Tag Archives: Aboriginal Youth

Keep them coming back for more – Amy Parent

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 II: Aboriginal Youth Health in BC

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

Native Appropriations Blog

Native Appropriations is a blog with sharp (sometimes witty) social commentary on the ways in which Indigenous peoples of North America are portrayed in the imagery and imagination of popular media. Written Adrienne Keene, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a doctoral candidate at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, the blog is updated on a regular basis and because it is a fairly well-read blog, the debate that occurs in the post comments is often rich and sometimes fiery.

Keene was recently featured on Al Jazeera English’s social media program The Stream, in an episode titled “Don’t Trend On My Culture,” discussing cultural misappropriation:

 

 

 

ImagineNATIVE

http://www.imaginenative.org/

ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival is an international festival that celebrates the latest works by indigenous peoples on the forefront of innovation in film, video, radio, and new media. Each year in the fall, the festival presents some of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the world. The festival attracts and connects film makers, media artisists, and other industry professionals. The works accept reflect the diversity of the worlds Indigenous nations.

ImagineNATIVE is committed to dispelling stereotypical notions of Indigenous peoples through diverse media presentations from within our communities, thereby contributing to a greater understanding by audiences of Indigenous artistic expression. A youth workshop is offered for Aboriginal youth to learn the basics of machine cinema. There are many other activities that youth can be involved in such as the ImagineNATIVE Youth Video Contest.

This website is interesting for those who would like to learn more about Indigenous film and art. There is an extensive archive that contains many videos and images from past events and festivals.

SAY Magazine: For and about Native Youth

http://www.saymag.com/canada/4-this.php

SAY Magazine claims to be the largest national magazine for and about Native youth. They state that there is a need for a magazine for Native youth because the aboriginal population in Canada is projected to increase three times faster than the non-Aboriginal population and Aboriginal youth will represent a much larger share of the youth population over the next decade. They will also account for an increasing share of entrants into the workforce. There is a section on technology on the SAY Magazine website. It presents a number of aboriginal individuals who speak about technology and how it has impacted their lives. Kirk Mann is a member of Peguis First Nation. He also works for Status Solutions. He mentions that technology is important for him in helping out in his community. Brian Bull is another aboriginal individual. He is from the Nez Perce Nation. While there are many other mediums out there, Bull remains dedicated to broadcast journalism because it most closely follows the time-honored custom of oral tradition. He also states that technology is helping many tribes of preserve their history through digital recordings and high-resolutiont scans. Lastly, Scott Grossman is a speaker coordinator from Native Nations Events. He talks about the importance and benefits of technology use in the process of producing conferences. They are able to speak to tribal leaders as well as government officials. If one subsribes to this magazine, access to many more articles can be obtained. This magazine is very useful for those who are conducting research on Aboriginal youth networks and exploring the more topics surrounding Aboriginal youth today.

Technology and Globalisation for Indigenous Youth

http://www.unesco.org/ccivs/New-SiteCCSVI/institutions/jpc-youth/youth-open-forum/Section_for_Youth/Resources_and_tools/Other_documents_on_youth/OXFAM_INTERNATIONAL_YOUTH_PARLIAMENT/Chapter3_Indigenous_Youth.pdf

This article, written by Jasmine Bruce, discusses the submissions made to the International Youth Parliament’s Youth Commission into Globalisation (IYP Commission) from Indigenous young people and organizations working with Indigenous youth around the world. It focuses on the impact that globalisation has on upon the rights of people rather than a specific issue. On page 87, the role technology in globalisation for Indigenous youth is discussed. It states that “globalisation has both driven and been driven by developments in communication technologies, yet access to these technologies is far from equitable”. Many Indigenous people do not necessarily reap the benefits of developments in technology. When Indigenous young people gain access to technology, the challenge is to give culturally-valid meaning to the use of new technologies. Unless Indigenous people are involved with implementing the integration of technology into their communities, the technology may work against other aspects of their indigenous cultures. The article states that like other aspects of globalisation, technological advancements represent a double-edged sword for Indigenous youth. The technology also opens opportunities for Indigenous youth in the technology and knowledge-based industries and fosters youth Indigenous employment. They can also use technology to raise awareness about Indigenous rights and to create global youth networks. This article is very useful for anyone who is doing research on the impact of technology on Indigenous youth. It presents technology as a positive and negative influence on Indigenous youth globally.

Internet Technology and First Nations Education

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1RUesqalw4&playnext=1&list=PL96F8DAA1B6BC9C71

This video shows Denise Williams talking about internet technology can strengthen First Nations education. Williams is a youth initiative officer for the First Nations Education Steering Committee. One question she was asked is “How would you like to see internet technology used in First Nations education over the coming years?

Williams mentions that there is hope of being able to use the internet to bridge the gap between the teachers that are available to teach and those subjects areas that are still  in need of instructors (such science, math, and physics). The internet can allow for learning activities that involve video conference and Skype. Williams also mentions that with the internet, there is also hope for sharing resources between teachers and communities.

Another question for Williams is “How does the digital divide manifest itself in First Nations schools in BC?” Williams answers by saying that the digital divide in a community sense is different than the divide in education. She says in education, the divide is in the experience of the student. For example, many First Nations students go to school where they experience mainly textbook based learning with limited access and experience with internet activities that could enhance and further their educational experience.

The third question asked is “How does internet technology improve education for First Nations students?” Williams explains that students who are going to schools with internet connectivity and IT have a different perspective on what is possible in the world. They realize that there are different ways in which they can get their education and that they do not neccessarily need to leave their community to gain education. They also have the opportunity to view the possible careers that they can have that would enable them to work from home (such as webdeveloping and art-related careers). With technology, First Nations youth are able to see many more possibilities out there in the world and explore, for themselves, who they can become.

This video is very inspiring as it talks about the benefits of internet technology to First Nations youth in British Columbia. It would be a useful resource for anyone looking to explore more about the digital divide in BC, as well as the effects of broadband connection in remote communities in BC.

AYM Team – Aboriginal Youth Media Team

http://aymteam.com/index.html

AYM is a British Columbia-based organization that promote and share 21st century literacy skills. They strive to provide youth-friendly training in a culturally-relevant learning environment. The youth can connect with elders, other Aboriginal youth groups, and business mentors. They also strive to promote the diversity of Indigenous languages, cultures, and the ways of knowing and teaching. AYM also claims to decolonize and “Youth-enize” curriculum by including youth and elder voices, Indigenous knowledge, and technology to create a unique and inclusive learning environment.

AYM like to bring in community partners, elders, professional facilitators and guest speakers to teach and co-teach with Aboriginal youth. They encourage youth to put their new skills to work in non-profit organizationa or local bands as writers, reporters, videographers, website designers, and workshop facilitators.

The 21st century literacy skills mentioned above include digital literacy (using various technologies), interpersonal skills (the Coast Salish tradition of witnessing events), cultural literacy skills (re-learning and rediscovering the diversities of indigenous cultural traditions. Learning these literacy skills means that Aboriginal youth will be able to professional create, publish, and promote their own stories, media messages, and art in their own voices and styles.

This organizations sounds like a wonderful resource for Aboriginal youth in the lower mainland of BC. There is easy access to podcasts, online articles, videos, stories, and surveys. AYM reminds me somewhat of Module 3s video where a group of youth traveled down the Fraser River to explore and learn about culture and heritage. This organization seems to be able to do the same with youth.

Aboriginal Youth and Internet Technologies

http://arago.cprost.sfu.ca/smith/research/fncr/Youth.pdf

This paper is written by the First Nations Connectivity research team at SFU. It discusses aboriginal youth and internet technologies and the issues affecting remote communities of British Columbia. The article puts emphasis on youth as the wealth and wellbeing of young people will directly shape the future of all British Columbians. This reminds me of Module 3 where the topic of aboriginal youth and cultural preservation were discussed.

Broadband connectivity can play an important role in these various youth programs, as it helps remote communities work together to tackle major problems. This article also connects a range of youth issues to broader Aboriginal movements in BC, in order to demomstrate the interconnectedness of broadband uses in remote communities. Developing the infrastructure and knowledge-base needed to fully exploit the internet’s potential is largely inseparable from grassroots Aboriginal movements and initiatives.

This article would be useful for someone who is interested in investigating technology use in remote communities in British Columbia. It would also be interesting for someone who is doing research on Aboriginal youth and the effects of technology on cultural preservation revitalization.

Australia – Indigenous Affairs Master Class

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
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmRoEi7Mqos[/youtube]

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
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxEQSxwQnXE&NR=1[/youtube]
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!
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPOFPgIpGdY&feature=related[/youtube]

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.