Here are a list of videos that I found really interesting outlining Aboriginal astronomy. The history of the relationship between oral tradition and astronomy is presented visually. Such a resource would be useful within the classroom within activities that would require students to create visual representations of traditional narratives.
Dr. Lorna Williams is one of the leading experts on Aboriginal knowledge, learning, and teaching. She is currently the Research Chair in Indian Knowledge at U Vic. This audio recording is from the First Nations Education Steering Committee’s 2010 Conference.
In this powerful speech Dr. Williams discusses Aboriginal knowledge and ways of knowing. She discusses the ideas of: responsibility and relationship, and how these ideas relate to the holistic ideologies of Indigenous ways of learning and knowing.
She defines educational excellence as “knowing that one has the skills, gifts, knowledge, wisdom, and strength, to look after myself, my family, my community, and the land.”
She also discusses Aboriginal education’s cyclical, lifelong, communal nature. She explains how each and every one of us has gifts that need to be discovered and nurtured by all members of the community. Education is a responsibility that must be shared by all members of the community.
Hosted by Cape Breton University, this site provides a wealth of information for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals by serving as a repository of historical and up to date data. Some resources I found useful are the presentation of Mi’kmaq history, the time-line of important Mi’kmaq events, a list of related websites, and a collection of essays dealing with the Mi’kmaq culture.
One essay I found very interesting and insightful was written by Dr. Marie Battiste (1998) is entitled, “Enabling the Autumn Seed: Toward a Decolonized approach to Aboriginal knowledge, language, and education.”
This website is about Sophie Thomas, a respected Dakelh elder (Carrier Nation in the northern interior of BC) and traditional healer who was dedicated to teaching others about the traditional ways of using plants to heal. She has spoken at elementary schools, high schools, post-secondary institutions, and international conferences sharing her knowledge of herbs and advocating for the preservation of environment. The site contains descriptions of her book ‘Plants and Medicines’ and video ‘ The Warmth of Love, the 4 Seasons’. Sophie was to receive an honorary degree from the University of British Columbia in May 2010 but passed away in her 80s in March 2010.
First Nations Control of First Nations Education was released last summer by the Assembly of First Nations and chiefs from across Canada. Much like the documents released in 1972 and 2005, this document is intended to be used by Aboriginal leaders, bands, local school boards, and the Provincial and Federal governments as a comprehensive plan to address the critical education needs of Aboriginal students Canada wide – yet unmet since the publication of the last two documents.
It, like the other documents, outlines key areas to be addressed:
1. Access for all life-long learners to be taught and to learn in their first language,in curriculum which is grounded in Aboriginal beliefs, values and traditions.
2. Access to diverse educational programs over the continuum.
3. First Nations control of their education with the support of local, federal governments.
First Nations Education Action Plan – for Canada (2005) by the Assembly of First Nations. This is a follow up document to the ICIE. In its own words: “The vision of this plan is the development and implementation of sustainable education systems under the full control and jurisdiction of First Nations based on the recognition of inherent Aboriginal and treaty rights, and under international law.”
An excellent supporting document is a recent thesis document (2010) published by Martha E. Spence, at the Unversity of Toronto, which examines the impediments that colonialism has on the successful implementation of the First Nations Action Plan. Here is a link to the thesis:
This eBook – Aboriginal Education: Fulfilling the Promise – provides an excellent collection of articles discussing the state of Aboriginal education in Canada. There is a highly informative article on the history of Aboriginal education policy: “Towards a shared understanding in the policy discussion of Aboriginal education” by Frances Abele et al (p.3-24) which provides a fundamental place to begin when considering the transition from assimilation to self-governance.
It is not uncommon for high school students to be unsure about their options after graduation. For Aboriginal students, who may not have seen traditional ways of knowing or learning reflected in their school experience (As per Dr. Marker’s Four Winding Paths up the Mountain), post-secondary options can seem even more murky and the benefits and outcomes of higher education might not be immediately apparent. For students who successfully achieve their high-school education (or to inspire students who may be faltering in the later high school years) there are various opportunities to inspire and connect youth to college experiences as well as showcase Aboriginal role models in higher education settings and the workplace. In British Columbia, the provincial government connects Aboriginal youth to internship opportunities through their Aboriginal Youth Internship Program. College Horizons is an independent program in the United Stats that supports both undergraduate and graduate students to help navigate the “jungle” of admissions process and related requirements of college. Jared Whitney provides an article reflecting Indigenous perspectives on College admissions (via College Horizons). There are many other examples, many individual provinces and states have programs along with national-level opportunities.
Free the Children: Children Helping Children Through Education recently offered a week long, local series this past February focusing on the state of Aboriginal education, “from the schools on First Nations reserves struggling for support, to the students who face incredible odds in pursuit of a fair and quality education”. The site includes a series of videos designed to raise awareness of significant issues related to Aboriginal education, and offers lesson plans to raise awareness (around the world) to the state of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) education in Canada. The site provides lesson plans for elementary and secondary teachers to use with their students. Focus areas include: “traditions, culture, development, Aboriginals, community, awareness, geography, climate, survival, legislation, social justice and rights.”
Since we’ve had lengthy discussions lately about the World bank and it’s destructive efforts (behind the scenes), I thought I would include some positive examples that I found! The National Australian Bank is making efforts to acknowledge Aboriginal rights! Check out the two videos – two very different focuses – but both seem to be very uniquely positive!
NAB’s Indigenous Affairs Master Class – Terri Janke
Terri Janke deals with artwork Copyright. Where are you taking my art – beyond its cultural settings? Lots depends on whether or not they will allow their Indigenous Knowledge to become public knowledge, make it available and then it exists that breach of copyright happens and Indigenous art and Knowledge needs to be protected from the commercialization of culture – so this poses challenges. She speaks of copyright to protect Indigenous artists and talks about communal artwork and cultural expression – what is the artwork representing and who does it belong to?! However, Copyright tends to be more focused on individual rights vs communal, tribal, historical cultural expression and rights –Indigenous artists connect their works to their cultural stories and these connections are essential for Indigenous artists / peoples.
NAB’s Indigenous Affairs Master Class – Dr Chris Sarra
Dr. Chris Sarra talks about the role of the NAB institute in Australia, their work and how they are making strides in the education system to improve education for Aboriginal children. He talks about perceptions of the public and teachers of Aboriginal children and talks about the struggles Aboriginal students face regarding the typical stereotypes they are related to and they sometimes end up becoming unless teachers prevent this so that schooling can be a positive experience for Aboriginal and Indigenous children.
Another awesome video (Ted Talks) about Chris Sarra’s efforts: TEDxBrisbane Chris Sarra – All you need is…. TO DREAM
This is a very inspiring and uplifting video! From the two videos, I’ve come to believe that Chris Sarra is an excellent mentor and example of what can be accomplished by an Aboriginal if they believe in themselves and go for their dreams – sending a huge message of hope for Aboriginal children! He talks about the crucial role of the teacher furnishing or stifling dreams!
These videos and others like them that I’ve uncovered will make excellent additions to the research I’ve collected about my topic on Elders & Technology & the many dimensions that encompasses including how Elders relate to the youth today.