Author Archives: Claudia Marchessault

My name is Claudia and I'm located in Toronto, Ontario. I am an elementary school teacher at a private institution in Oakville -- a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Toronto. This year, and for the past 3 years, I taught Grade 6 and next year, I will be moving down a grade to Grade 5. In my spare time, I am a bit of a foodie and I've recently begun capturing and sharing my adventures in food on Instagram. If you're an IG-er, feel free to check me out

Module 2 – Post 5: Indigenous Women’s Use of YouTube

This is another report on a related topic to to my previous on Digital Storytelling and YouTube. In this report, Sonja Perley analyzes the representation and participation of First Nations women in online videos. It examines several YouTube videos created by First Nations women as well as two First Nation websites in order to assert claims that as it becomes increasingly easy to create and upload videos, there are new opportunities for First Nation women to represent their perspectives, to challenge mainstream representations of First Nations peoples and issues, and to promote social change.

Module 2 – Post 4: Using Online Strategies for Preserving Aboriginal Languages

I’ve been having a difficult time finding much academic writing about social media use by indigenous communities, but I discovered a dissertation by a student at the University of Washington that explores the impact of social media on indigenous language in the northern Quebec community of Inukjuaq. The doctoral thesis investigates Inuit language preferences on an English‐interface social network and examines the conflicting attitudes of youth and elders toward the linguistic consequences of engaging with such a powerful online influence.  (You may need to sign in through UBC’s Library CWL in order to access the link…)

Inuktitut online in Nunavik

Module 2 – Post 3 Indigenous Digital Storytelling On YouTube

The above article focuses on how contemporary Inuit youth are using video-sharing sites like Youtube to post short excerpts from their lives and connect with others. The article asserts that the videos they share fit with conceptions of indigenous storytelling, showing that Internet technology enables indigenous users the freedom to bypass established rules and institutions of cultural representation. It is argued that these self-produced videos are more authentic expressions of indigenous selfhood than those texts that may have circulated in the past. As such, this article seems to suggest that Indigenous youth and young adults use video-sharing technology to creatively mediate pasts, presents, and futures in the creation of new social worlds.

Module 2 – Post 2: First Nation Use of

The following link is to a 2009 report titled How Northern Ontario’s First Nation communities made themselves at home on the World Wide Web by Phillip Budka, Brandi Bell, and Adam Fiser.  The report examines the findings of an online survey of more than a thousand MyK‐Net (a loosely structured system of personal homepages that was established by indigenous communities) users, which revealed that subscribers considered to be their most important communication medium, over telephone, television and community radio. It identifies the tremendously high level of participation by First Nations individuals on various social media forums and illustrates the proclivity of some First Nations people for this kind of connectivity.


Module 2 – Post 1: Social Media as a Tool for Inclusion

This is a report of the findings of research commissioned by Human Resources and Skill Development Canada. The study sought to determine the extent, nature and benefits of social media use by vulnerable populations – Aboriginal peoples being one of those populations — and by the institutions that serve them, and to explore the extent to which such media help to overcome social isolation and barriers to inclusion in Canadian society. The report suggests that First Nations and Inuit peoples have embraced social media to keep in touch with their communities, fight addiction, showcase Aboriginal arts and crafts, preserve cultural identity and support political advocacy.

Module 1- Post 5: FirstMile

The FirstMile is a website developed by a partnership between the University of New Brunswick and three First Nations organizations that provide broadband and digital services to communities in their respective regions.  The website focuses on providing connectivity from the perspective of a community of First Nations with the underlying goal that broadband systems are established by and used deliver services to their own communities. The website offers community success stories, news, research publications, and other resources relating to matters of First Nation ownership, control, access to local broadband networks and the data flowing through them.  It provides an interesting look at the way in which First Nations communities are attempting to reframe broadband development and infrastructure in First Nations and inuit communities.

Module 1- Post 4: First Nations Innovation

Exploring the subject of First Nations sovereignty, specifically as it relates to information and communications technology, I visited First Nations Innovation.  First Nations Innovation is a website directed to remote and rural First Nation communities which are using broadband networks and information and communications technologies. The website offers many publications and resources that offer interesting insight into the push for First Nation ownership, control, access and possession of ICT tools, infrastructure and capacity as well as examples of how First Nations are using technologies for community, social and economic development.

Module 1- Post 3: Community Resilience Through Social Media Use

Ever since I stumbled on the Idle No More movement, I’ve become really interested in social media use by Indigenous people.  Of course, social media is a platform widely used in order to find an audience for airing grievances, but with social media’s capacity for connecting and mobilizing groups, I sought out examples of how Indigenous groups were using this to their advantage.  I came across a study, Research in Brief: Social Media in Remote First Nations Communities, that explores the link between social media and community resilience among some of the most remote First Nation communities in Canada.  The study goes in to quite a bit of depth about the the links between travel and communication online, the ways in which social media are used to preserve culture and maintain communication, and the implications of social networking for community resilience.

Module 1- Post 2: Culture Clash? Meet First Nations Hip Hop Artist Drezus

After completing the first week’s readings, I thought about how it was that computers were at least partly to blame for transmitting the messages, images, and values which are incongruent with and degrading to traditional First Nations/Native culture. After last week’s discovery of Idle No More, decided to explore some of the other ways First Nation/Native people have co-opted computer technology and social media for their own purposes. YouTube proved to be an interesting resource for this objective.

I watched several promotional-style videos urging individuals to support the peaceful revolution behind the Idle No More movement, but one video in particular stuck out for me.

The video is a music video by Drezus for a song called Red Winter. Drezus is a Plains Cree-Saulteaux veteran hip hop artist and he presents quite an enigma with the cultural boundaries he simultaneously blurs and reinforces in this video.

A sample of his lyrics are telling:

My skins red, I bleed red, I‟m seeing red/
I’m praying for my people out there who haven’t seen it yet/
His blood is cold, tellin lies forever told/
By his ancestors 500 years ago/
Yeah I said it, got my people getting restless/
Making money off our land and we aint even on the guest-list/
Carry on traditions of a racist pilgrim/
And I know you really love it when my people play the victim/
Cause it makes it seem like we‟re folding under pressure/
But we’re up to bat now no more playing catcher/
Cause we see the bigger the picture that we have to capture/
See how quick we get together? We out to get ya!

This could be a useful piece of evidence for anyone analyzing cultural influence via computers/the media.

Module 1- Post 1: Idle No More: Social Media and First Nations

In recent months, Canada has loosened its regulations with regards to what constitutes “Canadian content” for broadcast on Canadian channels. Faye Ginsberg’s reading in the second week of this course prompted me to want to dig a little deeper into the topic of indigenous sovereignty in Canadian media. I wondered whether any part of this new definition of “Canadian content” reflected the First Nations/Native elements of Canada’s population. Interestingly, the first hit after a simple Google search was the Idle No More Movement.

Although I didn’t find any answers regarding the definition of “Canadian Content”, the movement is an interesting one insofar as First Nations/Native people used the power of social media to prompt the mobilization of people behind the cause.

It’s worth a look for anyone who might be interested in First Nations and social media. It’s also worth searching up the hashtag #idlenomore on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites.