Tag Archives: First Nations

Texts in the classroom. What’s appropriate and where to find them? (Mod 1-Post 3)

B.C. teaching exercises that references ‘squaw’ 39 times pulled

Recently published in the Canadian News was a mothers outrage over the use of the term “Squaw” used 39 times in the book “Susanna Moodie: Roughing it in the Bush,” printed by Second Story Press which was being used in the classroom and included teaching materials.  The teacher gave students a test that had students matching the derogatory terms to correct “definitions or appropriate language”. Being able to see a few questions above, you can tell that this test is discussing the prejudice and background of when or why these terms were used.  One can hope that further discussion was implemented about such content. But this raised a few questions for me:

Was the teacher in the wrong for using the resource, despite it being an approved teaching material?

Was this content appropriate for 14 year olds?  If not, what age is?

Assuming the teacher did her due diligence in both prepping and unpacking such topics, are there certain topics teachers should not address, that are too controversial?

This book was published in 1852.  Is it considered a classic or are our reading lists that outdated (most likely due to budget cuts in recent years)?

How easy/difficult is it for teachers/districts to get new reading materials in that perhaps might be more appropriate as well as more engaging for students both from indigenous and non-indigenous communities.

I’d like to share some resources that I and my colleagues have used recently in the classroom that have been well received. I would also like to open it up and ask for more suggestions of any books/audio books that you have used or come across.  Additionally, after speaking with an Aboriginal Success Teacher for one of the nearby school districts, she directed me to the Canadian Aboriginal Books for School list which has quite an extensive list.

“Secret Path”  by Gord Downie, Illustrated by Jeff Lemire

“Three Day Road” by Joseph Boyden

“Trudy’s Rock Story” by Trudy Spiller, Illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner

“Wenjack”by Joseph Boyden

“Three Feathers” by Richard Van Camp

Teaching the Students (Mod 1 Post 2)

To play off Natalie’s post, I find that Wab Kinew’s videos are informative and popular with students.  Like Natalie says, it’s important to get the right information and I try to find sources of information about Indigenous peoples BY Indigenous peoples. He is a great speaker and tackles issues like residential schools and First Nations stereotypes.  He was also recently within the past 24 hours elected as the leader of the Manitoba New Democrat Party.  There are a lot of great resources out there and not always time to get through them.  Thats why I enjoy posting links to different videos found both by myself and other students for them to watch on their own time.  I find it very rare that they ever just watch the one video but watch multiple videos connected with the original post.  Technology is always a double edged sword.  And in the same way one can get sucked into watching multiple cat fail videos, students can also get sucked into an issue or topic brought up in class using the same technology medium if we provide them the right guidance.

Using Technology as Forms of Expression (Mod 1 Post 1)

This weeks readings about the neutrality of technology had me reflecting on a lesson I used with my grade 8/9 technology class. The topic was media use for the advocacy of First Nations. Teaching to international students, I had to take a step back and introduce and explain what the terms Indigenous, Aboriginal, Metis, Inuit and First Nations meant.  Many where unaware that their home countries too had Indigenous people. After a few background lessons, we then began to discuss the artwork of Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. We watched two videos of totem poles being made and then we discussed the following questions.

What relationship does environment have with with First Nations art?

How is First Nations culture and society represented in the artwork?

Is this artwork any less beautiful or impressive when using modern technology?

The last question caused the most debate because many of the students found that by using CNC technology, something had been lost. The majority of the students believed that carving a totem pole by hand was harder and more time consuming and therefore more impressive and for some, also more beautiful.  I found this a bit perplexing as the Generation Z (iGens) have known nothing but a life of technology and constantly seek the fastest route of action for an outcome.  I too have to admit, even despite my love for technology, that I agree with them and it’s something I can’t quite put my finger on as to why I feel this way. The counter argument made by the minority of students was that it was equally impressive and beautiful and that not only were they continuing a longstanding tradition but they were also learning new 21st Century skills that would help them in “today’s world”.

I see both viewpoints.  Both take skill and knowledge that must be passed down from elders.  But when technology is involved sometimes a gain also means there is a loss.  Perhaps in this scenario it’s that deeper spiritual connection the artist has with his/her hands on the wood and the time and care it took to create their piece of art.

What are your thoughts?

 

Module 3 – Weblog – Tanya Walsh

Below you will find some additional resources on Spirituality in Indigenous Education:

  • Battiste, M. (2008, March 26 -29). Nourishing the Learning Spirit: Elder’s Dialogue. Saskatoon, SK: Aboriginal Education Research Centre, University of Saskatchewwan. Retrieved from http://aerc.usask.ca/downloads/Nourishing-the-Learning-Spirit-Elders-Dialogue-8.pdf
    • This is an outline of the proceeds from a conference of elders from diverse language groups gathered to discuss the concepts of lifelong learning and the learning spirit.
    • They define the ‘learning journey’ as a “holistic outcome of diverse conditions, contexts, relationships, education, training, and connections with a living universe” (Battiste, 2008. p. 12).
    • They discuss how an acknowledgment of the spirit world is an integral part of the learning journey and must be honoured through ceremony and relationships with spiritual leaders in the community.

 

  • George, N. (2008). Aboriginal Adult Literacy: Nourishing Their Learning Spirits. Saskatoon, SK: Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Centre, University of Saskatchewan. Retrieved from http://fneii.ca/NourishingSpirits_LitReview_en_1_.pdf
    • This is a literature review on Aboriginal literacy designed to provide information and direction for those working in the field of Aboriginal literacy.
    • It describes people as having a body, heart, mind and spirit, with spirit being the most important part because that is the essence of who you are. Therefore, they state that it is imperative that adult educators engage learners spiritually by helping them make meaning out of what they are learning, in order to help them answer their deepest questions, as these are a people who believe that we are one with creation, not separate from it.
    • The learning spirit is the state of being that facilitates learning and will help a person fulfill his/her purpose for being in this life.

 

  • Kitchen, J., Cherubini, L, Trudeau, L., & Hodson, J. (2009, Fall). Aboriginal education as cultural brokerage: New aboriginal teachers reflect on language and culture in the classroom. McGill Journal of Education, 44(3), 355-376. Retrieved from: http://mje.mcgill.ca/article/viewFile/2853/3980
    • This is an interesting report on six Aboriginal teachers in Ontario using a talking circle to explore their roles as teachers as they prepare their students to walk between two parallel but very different worlds.
    • They state that Aboriginal education is oriented around a ‘spiritual centre’ and that it is important that aboriginal teachers attend to their own healing if they are going to be expected to heal and teach others.

 

  • Micallef, S. (2017, January 23). Our dreaming: The Indigenous link between the physical and the spiritual. SBS Radio. Retrieved from http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/culture/article/2017/01/18/our-dreaming-indigenous-link-between-physical-and-spiritual-world
    • “Our Aboriginal spirituality is a link from the past to the present a shared pathway that helps us to understand more about where we come from and who we are as people.” (Micalleff, 2017, para. 16).
    • This site tells a particular creation story. However, more importantly, it explains the importance of handing down ‘dreaming’ stories as part of Aboriginal education in Australia. These stories link people over time to physical places in creation. Micallef also describes how the land then becomes a cultural connection to their prehistoric history.

 

  • Weenie, A. (2012). Toward and understanding of the ecology of Indigenous education. Retrieved from http://mfnerc.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/007_Weenie.pdf
    • This article discusses the concept of ‘spiritual ecology’ which is the “application of special intellectual, ritual, psychological, and spiritual teaching tools that facilitated deep levels of learning and understanding” (Cajete, 1994, p. 223, as cited in Weenie, 2012, p. 59) and which is the essence of meaningful and constructive Indigenous curriculum.
    • For Weenie, ceremonies and traditional activities, like storytelling, provide a ‘spiritual sustenance’. In time, the deep significance of these teachings can induce direct and powerful understandings of basic truths about how to interact with the world.
    • The Elders teachings that ‘everything has a spirit’ leads to the principle of living in harmony with the environment and developing healthy communities.

Module 2 – Weblog – Tanya Walsh

The incorporation of spirituality into everyday life seems to be a value in many Indigenous communities. I am, therefore, interested in finding out how this is done within educational environments and whether or not this is even done in online learning environments. My ultimate focus will likely be on adult education, as I work in a post-secondary environment. However, at this point, I am not limiting my research to that age group.

These are the some of resources I have examined recently:

  • Astin, A. W., Astin, H. S., & Lindholm, J. A. (2010). Cultivating the Spirit: How College Can Enhance Students’ Inner Lives. San Francisco, California: John Wiley & Sons.
    • What is an academic’s role in a student’s spiritual development? Faculty are only responsible for the academic and professional progress of their students, aren’t they? Perhaps they are, but the fact remains that students are asking questions, such as: “Who am I?”, “What is my purpose in life?” and “What kind of world should I help to create?” These all have spiritual overtones.
    • This book examines the role that post-secondary education has in student spiritual development. According to Astin, et al. (2010), although religious practice may decline during these years, spiritual growth is enhanced, which in turn enhances other college outcomes.
    • So although this book does not deal with Indigenous spirituality in education, it is a good starting point for examining spirituality in post-secondary education, which is where my interests lie.

 

  • Fraser, D. (2007, January 22). Secular schools, spirituality and Maori values. Journal of Moral Education, 33(1). Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com.uml.idm.oclc.org/doi/abs/10.1080/0305724042000199996?needAccess=true#aHR0cDovL3d3dy50YW5kZm9ubGluZS5jb20udW1sLmlkbS5vY2xjLm9yZy9kb2kvcGRmLzEwLjEwODAvMDMwNTcyNDA0MjAwMDE5OTk5Nj9uZWVkQWNjZXNzPXRydWVAQEAw
    • In New Zealand, Maori education initiatives have grown to include Maori values, beliefs, and spirituality. This challenges the definition of secular education in New Zealand.
    • This article discusses the moral obligation to include Indigenous values within education in order to develop understanding and respect for their unique cultural identity. Are they broad enough concepts to have relevance for a diverse student population? Some say yes. However, others believe that even concepts such as self-worth and personal identity are too personal and intrusive to be discussed in a public classroom.
    • On the other hand, the Maori do not believe that they should be expected to fragment their lives and values and therefore wish their spiritual values to be taught alongside the intellectual, physical, emotional, and social ones. They believe that “a natural acceptance of spirituality…creates a moral space in which people’s values and beliefs can co-exist without excuse or apology in secular education”.
    • Although I had planned on keeping my focus on Canadian Indigenous peoples, this article describes some issues that I believe will be faced in Canadian society as we begin to teach about aspects of Indigenous culture in mainstream Canadian classrooms.

 

  • LaFever, M. (2016). Switching from Bloom to the medicine wheel: Creating learning outcomes that support Indigenous ways of knowing in post-secondary education. Intercultural Education, 27(5), 409-424.
    • LaFever uses the Medicine Wheel as a framework for learning outcomes. She sees it as expanding the three domains of learning, as described by Bloom (cognitive/mental, psychomotor/physical, and affective/emotional) while adding a fourth dimension of spirituality.
    • Having begun my exploration of the psychology of learning by studying Bloom, I am most interested in seeing how his theories are enhanced by Indigenous ways of knowing.

 

  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2016, June 14). Native spirituality guide. Retrieved from http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/native-spirituality-guide
    • This website was found in the reference of the LaFever article. I found it intriguing that the RCMP would have a guide for their employees on the understanding of sacred practices of aboriginal peoples in Canada.
    • The RCMP sought out four different elders in creating the guide and gave additional thanks for permission to digitally publish  this knowledge, considering the fact that many elders do not consent to having their knowledge reproduced in this fashion.
    • The article goes on to list important concepts, such as the Circle of Life, the Medicine Wheel, and the Four Powers. It then outlines various ceremonies and ceremonial objects.
    • There is also a section on the treatment of medicine bundles by law enforcement officials, particular during legal searches, so that these objects are treated with the respect that they deserve.
    • Although very simplistic, the information contained on the site would be a very good starting point for someone with little or no knowledge of these sacred objects and traditions.
    • The main thing that surprised me about the website was that it did not distinguish between Canadian Indigenous cultures. Depending on what regions of the country and RCMP officer serves in, he/she will be exposed to considerable variation in belief and practice.

 

  • Tisdell, E. J., & Tolliver, D. E. (2001, June 01). The role of spirituality in culturally relevant and transformative adult education. Adult Learning, 12(3). Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.uml.idm.oclc.org/doi/pdf/10.1177/104515950101200305
    • Elizabeth Tisdell is also the author of the book Exploring Spirituality and Culture in Adult and Higher Education. (2003). San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass. This article briefly discusses some of the themes explored more fully in her later publication.
    • This article discusses the connection between spirituality and culture and how educational experiences that allow for their expression can be both culturally relevant and transformative to the students involved.
    • What is unique about this article is that it connects knowledge construction to the unconscious processes which are often culturally and spiritually based, such as the use of image, symbols, music, and ritual.

Lessening the Cultural Divide through the Teaching about Indigenous Culture

In thinking about what my final assignment will be focused on, I have two somewhat differing ideas and routes in consideration. Watching films such as Nanook of the North, however archaic it may be, has me interested in ways in which third-person/outsider narratives can positively contribute to Indigenous identity and self-representation. Of course putting the film-making process into the hands of the culture itself would be most impactful, but it is evident that film-making is not always a self-representation, but rather a representation of an “other.” Therefore, how can we mitigate this misappropriation of cultural identity that inevitably comes from this process?

On the other hand, instead of focusing on the mishandling of Indigenous identity, culture, and values by the media, how can educators help lessen the “us vs. them” mentality that is still perpetuated. Now more than ever, the BC school system is acknowledging the deep-rooted historical legacy and importance of the First Nations in our province, by having incorporated more facets of Indigenous culture into the curriculum. But frankly, teachers won’t always be equipped with appropriate or accurate strategies/knowledge to shed light on this culture in a fruitful way. Educators are part of the third-person narrative that so often harms Indigenous (self) representation. How can we better equip our teachers to offer an Indigenous curriculum that not only discusses the culture based on observation, but relays the feelings and cultural understanding experienced by those that are a part of it.

5 links on language and indigenous ways of teaching

Toward a First Nations Cross-Cultural Science and Technology Curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.duluth.umn.edu/~kzak/documents/Aikenhead97-NOS.pdf

This is an interesting article that discusses the contrasts between indigenous and western views on nature and science. It gives examples of cultural border crossing when western-style teachers work with indigenous students. In many instances, the difference in culture either creates misunderstandings or can blur the original view of the indigenous learners with a new mechanical perspective that does not fit their cultural background.

 

TVO Agenda – The Future of Aboriginal Education: Language. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrj-eM5KDD8

In this video clip, 25 year old Ryan DeCaire of Wáhta Mohawk Territory gives his view on the importance of encouraging indigenous youth in learning their traditional languages. He welcomes the audience in Mohawk language and explains that many more youngsters are being born in their traditional languages now. He says that in his community, there is a large gap between the age of the youth and older people who speak the indigenous language. This clip shows me the interest and also the affordability of youth in revitalizing their language, as opposed to the generation before them who were victims of the residential schools.

 

In Their Own Words. The fight to preserve the Cree language. Retrieved from https://thewalrus.ca/in-their-own-words/

This article writes about the fight to preserve the Cree language in the Onion Lake community, especially in the Kihew Waciston school. The teachers of this school are native Cree-speakers and the school curriculum emphasizes the land-based education. Students learn language art, math and science, along with skills such as building campfires and plucking geese. The article gives an overview of the history of the Cree language and its survival, as well as an interesting short explanation of the organization of the language itself.

 

First Nations Pedagogy Online. Retrieved from http://www.firstnationspedagogy.ca/index.html

This website provides online resources to support best practices for learning initiatives intended for indigenous students, instructors, and curriculum developers. It involves many resources such as videos, explanations and online activities that would support the organization of indigenous-based teachings. The site gives helpful explanations on the pre-colonial ways of teaching and how to incorporate them into today’s teaching.

 

Four Directions Teachings. Retrieved from http://www.fourdirectionsteachings.com/index.html

This is an interactive website which offers a learning experience about indigenous knowledge and ways of learning through audio-narrated and pictures. It is done beautifully and it offers learners the perspectives of five different indigenous peoples’ teachings in Canada: Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe Teaching, Mohawk and Mi’kmaq. The site also offers learning activities that can be incorporated into teachings. It’s a great teaching and learning resource for anyone!

Learning Resources For Teaching First Nations Art

We are currently participating in a school-wide inquiry at my school to increase First Nations cultural awareness through First Nations art, music and performing arts.  I am providing you with some website links that have helped us along the enriching process.

 

First People’s Art For Learningscreen-shot-2016-09-17-at-9-56-55-pm

The following website was a group project created in ETEC 511.  Our goal was to create a cross curricular resource for teachers that linked Canadian First Nations art and artefacts to the curriculum via a visual literacy framework.  Our goal is to continuously add to this resource, with the intention to add oral stories and personal accounts from elders.  Please share, make comments or ask questions about this resource.

 

 

Authentic Indigenousscreen-shot-2016-09-25-at-11-38-26-am

This website was created by the Aboriginal Tourism BC (AtBC) foundation who have established the Authentic Indigenous Arts Resurgence Campaign (The “ARC”).

Its initiative is: “aimed at promoting and supporting authentic Indigenous artworks in the retail and wholesale marketplace.”

Its goal is: to “undertake various activities designed to protect Indigenous control over Indigenous artwork and to ensure that its sale benefits Indigenous artists and communities economically.”

This website provides a comprehensive list of First Nations Artists in Canada where they are listed by first name in alphabetical order.  Each artist has their own page where viewers can read a short bio, view examples of their work, and search any links that may take them to projects or personal websites.  It also posts events, campaigns, and articles, and members can connect with each other through the blog, and social media.

 

CCCA Canadian Art Databasescreen-shot-2016-09-25-at-11-40-27-am

This informational website provides a database of Canadian artists, including First Nations, located across Canada.  Anyone can search for artists by name, location, subject/category, and advanced search options which include curriculum.  It is a place where Artists have the showcase their work, mention projects they are working on, and list events that are happening across Canada to promote their Art.

 

Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centrescreen-shot-2016-09-25-at-12-36-17-pm

The Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre was founded to showcase the art, history and culture of the Sk̲wx̲wú7mesh (people of the Squamish villages) and the L̓il̓wat7úl (the people of the land) nations.  Visitors on the website can learn about the Nations’ past and present history, shop online for authentic artisan merchandise, as well as book tours.  During the visits, visitors are taken through a guided tour of the centre, and they also have the opportunity to sign up for interactive workshops which could involve an interpretive forest walk, holistic tour and indigenous tea ceremony, or participation in various indigenous crafting workshops.

 

Aboriginal Tourism BCscreen-shot-2016-09-25-at-12-56-20-pm

The page dedicated to Arts and Culture, on the Aboriginal Tourism BC website, takes the visitor on an exploration of the many art galleries, studios, museums, cultural sites and cultural centres that are located throughout BC.  Visitors to the website are also able to book special visits and tours.

First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC)

FNREEESThe First Nations Information Governance Centre is a national organization which provides research and data collection for the First Nations people of Canada.  It’s vision statement is:

“Founded on First Nations Principles, The First Nations Information Governance Centre is a premier Indigenous model of research and data excellence for the well being of our Peoples and Communities”

In addition, the FNIGC is devoted to the health and wellness of First Nations people, promotes the First Nations people whenever possible, and measures advancements or set backs within Aboriginal communities in Canada.  In addition, the FNIGC conducts the First Nations Regional Health Survey (FNRHS) and the First Nations Regional Early Childhood, Education and Employment Survey (FNREEES).  The results of the FNREEES (also referred to as the REEES) was released on November 18, 2015.  You can find a CBC report summarizing the findings here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/aboriginal/new-stats-offer-snapshot-of-life-in-first-nation-communities-1.3326682

To access this website, follow the link to: http://fnigc.ca/

Ronaye Kooperberg (Module 4 – Post 1)

4.5: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada – Map Room

Website: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1290453474688/1290453673970#h4

This website section is part of a much larger Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada website. This post is about the “Map Room” section specifically. This site includes a plethora of maps on Canadian First Nation communities and topics. Map topics range from census information, information about K-12 schools on reservations, and the distribution of residential school survivor settlements by province. Two interactive maps that I found particularly interesting were:

First Nation Profiles Interactive Map: Lists First Nations in Canada. By clicking on First Nation icon on the map, you can view demographic information about the First Nation. Furthermore, many also include links to community run websites.

Interactive Map on Specific Claim Settlements: Successful land claims are represented as orange dots on the map. Clicking on the dots reveals the name of the claim, the settlement date,  the dollar amount of the settlement, and the province. This is useful for seeing where claims have been made and for what reasons.

These maps are excellent for use in a Canadian History or a Global Issues classroom.