, but while I did find technology grants for women, I was unable to find grants dedicated specifically to Indigenous women


Blanche, A. (2016, December 20). Diversity in tech too often means ‘hiring white women.’ We need to move beyond that. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from

Michelmore, K. & Sassler, S. (2016). Explaining the Gender Wage Gap in STEM: Does Field Sex Composition Matter?RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 2(4), 194-215. Russell Sage Foundation. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from Project MUSE database.

Rao, A., & Lunau, K. (2017, April 04). You Can’t Close the Gender Gap in Science and Tech Without Equal Pay. Retrieved October 16, 2017, from


Indigenous Girls and Technology (Mod 2 Post 2)

For our final research assignment, Kathryn, Sara and I have decided to look at the relationship of technology and STEAM learning and Indigenous girls.  We were drawn to focus our research on girls because of the unique differences they have in learning compared to boys as well as the fact that Indigenous girls, already from a marginalized community, are even more vulnerable as they face gender bias and stereotypes in a male-dominated technology industry. In our research of current programs and initiatives in place, we found “Native Girls that Code” .  The goals of this program are:

  • Build leadership of women and the capacity of women-led projects and organizations
  • Build the capacity of our youth to develop strong identities through Indigenous knowledge and stronger supports for their education
  • Advance the preservation and revitalization of traditional Native knowledge through environmental justice programming that focuses on following the original teachings of Mother Earth

This program has found a way to incorporate STEAM learning with place-based learning that connects the girls with the land around them.

The success of this program but shows the promise and capability of integration between Indigenous girls and technology and could pose as a model for other similar programs.