Author Archives: RyanSilverthorne

Left out of the Conversation: The Digital Divide and #IdleNoMore


This article, written by the Prince Arthur Herald details the #Idle No More movement which is intent on having Aboriginals participate in social media. More importantly it discusses the problem with social media, even ones aimed at facilitating contact among natives. The problem lies with the inequality of internet distribution in Canada. This means that approximately only 50% of aboriginal voices are being heard. This highlights the need to improve infrastructure to make the internet more of a neutral forum.

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Dr. Suzanne Stewart is a very influential voice in the Native community. In this interview she discusses the importance of understanding education for natives both past and present. She highlights the need to take what was once used to oppress native people (education) and use it as a tool of empowerment. She feels education reform will allow aboriginals to better participate in the global world and also help educate those outside the Aboriginal communities about different, more holistic ways of learning.

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Thorton Media


Thorton media’s mission is to provide digital tools aimed at teaching and preserving aboriginal languages. There most popular invention in the past was Rezworld which was essentially a real world simulation using indigenous language. They have expanded to various other platforms, including smartphones with apps that are created by programers working directly with band elders on content. Games or tools are customized to the particular tribe. On the site you will find various links that detail the process as well as information about the company. This site would be a great asset to anyone studying how technology can be used to protect culture.

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Path of The elders


The path of the elders is not a typical gaming experience. They are very aware of the growing problem of culture loss and are “very committed to documenting Elder knowledge that is slipping away in so many communities across Canada.” Elder and traditional knowledge is what was used to create the website and although it challenges the whole concept of “traditional” it does an excellent job presenting indigenous knowledge in a way that is appealing to youth. I’d highly recommend this site to anyone that is interested in exploring how technologies are being used to preserve native culture.

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Longhouse Media


This site is dedicated to showcasing all of Longhouse Media’s current and past projects. The company aims to “catalyze indigenous people and communities to use media as a tool for self-expression, cultural preservation, and social change.” In looking through the site you will see familiar work like “March Point” which was reviewed by the class earlier. It is a great site for showing how modern media may be used in a positive way to tell the stories that are important to native people, from their voice.

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Traditional Knowledge and the Internet


This article, published by Charles Darwin University, examines aboriginal traditional knowledge thoroughly, showing the difference in western philosophy. It details traditional knowledge relatable various forms. Interestingly, in contrast to the previous traditional knowledge website I referenced, it views technology as a medium to bring power and voice to aboriginal people. It discusses the potential for the internet to become a a “virtual open ceremonial ground” where people can come together from different spaces and share traditional knowledge.

This is an excellent site for understanding the importance of traditional knowledge in indigenous culture

Internet in First Nations Communities

This online article contains video interviews and research on promoting the need for high speed internet access in native rural communities. It discusses how urban internet speeds continue to rise while rural communities stays relatively static. It discusses how internet skills have been a positive for aboriginal communities in terms of education and finding jobs.

I would recommend this site to anyone studying how technology can aid in cultural development of aboriginal communities.

Traditional Knowledge


The term traditional knowledge is used very often in reference to aboriginal cultural sustainability. It is widely accepted among Aboriginal leaders that this is missing from the educational system. This certainly would prompt one to ask: What is traditional knowledge? That is the question that this site endeavors to answer. The article goes into great detail explaining what traditional knowledge is but it also attempts to compare and contrast it to “western scientific knowledge.” The site In addition to this the site provides many interesting links to the applications of traditional knowledge to current ecological issues.

This site is a great resource for those studying cultural preservation and indigenous education.


This online article, by Dr. Emily Faries, is hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Education. It is an attempt to help educators understand the issues facing aboriginal students from a historical perspective. It details the lack of aboriginal representation in provincial curriculums and points to government concessions that indeed the needs of aboriginal students are not being met. Identity is a major theme of the essay, as is spirituality and connection to the land. Dr. Fairies overall message is that the Ontario Ministry of Education has an opportunity to fix the wrong of the past and she makes a strong case. This paper would be an excellent read for those interested in  aboriginal educational reform.

Chris Garner

This is an excellent talk given by Chris Garner, who has taught in indigenous communities in both Australia and South Africa. He echoes the fact that “voice” and “context” are the most important things in education. He uses statistics to show the gap in education completion rates and also statistics showing dramatic changes when context applies. He argues for something that we all know is needed: A change in teaching dependent upon the needs of the student.

I would highly recommend this video and Mr. Garner’s research to anyone who is studying the educational reform in indigenous communities.