Author Archives: Colleen Formisano

The Peoples Paths

There is a wealth of information on this site, including information on American Indian organizations, relevant legal updates, information on cherokee culture and a cherokee dictionary. The site is focused on, but not limited to, Cherokee culture. I found this statement on the site particularly interesting, in light of our discussions thus far in ETEC 521: “Progress is a wonderful thing! If we can keep some of the beliefs from the First People’s Cultures, that are alive and well, incorporated with the technology that leads to progress, it may help all peoples to live in a more harmonious world not only with Nature but with each other as well!”

There is a also a Cherokee language version of this site. The owner of the site recently died, but the site is available until May 2016 thanks to an anonymous donor.

Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage: Theory, Practice, Policy, Ethics

“The Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project is a seven-year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University. Our work explores the rights, values, and responsibilities of material culture, cultural knowledge and the practice of heritage research.” I find the blog, “Appropriation (?) of the month”, particularly interesting. There are also some excellent teaching resources that I will be fully investigating.



The author of this website, âpihtawikosisân, is Métis from the Plains Cree speaking community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. The site contains posts explaining how cultural appropriation affects indigenous peoples, such as An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses. The online learning resources  also look promising.

New Disney film to exploit the culture of Native Hawaiians?

I was lucky enough to be in Hawaii this week.  I heard on the news while I was there was that a local teenager, Auli’i Cravalho, had been cast as Moana in the upcoming Disney film. You can see a brief story/reaction here. This is important to ETEC 521 students as it is another media production that warrants critical analysis as to cultural authenticity, cultural appropropriation and commodification.



The U.S. Repatriation Foundation ( is  described as an Intercultural Partnership: it is a “non-federally funded, not-for-profit organization committed to the repatriation of American Indian ceremonial material.” The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act “requires federally funded institutions to repatriate ceremonial material, cultural patrimony, human remains, and associated grave goods”. Although it does not apply to the private sector, it seems to have had some influence in that sector. There is no such legislation in Canada, but there are examples of successful repatriation reached through negotiation: see and

Aboriginal Legal Aid in B.C.

The Aboriginal Legal Aid in B.C. site has many interesting resources available that are intended to educate indigenous peoples regarding the legal system and their legal rights. Of particular interest to ETEC 521 students is the Clear Skies video, which is an educational resource dealing with family violence. This video is very different to other videos on the Legal Services Society site (click here for an example) as it was designed with indigenous viewers in mind. The video was produced by the Healthy Aboriginal Network which is involved in other projects of interest, such as an App that triggers a video to deliver information via Augmented Reality Knowledge Transfer (avoiding text-heavy knowledge transfer). See more on this here.

Kwantlen First Nation website

The Kwantlen First Nation website contains brief information regarding the history and culture of the Kwantlen First Nation.  It also encourages Kwantlen First Nations members to join their private Facebook group. I thought it would be useful to consult information presented by indigenous peoples, rather than via sites connected with the government.

First Nations Technology Council (FNTC)

The Mandate of the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) is stated as being “to support the technology needs of First Nations in BC by engaging in activities to implement or enhance access to and use of technology services such as Connectivity, Capacity-Building, Information Management and Technology Support and Services”. The FNTC offers digital skills training to all First Nations communities in BC. They set themselves apart because they offer to travel to the communities rather than have people come to them.

The site links to The First Nations in BC Portal which fosters the sharing of knowledge and facilitates networking amongst First Nations individuals, communities and organizations”. This site also hosts a Directory that includes comprehensive lists of First Nations communities, organizations, and partners, which may be useful for future research.

First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)

The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)  is a “First Nations-controlled collective organization focused on advancing quality education for all First Nations learners”. I was drawn to this organization and the resources made available on the website because it is First Nations controlled. The site contains resources for the classroom, as well as some interesting videos from the Annual Provincial Conference on Aboriginal Education.

The FNESC organize events that educators may find useful, such as the upcoming Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation Workshop (intended to help educators teach about the topic in a well informed and appropriate way).

The site provides a link to the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Partners Group, which is “committed to improving access and success for all Aboriginal post-secondary students in BC”. This sounds like it should be required reading for educators working in the post-secondary sector.