My husband and I have just returned from a two week tour of the Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island. We came across this First Nation Profiles Interactive Map as we were trying to learn more about each of the territories that we were exploring. This map was published by the by the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada to provide information on each of Canada’s First Nations. Its intention is to make the most often requested information more readily available to the general public. Each profile includes the official name of First Nation along with more detailed information about its registered population statistics, election system and governance, federal funding, and various Census statistics. They also contain links to each community’s website. This resource could be used in the classroom to highlight and explore the prevalence and diversity of Canada’s First Nations.
For my final assignment, I am looking at how we can better engage our First Nation students in place-based education initiatives that can benefit our entire community. I was surprised to find this research article that explored the potential to develop Indigenous ecotourism with Tl’azt’en territory in the early 2000’s (Nepal, 2004). Although this article specifically addresses the Tl’azt’en Nation, its methods, results and suggestions may be applicable to other Aboriginal communities who are interested in ecotourism. Some of the ideas proposed in the article are quite extensive; however, I think that the restoration of the one of the historic trail systems might be a manageable place to start. Nepal (2004) suggests getting Aboriginal youth involved in the project and providing them with training in ecotourism. By becoming guides and interpreters, they not only attain steady and reliable employment, but they can also practice and share their traditional ways of life and values.
Nepal, S.K. (2004). Indigenous ecotourism in Central British Columbia: The potential for building capacity in the Tl’azt’en Nations Territories. Journal of Ecotourism, 3(3), 173-194. Retrieved from http://caid.ca/IndEcoTouBriCol2004.pdf
I am envisioning a project where students from my community map and restore a local historic trail and then create a corresponding digital guide to teach others about the traditional knowledge and practices of the Tl’azt’en people as they explore the trail. Through the UBC Library, I discovered the Aboriginal Mapping Network, an online forum and resource established in 1998 as a joint initiative of the Gitxan and Ahousaht First Nations and Ecotrust Canada to help practitioners map traditional knowledge. Although it seems that the forum has been inactive for the past few years, there are some excellent examples of how GIS technology can be used to help preserve traditional land use practices, historical events etc. For example, through this site I accessed Voices on the Land, an interactive map that documents the land practices of the Okanagan Nations through audio and video clips, images, documents and charts. This is an excellent example of how GIS technology can be used to preserve culture and perhaps even support Aboriginal groups in land claims, treaty negotiations and resource development.
AMN. (2015). Aboriginal Mapping Network. Retrieved from http://nativemaps.org/node/3909
Aboriginal media that is created, controlled and operated by Aboriginal people can greatly benefit lanaguage retention and cultural preservation and can play an important role in bridging social and economic divides. As I’ve been working through this course, I have continually come across resources and news events published by the Canada’s First Nation Radio Network (CFNR). It is owned and operated by Northern Native Broadcasting and is a member of the Western Association of Aboriginal Broadcasters. While I haven’t listened to the radio station (not yet available where I live), I have accessed many articles on the the website and appreciate that they continue to cover Aboriginal initiatives throughout not only the province but also the country. Many of the articles also contain audio interviews and links to related resources.
CFNR Network. (2015). Canada’s First Nation Radio Network. Retrieved from http://cfnrfm.ca/
WAAB. (2015). Western Association of Aboriginal Broadcasters. Retrieved from http://www.waab.ca/
I think that a key piece in empowering Aboriginal youth is to help them make connections with other Aboriginal youth and communities. The Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada (SEVEC) is a not for profit organization that, in conjunction with the Department of Canadian Heritage, facilitates educational exchanges within Canada, building bridges between young Canadians and providing them with opportunities to learn about the history, geography and cultural diversity of their country. For example, students from Centre Wellington District High School in Fergus, Ontario have engaged in a cultural exchange with students from Dease Lake, BC. In addition to visiting the host communities, students stay connected via video-conferencing and document their experiences and learning through participant blogs.
At the post-secondary level, the University of Northern British Columbia is now piloting the Cross-Cultural Indigenous Knowledge Exchange with Maori University in New Zealand. Through this program, students from both institutions will be able to exchange knowledge and experiences in the revitalization of indigenous health, language, cultures and community well-being.
Centre Wellington District High School. (2015). Aboriginal student exchange. Retrieved from http://www.ugdsb.on.ca/cwdhs-aboriginal-exchange/article.aspx?id=54492
Government of Canada. (2015). Canadian Heritage. Retrieved from http://www.pch.gc.ca/eng/1266037002102/1265993639778
SEVEC. (2015). Society for Educational Visits and Exchanges in Canada. Retrieved from http://www.sevec.ca/
UNBC. (2015). Cross-Cultural Indigenous Knowledge Exchange. Retrieved from http://www.unbc.ca/first-nations-studies/cross-cultural-indigenous-knowledge-exchange
A colleague and I are eager to implement a gardening program at our rural high school. The report The Learning Garden: Place-based learning for Holistic First Nations’ Community Health reflects upon how the Learning Garden Program created by the Ginoogaming and Aroland First Nations increases holistic health and experience-based knowledge of gardening, forest foods, and nutrition. It also improves community resilience in food supply.
Through a series of workshops, participants explored the values, healthfulness and sustainability of their food system options, generated traditional food maps, tended and harvested in both garden and forest settings, participated in traditional ceremonies and practices, and shared their harvested vegetables with community members.
The authors describe that, through this program, participants developed a better understanding of learning in terms of being able to adapt to place. They reconnected to traditional lands and practices, recognizing that they can provide solutions to supply and demand issues faced by mainstream food systems. This is very empowering for rural First Nation communities.
Stroink, M.L., Nelson, C.H. and McLaren, B. (2010). The Learning Garden: Place-based learning for holistic First Nations’ community. Canadian Council on Learning. Retrieved from http://www.ccl-cca.ca/pdfs/FundedResearch/Stroink-LearningGardenFullReport.pdf
In the interview below, Dr. Suzanne Stewart, Professor of Counselling Psychology at the Ontario Institute of Studies and Education at the University of Toronto, introduces place-based aboriginal education. She explains that place-based is not only concerned with the geographical location but also with the socio, political and cultural positions of students, their families, and their communities. Place-based education is successful at rebuilding trust and relationships by honouring traditional ways of knowing that were lost through colonisation and residential schools. This video could be used to introduce educators to idea of place-based education and initiative dialogue.
In the video, Dr. Stewart mentions Aboriginal Head Start programs that have adopted place-based practices. In addition to describing their programming, the website provides several resources for planning cultural curriculum and language activities and promoting positive life choices.
tvoparents (Publisher). (2011, February 24). Place-based learning in Aboriginal communities. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0kRVhva0w4
Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC. (2015). Tips and tools. Retrieved from http://www.ahsabc.com/index.php/tips-tools
The Fraser River Journey sparked my interest in using outdoor education to empower Aboriginal youth. This past year the Burnaby School District partnered with Outward Bound to deliver an Aboriginal Youth Leadership and Mentorship Program in Burnaby Schools. Throughout the school year, 16 students engaged in monthly leadership sessions ranging from in-school workshops to wilderness expeditions. I’ve provided some informational links below:
The first year of the Outward Bound/Burnaby School District project has just come to an end. It does not appear that any final reports have been published yet by the Burnaby School District. I am eager to learn more about their partnership with Outward Bound and students’ perceptions and experiences.
In 2012, the Vancouver Island University’s Office for Community Partnerships in Health Research collaborated with the Vancouver Foundation, the Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities Indigenous Foods Network, Vancouver Island Health Authority and the Canadian Diabetes Association to form the Prevention and Preservation Digital Harvest Project. Over the course of two years, 17 First Nations students and several Elders have come together to learn about traditional foods and practices and to document their learning as digital stories. The project was very successful in promoting culture and healthier food choices, teaching computer skills and fostering self-esteem and self-confidence. In addition, participating youth have been trained to facilitate workshops to teach other youth how to create digital stories on topics related to healthy living, life issues, and community pride.
One of the greatest barriers to implementing more culturally-responsive activities into my math lessons is my lack of local Indigenous knowledge and resources.
The First Nations Education Steering Committee has created the Math First Peoples resource that Math 8 and 9 teachers in BC can use to become more responsive to the cultural perspectives of First Peoples. This resource is intended to:
1. Help all students appreciate the universal presence and importance of mathematics
2.Help all students appreciate the significant role First Peoples play in BC
3. Help Aboriginal students feel more comfortable in mathematics and more motivated to participate.
In addition to describing First Peoples perspectives of mathematics, this resource suggests several ways that educators can form meaningful connections between mathematics, students, community members and Indigenous knowledge. The resource also provides several sample unit plans for teaching mathematics in a culturally responsive way.
The University of Toronto has also provided a blog post with a list of culturally-responsive mathematical lesson plans and games.
First Nations Education Steering Committee. (2011). Teaching mathematics in a first peoples context – Grade 8 and 9. Retrieved from www.fnesc.ca/curriculum/math
University of Toronto. (2015, July 6). Deepening knowledge: Resources for an about Aboriginal education. [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/deepeningknowledge/Teacher_Resources/Curriculum_Resources_%28by_subjects%29/Math/index.html#Lessons