Author Archives: Rob McElroy

Surviving Disappearance, Re-Imagining & Humanizing Native Peoples: Matika Wilbur at TEDxSeattle

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Matika Wilbur is an artist who wants to use her images to bring a voice back to people who have been silenced and to change what people see when they think of an “Indian”.  She uses the examples of the stereotypes of native characters seen in movies such as; the spiritually attuned Indian, the Indian in conflict with white culture and the Indian who is impoverished.  She continues and talks how the image of natives as professionals, teachers doctors or other roles are not shown.  She believes that for modern native people to be successful they need to be shown by who they are not who we think they are.  She thinks that the image of native people in modern media must be given the freedom to grow and reflect the reality of the culture so that there youth see that there is no set path for their lives and that they can make their own way in life.  Her message is very powerful and strives to show that the culture of native peoples is not stuck in some sort of cultural limbo but is as vibrant and dynamic as any culture in the world and should be portrayed that way.

MEDIASMARTS : Canada’s Centre for Digital and Media Literacy

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This site is a great resource for teachers wishing to impart to their native students the importance in understanding the digital world as it relates to them.  This site “hones in on many issues that are specific or unique to Aboriginal people in Canada, including the under-reporting of crimes against Aboriginal people by news media and the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal people seeking to produce content for their own communities.”  It also provides teachers with content and lesson plans that relate to the experiences and perspective of today’s native youth.  On lesson title “Who is telling my story” focuses on how minority cultures have been portrayed in the media.


“They consider the key media literacy concepts that “audiences negotiate

meaning” and “media contain ideological and value messages and have

social implications” in discussing how different kinds of representation have

become unacceptable and how those kinds of representations were tied to stereotypes. Finally, students discuss current examples of majority-group

actors playing minority-group characters and write and comment on blogs in

which they consider the issues raised in the lesson.
I found this site to be a wealth of information that any teacher would benefit from exploring and using in their own teaching.

Aboriginal Communications Society (AMMSA)

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This site is an aboriginal communications society whose focus is on giving the issues important to Canadian aboriginal peoples a voice.  Not only do they offer a variety of digital and print publications but they also offer guidance to other native groups interested in using digital media to preserve their culture and have their voices heard.  Sinces it’s inception in 1983 the AMMSA has grown its number of publications from 1 to 7, including an online radio station,  each publication serves a different group in western Canada.  This diversification is key to ensuring that each individual groups has its concerns properly addressed and heard.

The Borneo Project



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This is a very well crafted website that aims to bring the concerns and culture of the indigenous people of Borneo.  Their mission is to bring“… international attention and support to community-led efforts to defend forests, sustainable livelihoods, and human rights. We believe that protecting human rights and environmental integrity in Borneo is a critical component of the global movement for a just and peaceful world.”  This site has a wealth of information about these issues and uses multimedia, in the form of web series and online documentaries, to express that these people have about the world they live in.  They focus mainly on the preservation of the natural ecosystem of Borneo and indigenous education but also have, in the past, brought up the problem of human rights issues that their peoples have faced.

Storybases – Distance is not an issue



The goal of this site is a global initiative to allow groups that are physically separated to share their own oral history.  What I found interesting about this site is that is so simple yet effective.  There is a saying that once an elder dies that a library burns down.  It just makes sense to put these important aspects of culture into a digital form so that they are preserved and available for future generations.  Each story is a connection to the past that should not be lost. This project is gathering stories from Mali, Peru, Canada and Ethiopia and teaches people how to continue taking their own stories.  This give the power to the people creating the stories and allows them to be interpreted in the way that they see fit and allow them to become part of global culture.  I find this idea to be both a benefit to those wanting to understand these cultures better and empowering to the cultures themselves

Native Health and Digital Storytelling


Native Health and Digital Storytelling

I’ve included this site because I know from my own experience working with native people   (along side native interpreters at Fort William Historical Park) that stories play a key part in the cultural narrative of native peoples (Ojibwa in my case).  This site takes people’s personal stories of healing and transfers them into a digital medium which allows them to share their experiences with a much wider audience.  This is a powerful tool because their unique perspective can be shared with others and perhaps help them with situations in their own life.

Bringing the Story of Native Canadian Culture into the Classroom



Being a teacher of small children I wanted to check out what was being offered to Canadian teachers to help them include native studies in their classroom.  Usually, government websites are confusing and not that helpful but I found this site to be a refreshing change.  It includes lessons for children at all levels and I feel that, as a teacher, I would like to introduce into my classroom to ensure that my students have experience with at least the basics of native culture in Canada.  I thought that the lessons were well thought out and constructed and children would find them a solid first step in understanding one of the important cultures that formed what we now call Canada.  I personally downloaded the PDFs to use in my own classroom.

Digital Drum – Bringing the Language of Aboriginal Music to the World



Another site that I found very engaging was  This site opens the world of aboriginal music to the world and allows people to experience native music and share in its importance.  Music is one of the keystones of human culture and this site does a great job in presenting the unique and creative way that modern native artists are bringing their story to the world.  Music is a powerful force but it needs to be heard.  This amazing site ensures that native music has a strong presence on the web and hopefully exposes both natives and non-natives alike to the powerful messages that music carries.


Learning Language Online Miromaa


While surfing around I found a site created by the Miromaa Aboriginal and Technology Centre to aid in educating people about a number of native aboriginal dialects in Australia.

This website is a great example of how the web can help aboriginal groups save and share their languages.  It includes many blended resources such as a Youtube channel, saved voice clips and educational based resources to help learners and teachers alike.  The site is very well designed and pulls your into it.  I found myself spending more than a few minutes there and really felt engaged.  The site does a great job in connecting people to the material and encouraging them to learn more.