Author Archives: greta smelko

Web Research Post 4 – Aboriginal Film

This collection of websites all again connect with First Nation Film but I have some that have lesson plans attached to them.

 #1 How People Got Fire  (the film) (teacher’s guide)

This is a short animation that illustrates the connection between youth and elders. It is a beautiful animation, with very stylized illustrations. There are two different types of illustrations used – one that shows the relationship between the youth and elders and the other is the oral telling of the myth How People got Fire.  The manner in which the story is told is quite unique and would expose students to another narrative style. I also found a study guide to go with the animation. It provides a lot of background information, as well as ways the short can be incorporated into the classroom.

 #2 Documentary “We Will be Free” Aboriginal People in Canada (1 hour)

I found this documentary online and thought it was quite informative. The documentary is about an hour in length and provides insight and understanding into the treatment and struggles faced by Aboriginal people today. It focuses on Aboriginal people in Winnipeg specifically but I think that much of the information would apply to other areas of the country. I don’t know if I would use the documentary with a class; there is some inappropriate language but it’s quite minor. I just think that some of the issues discussed could be difficult for a class – it would depend on the level of the students. The documentary doesn’t sugar-coat anything but speaks of the feelings people face and what is being done to improve life for First Nations people.

#3 The World Anew

This website was really interesting! It houses and explores contemporary Frist Nations film. The site is connected to the British Columbia Arts Council and the City of Vancouver. It has a lot of information about specific First Nations film makers. There are some films featured on the site but it provides biographs and interviews with different Frist Nation film makers from Canada. The Resources section is quite detailed as well. It provides links to organization and activities “that help Aboriginal youth to get involved in filmmaking”. I would think that this would be a great resource for teachers in BC to help promote filmmaking in classes. Please note though that some of the resources links are expired so you will want to preview them to make sure they work before sharing them with a class. The films shared on the site are good quality and there are a variety of types; some are animations and others are not. They range in length from short films to feature length films. There also isn’t any problem streaming the films online.

 #4 OSIE – Deepening Knowledge: Resources for and about Aboriginal Education

I stumbled upon this site and found it really interesting. There are a lot of resources that can be used by teachers. I found some of the downloadables really helpful for my class and it was nice that they could be changed and tailored to my individual classes. I particularly liked the handout “Criteria for Identifying Bias” in the Teachers Resource: Best Practices in including Aboriginal Peoples in the Curriculum. They prove a lot of teacher resources as well as student resources to use. I found that the content was appropriate for both grade school and high school. It needs to be noted that the information connects to the FNMI Curriculum for Ontario but I’m sure that many of the resources provided could be useful anywhere.

 #5 Indigenous Feature Film Production in Canada: A National and International Perspective

Here is another site I just happened upon this resource when I was looking at the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival. The study examined Aboriginal film production in Canada. I haven’t had an opportunity to read through the whole report yet (it’s 50+ pages) but the report examines the allocation of public funding for films in Canada as well as the barriers to film production for Aboriginal film makers. The document will tie in nicely with my other research about First Nations film making.

Cultural Insight and Resources

The sites that I have explored and discovered this module are a bit eclectic. The area I would like to explore for my final project deals with film but I find that there are limited sites available regarding First Nations Film. I am still looking. I did, however, discover a number of sites that provide greater insight into different Indigenous groups and resources that can be used in the classroom.

This was a really interesting site to explore. I think that it would be a wonderful site to use with students to find out more about the Tsimshian culture. It provides a lot of information and is interactive which allows individuals to explore at their own pace. I like how it incorporates audio, video, images and interactives within the site. The information is quite comprehensive but easy to understand. I think that it would be great to use with students so they can gain some insights into Tsimshian culture.

This site looks at a variety of First Nations groups across Canada and tells stories and teachings for the different groups. The site explains the connection that exists between the different groups despite the noted differences. I found that it provided a wonderful overview of regional differences between the Indigenous groups within Canada. It should be noted that West Coast Canada is not included in this site. One other thing that should be noted is the information is provided in both English and French.

This site provides a wealth of information about residential schools in Canada. It does not sugar coat anything and has a disclaimer that some of the content in the videos is quite difficult. I have not watched all the videos in the collection but the few that I did watch are quite powerful. You see the lasting impact that residential schools had on people.

This site is another one that can be used as a teaching tool. It has interactives, videos and articles that can help to provided deeper understanding into Indigenous culture. The site focuses on Native drums and has a number of videos and interviews which discuss the importance of drumming in Native culture. The part that I found most useful in the site what the downloadable teacher resource kits. They have collections of myths, legends with guided questions. There are articles explaining oral tradition and belief systems; included are also guided questions, assignments and rubrics. This all can help to develop activities in class.

  • First Nations Art Installations

I really enjoyed this video. It was inspirational to see the young artists explain the elements of their culture and how they are working together to express their cultures. One of the artiest explains their goal which is to inspire Aboriginal youth. Although the video is very short I thought that it fit nicely with this week’s videos – these First Nations Artists are expressing themselves through traditional art but they have provided their own modern twists as well.

Module 2: Native Culture through Film

I have started to focus my research on Native media. My intention for the final project is to look at the development of Native film. I must admit that it is a broad area to investigate but with the reading this week and discussions we have had on cultural rights I think I may focus further by looking at how Native film is promoting and provide insight into Native culture (At least I think this may be how I am going to focus). The sources that I found for this post are as follows:

  1. Wab Kinew On Strombo: Full Interview

The interview describes the premise of the show 8th Fire.  Wab Kinew discusses briefly his upbringing and his role as a “Native Ambassdor” for the CBC. What I found most interesting and informative was Kinew provides a clear explanation of language when referring to Aboriginal groups. The interview highlights his concerns that non-Natives have a limited understanding of Native culture and his show 8th Fire is helping to clarify and provide understanding; it provides information and insight from an Aboriginal perspective. I’ve included a link to an excerpt from 8th Fire.

  1. Aboriginal Producers in Canada: Aboriginal TV and Film News & Opinions

This is a blog provides a venue “where ideas, concern, news and opinions” are shared regarding Aboriginal film. The blog only has a few posts but the information and insights are helpful in gaining some understanding of Aboriginal film. It provides names of directors as well as films and other productions that are Aboriginal. The last post is dated October 5th, 2014 and I’m not sure if there will be more but it did provide some areas for me too look at further with respect to Aboriginal film.

  1. Gift from the Elders – documentary

The website houses a documentary and provides information about the making of the documentary. In watching the documentary, many of the issues that have come up in our course discussions are discussed here as well. The video is available to watch on the website but it also outlines issues and research that concern the Anishinaabe people the film is about. What I really like about the documentary site was it provided a bio for the filmmakers and showed their connection to the people the documentary is about. For me, it provides insight into a culture that I have a limited understanding of and helps to clarify what I know and what I believe I know.

  1. Dragon Fly Consulting Services Canada

The site provides resources to help build understanding and awareness about aboriginal history, perspectives, and issues. The site has a wealth of resources that can be used to help teach Aboriginal perspective. The site does work with the Ontario curriculum to that is helpful for me but should be double checked if the resources are being used out of province. What I found interesting and helpful about this site is the lesson that have been created for Canadian Aboriginal Documentary Films. Although you need to get access to the films yourself. The PDFs provide pre, during and post watching activities. There are rubrics also for extended activities. I think that it is a good place to start if you want to integrate Aboriginal film into the classroom. The section I looked at most closely was “Lesson Plans – Native Studies & Documentary Films” All the films are connected with Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival.

  1. National Film Board

I really like to use the National Film board in class because it uses Canadian films and often you can stream them online. There are a number of Aboriginal films available on the NFB and many are created by Aboriginal people. Each film provides a brief description as well as information about the filmmakers. Although many of the films are available for anyone to watch, however, there are some that can only be viewed through Canvas program – basically you have to buy a membership to view the films online or you can purchase the DVDs to use in class. For some of the Canvas films there are lesson plans that go with the films. My link takes you right to the subject: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada I have not watched all the films but there is quite a diverse collection to go through.

“Cyber-traveler’s” reflections Part 1

Here are the five websites I have found so far in my research. I’m still not positive where I want to go with my final project so I have a bit of an eclectic set of websites. I’m hoping to narrow my ideas down. I do want to focus on Six Nations of the Grand River because it is close to my home but I also am interested in the Arts so have looked at sites that relate to traditional dance as well as literature.


# 1 The Six Nations of the Grand River Website

This site is a treasure trove of information about the Six Nations of the Grand River. There are a variety of issues that are addressed in the site. Six Nations has used technology to share their issues and success with the world. I found that the site provides a lot of documentation regarding Land Claim issues but is also used as a site to share the status of the community as well as the plans for improvement.


#2 GoodMinds

I have known about this bookstore for a few years now. It only sells works relating to First Nations, Metis and Inuit. The store is located in Six Nations of the Grand River but they have a thriving online store. The part that I found quite interesting is the Teacher Activities section; there is a PDF for various grade levels offer suggestions on how to integrate FNMI curriculum into the classroom. With the discussion we were having this week regarding the education system I felt this was a wonder resources for anyone. (NOTE: the Preschool/Kindergarten, High School and College/University section are currently under construction).



#3 Native Dance

It is quite a comprehensive site regarding Native Dance. The site houses a number of videos that relate to different tribes dances as well as links to Native drums and interviews with various individuals. The site is geared to teachers providing resources which can be used to help inform students of traditional Native dance. I found that it provided a great overview of Native dance as well as videos of a variety of dances from different Native communities.


#4 First Nations Pedagogy

This site is designed to help develop understanding of First Nation education and knowledge. There are a variety of resources that are available to deep your understanding and gain insight into working with First Nation youth. It provides an excellent overview of information and collections of videos. The links section also shares different resources. The site does focus on BC but the information is quite useful regardless of the province you are in.


#5 CBC News Indigenous

My last site was CBC. I was looking through various sites trying to think of how I was going to focus my content. I figured I would look at current affairs to help direct my learning. Six Nations of the Grand River has been in the news over the last few years but I thought if I could learn about issues that affected all First Nations communities maybe I would find a bit more direction. I must say, CBC news Indigenous is a great collection of Indigenous content found in Canada. That the site provides current information is also wonderful. You can check daily the different news stories that are available. It also links to CBC Radio and you can listen to podcasts from different Indigenous shows.