Author Archives: KateWilley

Module 4 Post 5 – Indigenous Foundations

My last post (Module 4 Post 4) drew attention to the project “What I learned in class today“, because of my particular interest with the topic, but upon further exploration I found this project’s mother-site, “Indigenous Foundations“.  The site describes itself as: a website project developed by the First Nations and Indigenous Studies Program. It provides an accessible starting point for instructors, researchers, and students in any discipline who want to learn more about Aboriginal cultures, politics, and histories. The information presented is concise and easily digestible, while still conveying the depth and complexities of the topics.”

On the left taskbar for the site is a run-down of past research initiatives, including “What I learned in class today”, and their current project called “Knowing the Land Beneath our Feet“.  A short video made by the two coordinators provides the introduction to the project, which is about making the ‘unfamiliar’ land on which UBC resides (un-ceded Musqueam territory) once again ‘familiar’ to those who travel on it.  At the moment they provide walking informational tours, but the website also says that the program plans on making a digital tour as well, which I am particularly happy to hear as I’m across the country!

When I went on a search to see if there are similar tours in Southern Ontario, the closest result I found was at the Woodland Cultural Centre, which is in Brantford and serves three support communities: Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, Six Nations of the Grand River and Wahta Mohawks.  They offer a wide range of activities for elementary grades, but I would easily take a grade 9 or 10 class on some of the workshops labeled 6+.  I’m glad to have found a potential resource for future school trips, but at least I know now that searching and finding these kinds of centres nearby is more possible than I would have previously thought.

Module 4 Post 4 – What I learned in class today

By doing a bit of quick research into Tim Michel, whose video interview we watched this week, I found this article (“Undergraduate Research Examines Class Discussions”) about a research project undertaken by a group of UBC students.  Their work resulted in the project and website, “What I learned in class today: Aboriginal issues in the classroom”, which asks educators the question of how they discuss Aboriginal issues in their own lessons.  The project did a number of video interviews with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal UBC students, asking them to recount some of their experiences of talking about Aboriginal issues, including when it was clearly difficult to do so.  They also interviewed a number of UBC instructors, who shared their experiences and beliefs about this topic.

Another feature of the website that is incredibly interesting and helpful for instructors who have questions about how to best address Aboriginal issues are resources and discussion topics for self-education, tied back to the interviews.  Most of the website’s components and resources also appear to be available for download, including a workshop (and trouble-shooting guide!) model for interested parties.  I look forward to absorbing this project’s contents, and considering how I might be able to use these excellent primary resources and guides in my own teaching!

Module 4 Post 3 – Online Zines

This may be common online-knowledge for many of my classmates, but for me finding Muskrat Magazine has been an exciting development!  It is chock full of current articles and topics related to Indigenous issues, and an active Twitter account that links to their articles.

I also happened upon Urban Native Magazine, which has a slick layout and many interesting features with a pop culture focus.  That said, I’m not sure when it was last updated, but their twitter account was used only a month ago and so hopefully they are still active.  Through them I was able to find the account of Lisa Charleyboy (@UrbanNativeGirl), who hosts a radio show with the CBC called ‘New Fire‘, with short episodes that range in topics (recently she has been focusing on cultural appropriation).  As a fan of pop culture in general, I’m thrilled to have found these two online Zines, and can’t wait to see where my explorations lead me!

Module 4 Post 2 – Blogs by Aboriginal authors

I came across this blog post (“I am a Native American woman with White privilege“) from an Aboriginal colleague’s facebook feed, and it lead me to the personal blog of Misty Ellingburg, an Indigenous graduate student and writer.   Her post describes some of her experience as identifying as Native American and being raised in her mother’s culture on a reservation, yet easily passing as ‘White’, which she believes absolves her from much of the racial prejudice visible people of colour face in society (she references the police violence against black Americans that have sprayed recent news headings, as an example).  Her blog doesn’t have the most extensive archive, but she has made some interesting posts related to her experiences in life, many of which are related to her Native identity.

After reading her blog, I was curious about other Aboriginal-owned blogs, and went searching for others.  I was ideally looking for a compilation or RSS feed that might have grouped together multiple titles, but other than finding a sub-heading of Aboriginal law blogs, I came up dry.  I tried to find more blogs run by Aboriginal authors, but found my search somewhat limited to more ‘official’ (organizations or magazines) rather than individual projects. So from what I could find, below are a couple that I plan on exploring more: – a blog run by a Plains Cree-speaking Metis woman from Alberta, with lots of interesting articles and resources (and a great page dedicated to calling out appropriators of headdress).

The blog of Dr. Pamela D. Palmater, a Mi’kmaw lawyer from New Brunswick, which includes a compilation of her articles on current issues.

If anyone reading this post knows of other Aboriginal-authored blogs, please feel free to include the addresses in a comment!


Through CBC’s ‘New Fire’ program, I was able to find a blog run by weaver Meghann O’Brien, who is of Irish descent on her father’s side, and Kwakwaka’wakw and Haida descent on her mother’s side.  Not only does she do stunning weaving work, her stylish blog has many fascinating posts related to her work and life experiences.  Check out her wordpress site, Jaad Kuujus!

Module 4 Post 1 – The Role of Philanthropy in Reconciliation

The Philanthropist is a free online journal that provides articles and information related to the non-profit sector in Canada.  They recently published a series of three pieces that delve into Indigenous Communities and Philanthropy, with the most recent (July 9th) focusing on the role that philanthropy and non-corporate involvement will need to take in future reconciliation.  The post includes an excellent video that includes interviews and discussions about how Canadians (which the video states 2/3rds of whom believe they have a responsibility towards reconciliation) can and must get involved.  Below are the three articles in the series, listed from first to last in order of posting (the video is included in the last post).

June 1st: 100 Words for Philanthropy: Traditions of Caring & Sharing in Canada:

June 15th: The Philanthropic Community’s Declaration of Action:

July 9th: Interview with Chief Dr. Robert Joseph and Karen Joseph:

Module 3 Post 5: Entry into an Aboriginal Community

Based on this suggested reading article by Kowalsky, Verhoef, Thurston, & Rutherford, I wanted to explore more into resources that exist for non-Aboriginal peoples who wish to enter into an Aboriginal community (for research or otherwise).

I went on an endeavour to find other resources to work in conjunction with the article provided in our course, and while I was able to find a small collection of sites or documents – I questioned their authorship.  They were either Canadian Government sponsored, related to a consumer product, or the authors did not appear to be of Aboriginal ancestry in any way.  Perhaps my bias is too strict, but one of my goals has been to find resources that are authored by Indigenous peoples themselves, rather than by outsiders to the communities.  So far I was able to find the article linked below:

Journal Article: Cultural Competency – Working with Aboriginal peoples: A non-Native perspective. 

While the author states that she is not an Aboriginal in the title, I appreciate that the article is written from a perspective similar to my own but is non-governmental or company-connected.

I will endeavour to find further material related to this topic, but of course if anybody reading this has any suggestions I’m wide open to receiving them!


Kowalsky, Laura O., Verhoef Marja J., Thurston, Wilfreda E. and Rutherford, Gayle E., “Guidelines for Entry into an Aboriginal Community“, The Canadian Journal of Native Studies, 16 (2), 1996, 267-282.

Vinkle, Erin. (2012). Cultural Competency – Working with Aboriginal Peoples: A non-Native Perspective. Native Social Work Journal, 8(August), pp. 129-142.

Module 3 Post 4:

I found this site, , when searching through resources about Urban Indigenous groups.  I found the link to this blog post from March, and then followed through to the rest of the blog – which appears to be a community-centred extension of the online, peer-reviewed open access journal of the same name.

The most recent issue of the journal was released in May of this year, and includes a number of interesting sounding articles for academic purposes.  Meanwhile, the blog seems to take a more ‘VICE’ style approach to Indigenous issues, with a recent focus on hip-hop and music.  I look forward to sifting through both resources!

Module 3 Post 3: Canadian Teacher’s Federation – Aboriginal Education

The Canadian Teacher’s Federation includes on their website this page about Aboriginal Education, that includes a number of links, resources, and news releases about Aboriginal Education initiatives.  It appears to be regularly updated – one recent post from June 19th describes an “educational toolkit” that the CTF will develop alongside Indigenous groups about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which will be launched at the upcoming (July 17th) CTF Annual General Meeting.  The site is relatively small, but I look forward to exploring it and checking out any resources provided regarding the toolkit.

Module 3 Post 2: Project of Heart

Project of Heart 

I have seen the project in a couple of different videos or spots around the web, and here is the website for the project!  I deeply wish I had taken advantage of this last term, when I was teaching Grade 10 Canadian History here in Ontario.  The website introduce the project as:
“Project of Heart” is an inquiry based, hands-on, collaborative, inter-generational, artistic journey of seeking truth about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada. Its purpose is to:

  • Examine the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and to seek the truth about that history, leading to the acknowledgement of the extent of loss to former students, their families and communities
  • Commemorate the lives of the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of the residential school experience.
  • Call Canadians to action, through social justice endeavors, to change our present and future history collectively”

The site also includes teaching resources, blog posts showcasing work done by schools nation-wide, and social justice actions that can be taken (although it appears some of those haven’t been updated in a while).  I definitely plan on returning to this project and including it in my course resources in the future.

Module 3 Post 1: Community Events (Ontario)

As I continue along on my journey through this course, and towards my final project, I’ve been looking for live events that I could attend this summer, that are relatively geographically close-by.  Lucky for me, I have quite a few options!  Here is a list and description of local events taking place around the Toronto area that I hope to attend and experience:

July 10 – 26 & August 7 – 9 (to coincide with the Para/Panam Games): Aboriginal Pavilion

From the website: “The Pavilion will bring together Indigenous peoples from across the Americas to celebrate, share and learn through our exciting programming…At the very heart of the Aboriginal Pavilion is the Cultural Village which will consist of four traditional houses. Each one representative of a specific Indigenous community or a collective of individuals from an Indigenous group or region. The traditional houses are a visual and symbolic representation of Indigenous peoples coming together for the purpose of providing a rich experience that’s culturally appropriate, educational, and enriching.”

Summer-long: Ontario Pow Wows  (I’m hoping to make it to the Oshweken Pow Wow with family!)

August 12 – A Tribe Called Red in Yonge & Dundas Square (group touring info @  If you don’t know their music, do yourself a favour and check them out (e.g. in this commercial for the ParaPanam Games!)

Are there any events you guys are planning on hitting up this summer?