Author Archives: Dan

Module 1 / Post 5: Blackfoot Digital Library

The Blackfoot Digital Library is a repository of digital artifacts pertaining to the Blackfoot peoples. On this website you will find a dictionary of the Blackfoot language both written and spoken. There is also a long but interesting video on the Plains Sign Language that was filmed in 1930 featuring members from many different Plains Nations. The video is completely silent and features a video dictionary of terms from the Plains Sign Language.

It is interesting to watch and listen to these languages, however I find it challenging to understand since it is devoid of context. Language and culture are intertwined and to learn the various Blackfoot phrases from a website is merely an act of rote memorization. While a website can be an invaluable aid to preserve First Nations’ languages, I would imagine it is a challenge to actually learn those languages from the website.


Module 1 / Post 4: Ways of Knowing

Ways of Knowing is the third chapter in From Knowledge to Action: Shaping the Future of Curriculum Development in Alberta. This chapter attempts to define Indigenous ways of knowing and the considerations that need to be made for its incorporation into curriculum. This is another good starting point for my research project looking at the epistemology of Indigenous knowledge. It lists some of the various ways of knowing such as ethno‐mathematics, Indigenous language learning, cross‐generational learning and the role of Elders, and place‐based education.


Module 1 / Post 3: Indigenous Knowledge

Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy in First Nations Education: A Literature Review with Recommendations is a great starting point for my research into Indigenous ways of knowing. This article looks at various definitions of Indigenous knowledge, its structure and diversity, and Indigenous learning processes. The author also makes recommendations for honouring Indigenous knowledge and pedagogy in education. The author also provides an annotated bibliography (along with web links) focused on Aboriginal education resources. Unfortunately, not all the links work.


Module 1 / Post 2: Words First

Words First is a sort of style sheet for the use of words pertaining to Aboriginal peoples in Canada. It is a good resource for anyone who plans to write or learn about the First Nations in that it provides guidelines for the appropriate usage of terminology. For example, do not say “Canada’s Aboriginal people” as this implies ownership. It is preferable to use the neutral phrase “Aboriginal people in Canada”.

It should be noted that this document is published by the Communications Branch at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and it does not make reference to being endorsed by any First Nations. That being said, I would think that this document will prove helpful when it comes to my research project as well as any writing in this course.


Module 1 / Post 1: Indigitization

Indigitization is a website designed to provide BC First Nations communities with a toolkit to assist in the digitization of First Nations knowledge. The toolkit aims to provide guidance for First Nations communities that wish to safeguard and preserve their information and resources for future generations to access. Much of the information in the toolkit is concerned with how to digitize and archive audio, video, maps, documents, and photographs, however one section does deal with research protocols to ensure that no research is conducted without approval from the Elders Group.

I found it interesting that I was unable to find any reference to how technology impacts First Nations knowledge. It seemed to me that, in the absence of any mention of how digitization can alter the epistemology of First Nations knowledge, the creators of the toolkit view technology to be culturally neutral. It’s still early, but I think the epistemology of First Nations knowledge will most likely be the focus of my research project.