Planners Network: The Organization of Progressive Planning may not be a website that comes to mind as a source for information on indigenous issues, but it has a great article on urban indigeneity from an urban planners perspective. Indigeneity: A Cornerstone of Diversity Planning in Canadian Cities
It discusses some collaborative projects between aboriginal groups and city planners to develop more aboriginal friendly urban communities that will support aboriginal aspirations and self-determination.
The article identifies five priorities:
- Citizen Participation and Engagement.
- Governance Interface between Municipal Government and Aboriginal Peoples
- Aboriginal Culture as a Municipal Asset
- Economic and Social Development
- Urban Reserves, Service Agreements and Regional Relationships
Priority #3 is interesting. The author noted that normally urban aboriginals are portrayed in terms of social problems, so the concept of treating their culture as an asset requires a very welcome shift in thinking.
I think this aligns very well with module 4.
Creative Spirits is a website built by and for the Aboriginal people of Australia. This website introduces all things Aboriginal in Australia including art and culture to health and history. Related to this unit I found the section on land to be an especially good introduction and noted how closely linked the struggle of Aboriginals in Australia is to Aboriginals in North America. The section titled the “Meaning of Land to Aboriginal People” discussed the role the land played to Aboriginal people in the past and their vision for land going forward. The site is largely self contained and I found few external links of note.
The Urban Aboriginal Primitive Technology Studies & Practice page is a site targeting urban indigenous people that provides information on how to make things like dreamcatchers, crossbows, cattail visors, shelters and pretty much everything other traditional aboriginal practice you could think of.
Although there is no vision statement included, it appears that the goal of the website is to support the development of traditional skills by offering resources and instructional materials (often in video format) among people who do not have opportunities to learn these practices through elders or community members.
The site demonstrates a practical approach to technology and how it can be used to support cultural transmission. It fits in well (I think) with the focus of Module 4.
The Urban Aboriginal Peoples Study is a research project whose goal is to explore the “values, experiences and aspirations” of indigenous people living in Canadian urban areas.
It includes reports specific to a number of Canadian cities (Edmonton, Winnipeg, Vancouver, etc) that have a large indigenous population as well as providing a number of other studies, media and resources covering urban indigenous issues.
The site also released Key Findings based on their research. Here is a summary of a few of them:
- Most urban aboriginals feel comfortable in the city but still are connected to their traditional homes.
- Most urban aboriginals have minimal fear of losing their culture.
- Racism and dealing with negative stereotypes from non-aboriginals was a factor in the lives of many urban aboriginals.
The site is worth investigating if you are researching urban indigeneity.
A section of the Parks Canada website is designated to outlining Aboriginal cultures and their relationship to the land and understanding of the cultural landscape. This section of the website reads like a university paper (including academic sources) and contains a description of various aspects of the Aboriginal relationship to the land (i.e. differences between Aboriginal and Western worldview and Aboriginal views on environmental protection etc.). There are no external links but the site does provide an email for comments about anything written in this section. This actually provides a good introduction and overview that would be beneficial to anyone looking for a basic introduction regarding Aboriginal relationship to the environment.
Finding Dawn is a documentary highlights the struggles of Aboriginal women in Canada and the hardships many of these women face of a daily basis.
Reflecting on a recent Globe and Mail article “The National Shame of Aboriginal Incarceration,” and the disheartening statistic that one in three incarcerated women in Canada is of Aboriginal descent, the patterns of violence and abuse in this film are often, sadly, unsurprising. Finding Dawn is an attempt at putting a face on the (estimated) 500 Aboriginal women that have disappeared within the last 30 years (by many accounts, this estimate is far too low). This travesty has been highlighted many times over the years by many organizations, including Amnesty International, the United Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and numerous others.
Struggles continue in the efforts to bring justice to this situation. Just a few days ago, two Aboriginal groups in British Columbia declared their boycott of the Missing Women Inquiry as inadequate resources are being offered by the government.
(Please note is an extra post, beyond the 5 required for Module 4, but seeing as it’s written it may as well be contributed)
MediaIndigena is a content aggregate blog (or, an “interactive media magazine”) that I have found useful throughout the past 13 weeks for keeping an ear to the ground on the myriad of topics that have been brought up through our discussions and readings. The site is authored by ten individuals with very different backgrounds and professions (of which you can read about by clicking their names), sort of like the ETEC521 research blog but hopefully not about to culminate it’s posting cycle! If you’re interested in keeping up with MediaIndigena, they’re also available via twitter and facebook, and, following those links you’re sure to snowball to other such blogs, websites, and organizations.
The City of Vancouver’s department of Social Planning has created a directory of Aboriginal resources entitled: Aboriginal Inventory of Services and Context. The website helps city staff and Vancouverites develop an understanding of the activities and stakeholders relating to Aboriginal issues within Vancouver. The directory is intended to help Vancouverites make informed decisions about how the City can best support the Aboriginal community.
Each report (see partial list below) provides: a) relevant background on each topic b) a list of the organizations and communities involved with that topic and c) info on partnerships, committees, trends, and gaps in services
Much of the research cited in the reports was conducted by locals and provides excellent information about Vancouver’s Indigenous communities that isn’t readily available anywhere else. I found this site to be indispensable in writing my paper about Vancouver’s urban Aboriginal youth. Here are some of the documents (of dozens) available on the site:
- Coast Salish First Nations html PDF
- Outreach and Engagement html PDF
- Arts, Culture & Multimedia html PDF
- Education html PDF
- Elders html PDF
- Two-Spirit / LGBTQ html PDF *Some Aboriginal people refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gendered people as Two-spirited.
In 2009, now PhD student at UBC and video speaker from Module 2 of Etec 521, Amy Parent completed her Master’s thesis: Keep them coming back for more: Urban Aboriginal Youth’s perceptions and experiences of Wholistic education in Vancouver.
The goal of the thesis was to gain insight into the experiences of Aboriginal youth who were participating in Aboriginal organizations in Vancouver.
Amy also published a community report that is available on the Vancouver based Urban Native Youth Association website. This 8 page report summarizes the 196 page dissertation that she submitted and contains key findings and lessons learned from the youth.
In writing her thesis, Parent hoped that it would encourage development of a wholistic educational framework for Aboriginal youth which pursues the goal of transformative praxis by honouring Indigenous culture within a positive, empowering and generative contemporary urban context. I’ve read both the report and the thesis and can tell you that her research was exhaustive, thought-provoking, and ground-breaking.
Of note, Parent add a fifth R (relationships) to the well-received Four R research framework put forward by Kirkness & Barnhardt (1991). These authors argued that research in Aboriginal communities should be reciprocal, relevant, responsible, and respectful. For Parent, the fifth R allows her to maintain relational accountability to her family, clan (Nisga’a), and community.
I recommend the study for anyone who is looking for an extensive literature review of leading Indigenous research. Additionally, Amy’s findings on urban Aboriginal youth are thoughtfully framed by an explanation of wholistic education that is second to none. Finally, the commentary, stories, and interjections about her guide, the Raven, is worth the price of admission on its own.
Raven’s Children and Raven’s Children II were both published by the McCreary Centre Society (MCS). MCS is a nongovernment, non-profit organization involved in improving the health of B.C. youth through research, education and community-based projects
In 1992, MCS conducted the first Adolescent Health Survey (AHS) with close to 16,000 youth in schools throughout B.C. In 1998, MCS conducted the second AHS with approx 26,000 students. In 2003, MCS conducted the 3rd AHS with over 30,500 youth. Raven’s Children II, combines the data from responses of more than 4,800 Aboriginal students who took part in province-wide youth health surveys in 1992, 1998 and 2003.
The report was written under the direction of Kim van der Woerd of the Namgis First Nation. Kim is a Ph.D. Candidate at Simon Fraser University. Here are some interesting findings from the 2003 AHS that was published in 2005:
- Most Aboriginal students rate their health as good or excellent.
- Most Aboriginal students feel strongly connected to their families and school.
- Nearly two-thirds want to continue their education beyond high school.
- Almost three-quarters regularly participate in organized extracurricular activities.
The authors of Raven’s Children II noted that while Aboriginal youth have made some progress in rates alcohol consumption, smoking, pregnancy, there are issues that continue to pose a significant challenge for youths, parents, educators, Aboriginal leaders, and government: Problem Areas –
- One in five Aboriginal students experienced racial discrimination.
- Too many Aboriginal youth think about or attempt suicide and rates have not improved in the past decade.
- Too many Aboriginal students, especially girls, continue to experience sexual and physical abuse.
- Fewer youth reported feeling safe at school in 2003 than in 1998.
Raven’s II is a very comprehensive report, but it’s also very easy to read. I recommend it for anyone who is searching for up-to-date and extensive information about the health of BC’s Aboriginal children