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 ‘Educator’s Guide to American Indian Perspectives in Natural Resources‘ is a down loadable PDF book that purports to blend traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) with western science and gives important background information regarding tribal use and management of natural resources. Reading it should empower educators to feel comfortable and confident in including the perspective of the native population in their high school science programs. The following are a sample of the questions addressed in the resource:
- What is the rationale for including Native perspectives in a natural resource program?
- What are some differences between scientific and Native American ways of knowing or understanding of the environment?
- Did low population densities affect the historical use and management of resources? How do current population stresses affect tribal use and management practices?
- What are the best and most appropriate ways to partner with local tribes? What ethical considerations may be necessary?
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.
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.
The National Film Board (NFB) of Canada has a web page devoted to high school and upper elementary students and teachers called Aboriginal Perspectives. It has NFB aboriginal documentaries from 1940 – 2004 with critical commentaries on the issues presented. The site has several themes including:
- The Arts
- Cinema and Representation
- Colonialism and Racism
- History and Origins
- Indigenous Knowledge
- Sovereignty and Resistance
I viewed several of the excerpt clips under Cinema and Representation and found an interesting contrast in two clips about the Hudson Bay Company. In Caribou Hunters (1951) Manitoba Cree’s and Chipewan’s from the mainstream perspective, are shown happily trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of the Hudson’s Bay Company (1972), presents an honest view of how the Indians felt about the “value” they were getting from trading with the Bay. This is much different from the 1951 Caribou Hunter’s perspective.
The Aborignial Multimedia Society is a resource for all Aboriginal people in Canada. Their resources include career links, community events and links to scholarships (among other community resources). The main purpose of this website it a collection from Aboriginal publications across Canada. This provides an Aboriginal perspective to current news events and developments related to Aboriginal stories that might be missed by mainstream media. Within this there is also access to archives from previous news stories which makes this a valuable resource for educators.
Digital Drum is a website designed for media productions that represent Aboriginal culture and history or Aboriginal art. This is a website where the vast majority of content comes from the users themselves; however, some content is provided by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. This website also redirects visitors to educational resources and establishes digital literacy. Associated with this website is a community portion where members can create blogs and interact with one another. This website also redirects to Digital Drum Pro which is similar to Digital Drum but restricts itself to films.
The province of Manitoba has a strong foundation in Aboriginal education and offers a good example for other districts. It continues to offer its teachers: foundational training, professional development opportunities, and access to resources, in order to better support their growing number of aboriginal students. Here is a document recently distributed to all staff: Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives Into Currricula
I appreciate that there is an attempt being made to get this information into the hands of all teachers. As a teacher of 14 years within two districts, both with a large Aboriginal population, I have never once been provided with resources – I have always had to seek them out.