Category Archives: Module 2

Module 2- Mi’kmaq Spirit Homepage

This website hosts a great deal of factual information on the Mi’kmaq of Atlantic Canada.  Main sections offer information on history and culture with historical timelines, language explanations, explanations of daily life, oral traditions, etc.  In addition, a section is included on issues, whereby people are welcomed to submit essays on topics relevant to the Mi’kmaq people and culture.

Module 2- The Imaginary Indian

Although not an online resource, this book serves as an excellent resource for all educators.  I first read this text in during my B.Ed program at Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.  The author discusses an array of topics that follow the “image” that was created by colonization.  Excerpts can be attained here from GoogleBooks although I encourage reading it in it’s entirety.

Francis, Daniel. The imaginary Indian: the image of the Indian in Canadian culture. Vancouver, B.C.: Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992. Print.

Module 2- Glooscap Heritage Centre


This website can be used in conjunction with the resources available at the Glooscap Heritage Centre in Truro, Nova Scotia.  Named after a figure often found in many Mi’kmaq legends, both encompasses a great deal of Mi’kmaq cultural information, history, and knowledge.  Although only in it’s infancy, the website hosts online training, media, and educational resources.

Cultural Tourism

Once again, listening to CBC has led me to another link involving Aboriginal Culture. Aboriginal Tourism BC is an organization designed to promote cultural tourism in BC through training and promotion. It appears to be run almost entirely by First Nations people from all over the province. Their goal is to promote authentic tourism experiences while preserving First Nations cultural heritage. Their Action Plan outlines the programs that are available, including some training programs that would provide First Nations communities with technology skills to promote and provide the cultural opportunities for consumers. Klahowya Village in Stanley Park is one of their very successful efforts. Personally I’m inclined to see this as a positive effort to benefit economically and share culturally, providing that First Nations communities are able to maintain control of the product. Sponsors include some major corporations that may not generally be assumed to be culturally sensitive. I wonder if some of the corporate language is in-line with First Nations values. I wonder if, when First Nations from 6 regions in BC are working together if they are able to retain their uniqueness. However, when I visit other parts of the world, I truly enjoy and appreciate the cultural tourism opportunities and I always hope they are authentic and benefit the people that are sharing. No doubt there are varying opinions on this initiative.

A podcast with Jo-Ann Episkenew and Shelagh Rogers

In this podcast, Shelagh Rogers interviews a number of Saskatchewan writers that offer varying perspectives on prairie life and the prairie landscape. Her last interview is with Jo-Ann Episkenew, regarding her award winning book, Taking Back our Spirits. Episkenew is both an author and a Professor at First Nations University of Canada in Regina and a member of the Regina Riel Metis Council. She talks about her own education experience and about her realization that much of what is taught in school stems from a mistaken belief that all knowledge stems from classical Greece, denying or ignoring the fact that active and vital cultures have thrived all over the planet for thousands of years, with and without Western “knowledge”. In sharing the literature and her studies and her love of reading, she attempts to shed light on the actual history and literature of Aboriginal people with an eye to promoting healing. Ultimately she is hopeful. The indigenous stories are being told and many Canadians are keen to understand the past and present realities of First Nations in Canada. What continues to strike me is how recent all of trauma from colonial policies and residential schools is. Policies continue to smack of discrimination. On another CBC radio show today, it was noted that although Inuit Dancers were invited to perform for the Royal Tour, no Treaty Nations were invited. As Episkenew states, when Prime Minister Harper says that Canada has no Colonial history, he denies the fact that Canadian policies, in effect, continue the colonization process.

Module 2- The Mikmaw concordat

This book serves as a means of filling in the blanks often found in European centric history textbooks.  The book discusses an array of subjects such as religious studies, law, intellectual history, oral history, and the varying perspectives of the arrival in America by Columbus in the 15th century up to the Mi’Kmaw concordat in the 17th century.  A unique perspective present in this text is the analysis of the relationship between the Mi’kmaq people and the Holy Roman Empire.

Henderson, James Youngblood. The Míkmaw concordat . Halifax, N.S.: Fernwood, 1997. Print.

Module 2- We were not the Savages

In his book, “We were not the Savages,” Daniel Paul traces back the history of his Mi’Kmaq people in relation to pre, during and post European contact.  In doing so, he speaks of the great loss suffered by his ancestors (70-100 million dead) at the hand of European invaders and how such disrespect and dishonor continues in present day Canada.  In his book, Paul uses the term “pre-Columbian contact” as opposed to “pre-European contact” to describe time periods for it has been recorded that Scandinavian contact had been made in generations prior to the Columbus era.  There had been many counts of blonde haired blue-eyed Natives who in fact dressed up as English and French soldiers and were able to go unnoticed!

The book continues with a description of events that followed the contact that consisted mainly of a greed for goods from the land; gold, furs, and property.  A term also used for the Native people of North America were, “heathen savages” a term Paul says, was coined as a means of belittling the impact of slaughtering a nation of people.

Paul, Daniel. We were not the savages: First Nation’s History. 3rd ed. Canada: Fernwood Publishing, 2006. Print.

Defenders of the Land

Defenders of the Land is a network of Indigenous communities and activists that stretches across Canada.  It includes Elders and youth, women and men, was founded in Winnipeg in 2008.

According to the group’s website, Defenders is the ‘only’ organization of its kind.  The group is:
  • Indigenous-led
  • Free of government or corporate funding
  • Dedicated to building a fundamental movement for Indigenous rights.
From their website:
“We reject the extinguishment of Aboriginal title through treaty, and any interpretations of historical treaties which falsely claim, against the united voices of our elders and ancestors, that we have extinguished title to our traditional territories.”
On June 24, 2010, the day before G20 summit in Toronto, Defenders of the Land and other Indigenous groups, marched in protest against the hosting of the summit on stolen native (Mississauga) soil and made the following demands:
1. Canada must adopt and fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
2. Canada must change its Comprehensive Land Claims policy
3. Canada must stop criminalizing Indigenous Peoples for defending their rights
4. Canada and the provinces must take coordinated action to investigate the ongoing murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women
5. Canada must comply with our right to say no to all activities on Indigenous territories that commodify the sacred: air, land, water, animals, plant and genetic materials, and our traditional ecological knowledge.
The march drew some media attention, but ended up being overshadowed by the G20 riots. The use of media by Defenders (a website, You Tube postings) has been met with limited public engagement.  Despite the group’s ambitious agenda, Defenders of the Land is not widely recognized in Canada.  Some in the left wing media, impressed by the activist agenda of this group, have tried to increase the profile of Defenders; however, this type of publicity and promotion has not been very successful.  The group is a good illustration of how unconventional Aboriginal groups can end up being marginalized by the mainstream media.

Geronimo is not dead – he was not killed in Pakistan

On May 1, 2011, Osama Bin Laden was tracked down and killed by U.S. Navy Seals in Pakistan.  In confirming their kill, the Seals sent a short, coded message to President Barack Obama which read:

“Geronimo-E   K.I.A.” [Killed in Action]

To many Indigenous people around the world, the use of the legendary warrior’s name as a stand-in for the notorious Bin Laden was an insult. For Dallas Goldtooth and Ryan Red Cord of the sketch troupe ‘the 1491’s’ that code inspired more than outrage — it led to a performance poem entitled ‘Geronimo-E K.I.A.’ that has become popular on YouTube.  (the 1491’s hail from Oklahoma and Minnesota).

Click here to play a recent radio interview given by Dallas Goldtooth to Rick Harp, host of Urban Nation Live on Winnipeg’s Streetz FM.

In the interview Dallas describes Geronimo as a powerful symbol of RESISTANCE to American imperialism and development.  Geronimo represents the fight against destructive forces in Aboriginal communities.

Naturally, Geronimo is revered by some, but not all.  Some First Nations dread the man because of his violent ways, specifically towards opposing tribes.  To Goldtooth and Red Corn, the persona and icon of Geronimo represents much more.

Goldtooth explains: there is anger and frustration to what was communicated to the President and the poem is a response to that, but it also conveys the idea that Indian people have not been defeated. In the present, many Aboriginals do significant work towards change, and in doing so they prove that Geronimo was not killed in Pakistan.

Central to the poem is the belief that Indigenous people around the world are part of the resistance that was once displayed by Geronimo.  The video concludes with the following poignant message:

“We chase his legacy, not his truth.  Neither will be caught, but one of them can be made up.”

Why the U.S. military would use Geronimo as a code name for Bin Laden is mind-boggling. Aboriginals have struggled mightily and this incident is symptomatic of the struggle by mainstream America to marginalize First Nations cultures.  The creative use of YouTube to respond to the hurt caused by the insensitivity of the U.S. military makes this endeavor worth studying if researchers are interested in the evolving relationship between Aboriginals and the media.

image source:

The Belinda Stronach Foundation

The Belinda Stronach Foundation (TBSF) website discusses the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program with reference to providing laptops to Aboriginal students in Canada. On this website the positive aspects of providing laptops to aboriginal youth is supported through a variety of quotes from sources such as the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. The TBSF website describes programs which have been developed to be used with the laptops provided to Aboriginal students. The focus of these programs involve literacy, a virtual library, financial literacy, physical education, nutrition, water safety, mental health issues, and a science of sound program. The main goal of Canada’s OLPC program is to increase the connectivity between people living in Aboriginal communities. I found this website very intriguing because it discusses the provision of laptops to Aboriginal communities as entirely positive. This website does not discuss any potential negative aspects of providing laptops to Aboriginal communities nor does it discuss any of the contention which surrounds technology and Aboriginal culture.