MODULE 2 WEBLOG – EDENIA LAI

Module two focuses on the theme of stereotypes and the commodification of indigenous social reality. As I reflected on the readings this week, I was inspired to look into the tools that have been used for indigenous self-representation and their impact, both positive and negative on indigenous communities.

Indigenous Corporate Training
Link: https://www.ictinc.ca/blog/value-of-engaging-with-indigenous-communities-via-social-media

An interesting website I stumbled upon was Indigenous Corporate Training (ICT). ICT offers hundreds of articles, videos and e-books that share knowledge and information to make as it describes ‘the world a better place for both indigenous and non-indigenous people’. What led me to the site was the article titled ‘The Value of Engaging with Indigenous Communities via Social Media’.

The article speaks directly to the many benefits of using social media tools (Facebook, Twitter etc.) by indigenous communities that have bandwidth. Many of the benefits raised have already been touched on therefore I won’t outline them here. Interestingly enough though, the author points to the role of social media in promoting community transparency. Suggesting as such, that each indigenous community should have a community engagement strategy that incorporates the use of social media (the article assumes rather naively that all indigenous communities have bandwidth). In fact, the website offers a training session focused on how to create an indigenous engagement plan!

Creative Spirits Website
Link: https://www.creativespirits.info/#axzz4kO6NXpIp

I admit I went down the rabbit hole when I found this website. As an online database, Creative Spirits offers a multitude of resources (indigenous movies, online articles, printable worksheets etc.) to support individuals in their exploration of indigenous culture. Many of the statements advertised on the website were focused on bringing awareness to hidden Aboriginal successes that mainstream media ignores, including a litany of articles focused on the role of social media in promoting education and health. Of notable mention is the role of social media in preventing isolation, suicide and self-harm.

CBC News (Politics)
The Canadian Press. (2012, July 11th). Aboriginal social media shapes race for national chief. CBC News. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/aboriginal-social-media-shapes-race-for-national-chief-1.1282129

The topic of Aboriginal politics is a subject matter covered frequently by the CBC. However I wanted to bring the following article forward as it pertains to this week’s reading. The article highlights the role of social media in supporting the political race of candidates in Canada and its effect on building a more engaged community of voters. To clarify, the article highlights how social media is bridging the gap of space/time for political community engagement. Historically, campaigns leading up to a vote have been conducted by phone, print media or in person. However new media (Twitter and Facebook) and the creation of the APTN are giving candidates additional avenues of communication. All around, I found this article to be a fascinating read.

Literature review: Colonialism is bad for your health…but indigenous media can help.
Parker, C. J. (2016). Colonialism is bad for your health… but indigenous media can help. Fourth World Journal, 14(2), 27-35.

I was interested in the role of social media as it pertains to the promotion of health and well-being after reviewing the Creative Spirits website. Courtney Parker has written an excellent literature review of institutional barriers that can contribute to poor health (For instance, communication and language barriers that result from ineffective translation services which can impact both patient care and treatment). Parker advocates for indigenous media as being an essential service in communities. Social media in this light is not optional, but a requirement for healthy and thriving indigenous communities.

The portrayal of Indigenous health in selected Australian media
Goodman, J., Daube, M., & Stoneham, M. J. (2014). The portrayal of indigenous health in selected australian media. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 5(1)

The literature I’ve read to date has portrayed media as having a positive and impactful role in building social cohesion, community life and health and well-being initiatives in indigenous communities. Therefore it was an eye opening read to review Jodie Goodman’s article on the media’s role in portraying consistent and crushingly negative portrayals of indigenous health in Australia. After reading the article, I was very keen to understand how these stereotypes can lead to a decreased quality in care of indigenous people by health professionals across the country.

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