This is an interactive website which includes five First Nations across Canada: Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk and Mi’kmaq. You are able to listen to elders or traditional teachers as they share stories from their perspective about their cultural traditions and values. I really liked that downloadable transcripts are available for teachers and students as well as a teacher’s resource guide full of activities, photographs and audio narrations. A valuable, user-friendly resource for teachers and students!
Dwayne Trevor Donald has written these discussion papers to engage teachers, pre-service teachers, administrators and members of the community in conversations about aboriginal perspectives and the Alberta social studies curriculum. Some of the questions he discusses are:
Why are Aboriginal perspectives in the curriculum?
Why is it necessary for all teachers and students in Alberta to be required to work with Aboriginal perspectives?
What are the hopes, wishes, goals of Aboriginal people and their communities?
What notions of curriculum are most helpful in understanding the large curriculum shift occurring in Alberta?
Further to this resource are guiding questions intended for users to help guide the conversation.
This literature review explores the following question: “To what extent do teacher attitudes, norms, values, basic assumptions, and behaviour influence authentic inclusion, infusion, and embedding of Aboriginal perspectives in the Alberta Social Studies Program?” Ottman and Pritchard (2010) discuss why it is difficult for many teachers to integrate Aboriginal cultures and perspectives as they have not had the appropriate educational background to prepare them for such diverse classrooms. They introduce culturally responsive classrooms and how teachers can prepare for teaching that is more culturally sensitive, including: self-reflection, evaluation of values and beliefs, using resources, teaching material, and instructional strategies that respect the culture, life experience, and the learning needs of each student; and acknowledging the contribution that each student has made to the culture and learning dynamic of the classroom.
This video highlights the Indigenous Science Education Program put together by Macquarie University. The goal is to engage Indigenous students through science by providing positive role models. The program is part of the science curriculum at Maclean High School. The program was started at the request of local elders as they were noticing an increase in high school drop-outs by grade 12. Uncle Ron (an elder in the program) comments, “There was an outcry from a lot of the Aboriginal people. They weren’t getting a fair go at school. The white system was only meant for all the white people so we decided to do a system that was meant for both you know?” The program recognizes and respects Indigenous culture. Andrew Ford, a science teacher in the program mentions how the elders are the driving force and that the elders give a lot of the verbal knowledge while he gives that scientific back up. He also states: “but the elders basically drive what we do out here on the field. This is their country, this is their knowledge”.
Globe and Mail Special Feature: Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School specifically serves Indigenous students where majority fly in from remote locations. Students attend this high school on their own free will and choose to do so because the funding for schools in the remote locations they live in is limited. The school’s “vision statement” strives to help bring into being “a world in which First Nations people succeed without the loss of their identity, and have the courage to change their world according to their values.” It also aims to have graduates leave “not only with a diploma but the skills, knowledge and confidence to help their home communities heal – by setting positive examples, showing a pride in indigenous culture and identity, and fostering employment on reserves”.
The Leading Together Series is part of The Tyee, an independent, online news magazine from BC. What makes this unique is that it includes diverse reporting to help strengthen Canada’s democracy. The Leading Together Series include stories produced by mostly Indigenous journalists. It launched in 2013 and profiles “collaborative experiments in youth empowerment that are delivering concrete results for Aboriginal communities”. I was fascinated with this site because as you can see there is a wealth of information, videos, articles, opinions, and much more!
There are many other stories which are not found in the “Leading Together Series”. Here are some that have been published in The Tyee:
A Foot in the Door: Next Aboriginal Generation’s Social Leap
Stories of the Night Sky is a project where Aboriginal youth from across Canada share stories from community elders through digital video technology. The Mi’kmaq Elders were a large support in revitalizing these stories so that the youth could share them through digital media bringing in both old and new perspectives. As each province is unique in land and sky patterns, the stories are also unique and so you are able to view stories of the night sky from each province in Canada. I was really interested in viewing more stories but not all of the links are working. For some videos, there are translations available.
The Calgary Board of Education and the Aboriginal Education for Area 4 has initiated The Aboriginal Youth Leadership Program. This program is made up of two sub-programs called the Native Ambassador Post-Secondary Initiative (NAPI) Leadership program and the Dare to Dream Program. The NAPI works with Aboriginal high school students to build leadership skills and the confidence to realize their potential to become leaders of tomorrow. The Dare to Dream program involves Jr. High students and teaches them about the Canadian justice system and how Aboriginal issues and perspectives are being addressed through it. Students get the opportunity to participate in a mock trial to explore the idea of a career in the justice system. Both programs have been created for youth and focuses on self-esteem, relationship building skills and goal setting skills.
The imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival began in 1998 and is a festival that supports Indigenous artists in the media arts. Their mission is to dispel the stereotypes placed on Indigenous people through the work from within their communities. This website has information about previous festivals and all the artists who have participated in them. If you click on “Films and Videos” you will be able to view films and videos in the 2014 festival. There are over 100 films and videos in this collection. http://www.imaginenative.org/home/
The indigiTALKS Video Essay Project consists of three 10-minute video essays from three Ontario-based Indigenous artists sharing their unique perspectives on Indigenous screen media. The first artist talks about Indigenous artists creating films that fit into mainstream “Hollywood” movies. She wishes to create films that do not conform to mainstream culture. She questions if these films would even be recognized if it’s not conforming to mainstream culture? The second artist’s video essay was about feeling out of place by stepping out of one’s comfort zone. The last artist wanted to bring out voice in her essay. Since the Aboriginals were denied a voice throughout history her piece represented evidence of voices reclaiming their voice and self-representation and saying “we will not be silenced”. The indigiTALKS premiered at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and is available digitally by request at http://imaginenative.org/home/indigiTALKS