This website is designed to be a resource on Canadian Inuit Culture for Canadian school-aged children and their teachers. The site contains cultural information as text, videos, and weblinks, it also contains downloadable worksheets for classroom use. Created by the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Center, this site was funded by the Canadian Heritage Gateway Fund.
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.
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.
In research for my final paper I came across a section of the CBC website called Stolen Children: Truth and Reconciliation. Essentially this site is exactly what it sounds like, a site that documents basic information about Residential schools, ongoing news related to Residential schools and efforts for reconciliation between Aboriginal groups and Aboriginal peoples. There are not a lot of external links but most of the links within the site direct the viewer to various news articles and video clips. This site is a good but brief intro to the history of Residential schools in Canada and ongoing efforts for reconcile.
Many reports and studies over the last 10 years indicate that most of Canada’s Indigenous languages are declining and are at risk of extinction. Onowa McIvor in 2009 reported that at first European contact there were an estimated 450 aboriginal languages and dialects, now there are only about 60 languages still spoken. Statistics Canada reported in 2001 that North American Indians with the ability to converse in their native language fell from 20% in 1996 to 16% in 2001.
The Assembly of First Nations in 2007 reported that there are only 3 First Nations languages expected to survive: Cree, Objibway and Inuktitut and in 1998 declared a state of emergency on First Nations languages. They also developed a National First Nations Language Strategy and a National First Nations Language Implementation Plan.
The Northwest Territories has the most advanced Aboriginal language legislation and policies in Canada supported by the 1984 Official languages Act. In 1999 the NWT Literacy Council published “Languages of the Land” A resource manual for individuals and communities interested in Aboriginal language development. In 2010, the Government of the NWT published an Aboriginal Languages Plan to set out a framework for strengthening their nine aboriginal languages over the next decade.
British Columbia has 32 of Canada’s First Nations languages and about 59 dialects. At the time of colonization in BC 100% of the First Nations people were fluent in at least one language. This number has dropped dramatically since the late 1800’s to just 5% today. The First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council published a report on the Status of BC First Nations Languages in 2010 with a real need to act to save and preserve what is left.
One common theme throughout all of these reports is to find opportunities for youth to connect and communicate in their native language with fluent speakers and elders. This can be done through immersion camps, language nests and other intergenerational ties.
In Aboriginal Education- Past and Present, a TVO production, facilitated by Cheryl Jackson, in the Fort William Community Center in Thunder Bay, Dolores Wawia, a Professor at Lakehead Univeristy, Goyce Kakegamic, educator and former chief, and Michelle Derosier, social worker and filmmaker offer their perspectives of the past and future of Aboriginal Education. They discuss the experiences that they’ve had with residential schools, that include racism, oppression and abuse and how even though today’s students may have not gone to residential schools they still deal with the trauma that the experience has had on their families and their communities. They discuss ways of gaining more control over curriculum and teaching to ensure the Aboriginal students can more successful. Educators need to be more culturally sensitive and having First Nations teachers in positions to teach Aboriginal students and aboriginal studies, will promote that. Educators need to provide opportunities for Aboriginal students to see themselves as capable students. That requires a system that responds to and respects their needs and their culture. For example, Ms. Wawia talks about the importance of extended families and a culture of non-interference, that may not be understood by non-aboriginal educators. When considering what is the might be useful for young children in my school district, these cultural differences and the essential role that is played by families and community is critical. It’s also essential to realize that the residential school legacy is still with us and will be for a long time to come.
Academica Group is a Canadian based research and marketing consultancy focused on post-secondary education. They conduct research, and highlight trends for post-secondary institutes to help them map out the changing roads ahead. They provide a free subscription service called Top Ten, a daily news brief. Many post-secondary institute leaders, managers and administrators subscribe to this service for daily updates. I have been scanning the daily updates of Top Ten for a while and have noticed since starting ETEC 521, that there is a fair amount of news related to indigenous education in Canada. Here are some recent news items that came up with the following search terms:
- National call to action on Aboriginal education, June 21, 2011
- Number of Aboriginal graduates would soar if learning gap closed, says activist, June 9, 2011
- $1-million gift supports Laurentian Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, June 22, 2011
- MUN med school looking to increase Aboriginal student enrolment, June 14, 2011
- Brandon U new member of University of the Arctic, June 21, 2011
- UBC, UVic develop Web portals focusing on Aboriginal community, Feb 10, 2011
- UCN president reportedly pushed out over opposition to mandatory Aboriginal course, Jan 13, 2011
- UVic professor’s lecture sparks FBI call, Jan 11, 2011
- Report sets out national goals for Inuit education, June 17, 2011
- Nunavik school board planning college-level program for Inuit youth, Nov 9, 2010
- NOSM, MNO partnership aims to increase enrolment of Métis students, May 27, 2011
- Boréal opens Centre Louis-Riel, Nov 23, 2011
My favorite part of the Academica site is the work of Ken Steele, Senior Vice-President, Education Marketing. Ken does a roadshow and if you ever have the chance to see one of his presentations on the future trends in post-secondary education, it is well worth the time spent. Ken has U-tube channel where he gathers higher education commercials and lip dubs including UBC’s LipDub. Many of these commercials are thought provoking including Ontario Colleges Obay commercial.
UBC has an Aboriginal Portal that provides information about anything Aboriginal at UBC. The landing page has a welcome video from Larry Grant, Musqueam Elder, Resident Elder at UBC First Nations House of learning and Adjunct Professor in the First Nations Language program. Of particular interest to module three, are the research pages. This includes current faculty, student and community research projects. The site also has access to the Xwi7xwa Library; the only dedicated Aboriginal branch of a university library in Canada.
CBC has an Aboriginal portal called CBC Aboriginal. To start, the site has a listing of current top headlines, for example on June 17, 2011 here were a few of the listed news items:
- First Nations people now covered under rights act
- Canada’s Inuit leaders unveil education strategy
- First Nations disparity unacceptable: AG
The site also has regular sections such as Promote: Legends series started in 2002, Special features such as Truth and Reconciliation, Arts and Culture, Radio featuring ReVision Quest, the Legends Project, and Spotlight featuring Aboriginal Artists.
This site also has links to Learning the Path: for aboriginal youth, Ab-Originals: Aboriginal Music, CBC North: Daly programing in Aboriginal Languages, CBC Archives: Aboriginal related television and radio clips, the Aboriginal section of the National Film Board of Canada and In Depth features such as History of Aboriginal Canadians.
This is a great site to find out about Canadian Aboriginal issues both past and present.
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.