Category Archives: Module 2

Module 2 – Post 5 – Canadian app developer hopes new phone app will help preserve Indigenous culture by Kevin Andrews

Adrian Duke, who is originally from the Muscowpetung First Nation in southeast Saskatchewan, launched an app earlier this year. Named for a traditional form of housing called a “wikiup”, it allows the public to submit stories about certain places using functions similar to Google Maps and Wikipedia. This type of advancing technology has provided new ways to preserve Indigenous history.

For the most part, Aboriginal culture is a largely oral culture and so, as elders are getting older and passing on, this app will allow communities to preserve their languages that they might otherwise have lost. In addition, it also seems like it could be an opportunity to engage youth and get them connected with their elders, to learn these stories to help pass them on and preserve all of the traditions. The app allows users to find information, audio clips, videos and pictures about a certain location by selecting it from a map, similar to a Google map. They can also use an augmented-reality tool, with functions similar to Pokemon Go, to explore the world through the app.

Wikiupedia is still in the testing or “beta” phase, during which Duke hopes to collect 600 stories. The current version of the app includes historical information about the site of the Skwachàys Aboriginal Hotel & Gallery in Vancouver, where Duke is now based. The project is currently taking registrations for “story catchers” and “cultural guides”, who will submit stories and fact-check information from the public.

Module 2 – Post 4 – High Speed Internet limitations Increase The Digital Divide for Aboriginals Communities In Canada by Kevin Andrews

When it comes to Aboriginals in Canada, there is a significant percentage who do not have sufficient broadband connections. According to Statistics Canada, three-quarters of Aboriginal Internet users live in urban centers, where broadband infrastructure is widespread and relatively accessible. However, about half of the Aboriginal population continues to reside in rural and remote communities, where this infrastructure is generally non-existent.

In rural and remote Aboriginal communities, the cost of broadband access is often prohibitive, as corporate service providers are less likely to develop networks in expensive-to-service areas. Rural and remote Aboriginal communities tend to pay more for services, yet have less access to broadband. For Bell DSL Internet service in the city of Montreal, a $30 per month plan includes 5Mbps download speed and 15GB of usage. NorthwestTel, a subsidiary of Bell, is one of the few providers of DSL internet service in Nunavut. The same download speed of 5Mbps from NorthwestTel comes with 30GB of usage, for $180 a month. Broadband pricing mechanisms are among the main reasons for the continuing digital divide between urban and rural communities.

Of the Aboriginal communities that do have access to the Internet, many only have unreliable dial-up service. Researcher Adam Fiser, consulting for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, reported that in 2007 nearly two-thirds of Canada’s urban communities, and almost half of its remote communities, had access to some form of broadband service. In comparison, only 17% of First Nations communities had broadband access. Given its maximum speed of 56 Kb/s and its unstable connection through phone lines, dial-up Internet severely limits the ability of users to visit web pages, send emails and download information. As a result of these limitations, the digital divide for Aboriginals continues to grow.

This divide exists not only in terms of Internet access but also in terms of digital literacy. Limited access to broadband networks in isolated areas has inhibited the ability of Aboriginals to develop the basic skills necessary to engage with the Internet. According to Statistics Canada survey, 34% of urban aboriginal Internet users described their computer skills as “excellent”, compared with only 21% of rural users. The study concluded that a gap exists among Aboriginal Internet users themselves that separated more experienced urban users from their rural counterparts. Digital literacy increasingly represents the basic cost of entry for an education, a job, or access to the government. In the absence of such skills, rural and remote Aboriginals will continue to be at a disadvantage.

Module 2 – Post 1 (Code Switch)

Code Switch is an NPR podcast, and blog that focuses on race and identity. Through the lens of journalists of colour, code switch aims to challenge the mainstream construction of identities by giving underrepresented voices a chance to be heard. Code Switch’s intention is to give people information about race and identity so that they can use it as a resource to for conversations that happen in everyday life. 

In the article “Native American Artists Reclaim Images That Represent Them”, author Tanvi Misra highlights the work of several Indigenous artists that use falsely constructed images, names or objects and repurpose them to create new meanings.

Module 2 – Post 2 (1491s)

The 1491’s is an all indigenous sketch comedy group that focuses on the creation of videos, mainly distributed through YouTube , that challenge false Indigenous identities through satire work that exposes mainstream settler culture. What is particularly interesting about the group is their powerful commentary towards cultural appropriation. 

In the below video ‘I’m an Indian Too’, the group depicts how hipster/fashion cultures appropriate false images of Indigenous folks. This clever video mixes, real images of appropriation with a satirical performance – all under the backdrop of Don Armando’s remixed version of Ethel Merman’s highly offensive song I’m an Indian, Too.


Module 2 – Post 3 (Remix: New Modernities in a Post Indian World)

Remix: New Modernities in a Post Indian World is an exhibit curated by artists Joe Baker (Delaware) and Gerald McMaster (Plains Cree).  Featuring Indigenous artists from all over the western hemisphere, the exhibition focuses on creating works that challenge identity. They distinguish their views on identity by removing the focus of tribalism and  emphasizing the fact that they are living in a post tribalism world. With a post-modernist world view, these artists challenge traditional representations by focusing on other aspects of their identity outside of placed based knowledge. Their aim is to reconstruct or remix a multitude of experiences to form a more individually constructed concept of being Indigenous. For the most part, they do not believe that tribalism fits their experience in a globalized technically connected world. Hence their usage of “Post Indian World”.

It is important to note that this exhibition is produced by the non-Indigenous organizations: National Museum of the American Indian  and Heard Museum. In my opinion these organizations websites describe Indigenous culture as a singular entity. The reason I posted this resource is so that people are able to compare the remix process of identity when it is set within the context of settler focused institutions. I find it interesting that individuality is stressed and Indigenous tribalisms are described in the past tense.



Module 2 – Post 4 (In Praise of Nonsense)

In praise of nonsense is a book written by interdisciplinary artist Ted Hiebert. This book focuses on how art and the construction of identity is often disconnected from truths, history, and location. In particular, it puts into question the remix world of cultural identity by examining the artistic works of willing participants.

In chapter 4 titled ‘Playing Dead’, Hiebert focuses on the Jackson 2Bears remix of Ten Little Indians. This is a remix that I highlighted in module one. Hiebert astutely analysis’s Jackson 2Bears’s work and offers an analysis that distinguishes 2Bears work from simple political commentary or satire. It challenges the notion that individual artistic works, especially media, do not fit within the framework of tribalism.

Module 2: Post 5 (Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society)

Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society is a peer reviewed online journal and blog that focuses on the reconstruction of Indigenous identities by providing writings and resources that go “both against and beyond the Western Academy.” The journal and blog have a very inclusive submission practices that are not tied to a specific discipline of the academy. There are 5 components to their practice: articles, editorials, interviews, reviews and continuations. Continuations are works that to not fit the mould of peer reviewed academic constructions. As part of their inclusivity, all material is available in an open access format.

I found this resource while I was looking for information about remixing as a political strategy. This search led me to the above sites and the article: Remixing: Decolonial Strategies in Cultural Production. This article positions the practice of remixes as a way to “signify the past as a means of informing the present, and provide a frame for the future.” The article is definitely worth the read.



I included a couple of these with my research interest statement, but I wanted to include them here as well, as they may be helpful to others.

1. E-Learning Access, Opportunities, and Challenges for Aboriginal Adult Learners Located in Rural Communities

This article touches on the learning needs of Indigenous students in rural First Nations communities in Alberta. The article provides details about Indigenous learning needs, and emphasizes the students’ need for human interaction.

2. Mobile Learning and Indigenous Education in Canada: A Synthesis of New Ways of Learning

This article discusses how wireless technology is revolutionizing E-learning and identifies known gaps in M-learning and its application to remote indigenous communities in Canada. The article discusses the potential for M-learning to make E-learning more accessible, and, as well, how they have the potential to increase cultural empowerment. According to the article, in 2013, 73.4% of the international online population was accessed from a mobile phone. Also addressed is the suspicion that still exists in some rural communities about mobile technologies.

3. Dyson, L. E., Grant, S., Hendriks, M. A. N., & Taylor & Francis eBooks A-Z. (2016;2015;). Indigenous people and mobile technologies. New York; London;: Routledge. doi:10.4324/9781315759364

This book is an amazing resource for understanding mobile technology use in Indigenous communities. The book was just published in 2015, so it’s current, and the whole book is available online through the UBC Library – and this is why I have included it in the Weblog.

The book discusses how mobile technologies are being embraced by Indigenous communities and how they are helping to bring these communities out of isolation and fostering an environment of learning and sharing knowledge. Some of the topics the book covers are:
– Self-determination through mobile technologies
– Podcasts
– Language Revitalization
– Health

4. Digital Technology Adoption in Northern and Remote Indigenous Communities in Canada

This article discusses the adoption of digital technology in remote and northern First Nations and Inuit communities. The article discusses how Indigenous communities use the Web, including how they use Facebook for job postings and local news. As well, the article touches on issues of affordability around mobile data and Internet access.

5. Towards the enhancement of Arctic Digital Industries: ‘Translating’ cultural content to new media platforms

This article covers similar topics to the previous article, however, an interesting topic mentioned in this article is the popularity of iPods in Indigenous communities. This is likely because of the challenges with cellular and data networks, as the iPod is affordable and usable in the existing Wi-Fi networks. Also, the article discusses digital training in Artic communities, rather than non-indigenous technicians producing content for these communities. The article discusses the enhanced self-worth that will result in Indigenous communities developing their own content.

6. Think Indigenous (Podcast)

I wanted to include this as an extra resource. I haven’t had the chance to listen to the podcast yet, but the podcast description is:

Think Indigenous is a podcast that highlights its yearly conference keynotes & “Red Talk” presentations sharing best practices, innovation and delivery models of Indigenous education”

This podcast was just released on Oct. 10, so it’s brand new. Although it seemingly will only be updated once a year, at present there are 17 episodes available.

Medicine Wheel Education

As a public school educator I was very interested when I saw the ads and recommendations for Medicine Wheel Education on Facebook. In general Medicine Wheel Education looks engaging and interesting for their target audience of elementary school children. After careful inspection I have a few concerns….

  1. Advertised as “Culturally Appropriate First Nation’s Resources for Everyone!” – Is it not a concern that there are many distinct First Nation Cultures in BC, each with its own stories and traditions. Should we as educators seek out resources more specific to the land on which we live?
  2. The authors and designers are not Indigenous themselves – does this matter? The biography notes that the creator of Medicine Wheel Resources was given permission to tell the stories he has learned from Elders who taught him.

When is something appropriation vs sharing of knowledge?


“Medicine Wheel Education.” Medicine Wheel Education,

Filling in the Gaps- When Students Become the Teachers (Mod 2-Post 5)

BC has recently revamped its curriculum and one of the main new components is the focus on Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. However, the teacher training and educational resources to support this new curriculum are not all in place.  This article from the Tyee Newspaper is a reminder that sometimes the best sources of knowledge and teaching can come from the students.  While I would never advocate putting a child on the spot to talk about their heritage in front of the rest of the class, if a student is willing to share his/her personal experiences and ideas on a subject, it often has a much more impactful and intrinsic connection with the students (and teacher) receiving this teaching.