Category Archives: Module 4

Dana’s Contributions to Module 4

Aboriginal Nations Education Division (ANED) for School District 61

So many amazing resources from my school district’s Aboriginal Education team. You can find pretty much anything you want here, or use this website as a launch point to bring authentic, Indigenous knowledge into your classroom or workplace.

Having said this, I found this resource on this site, that was developed by the BC government in 2006. It targets Kindergarten through Grade 10, and for the most part, looks like a useful document. However, when searching for material for my ETEC 521 paper, I did uncover something that did not sit well with me on p.82. It suggests that in Mathematics 10, that educators and students research the statistics surrounding Aboriginal graduation rates.  Although graduation rates have been slowly improving over the years, they are still below the provincial average.  An exercise such as this will consequently perpetuate stereotypes amongst non-Indigenous students and potentially send Indigenous students harmful messaging.  This document was produced by the Ministry of Education, who used Indigenous community members and educators to assist with its creation, however, at the end of the day, the MOE was the entity in charge of the final product. Who was the person who added this terrible idea to a government resource? In general, it is difficult to find culturally responsive material for academic Math 10, so did somebody “pad” this section without being informed? I find it very difficult to believe that any Indigenous person would think that this was a good idea!!

Four Directions Teachings

Click on the image to go directly to this interactive website that shares Indigenous knowledge from five First Nations from across Canada.  Drumming, storytelling, sound effects and beautiful graphics are clearly shared and described in these teachings. Be sure to spend time with the Teacher Resource package that is linked on the first page, as well.  My only disappointment is that the Coast Salish was not included in this resource, as this would help my non-Indigenous students connect more to the land that they live on and to the people who were here before colonization.  Barring that, this seems to be a great site for not only learning about specific Nations, but to also dispel stereotypes that promote pan-Indigenous homogenization.

Victoria’s booming shoebox campaign part of “reconciliaction”

This article was recently posted in the Victoria News, a local, community newspaper.  A family of Metis heritage has started a campaign that creates shoeboxes filled with age appropriate gifts for Indigenous youth who presumably are living in poverty conditions, north of Smithers, BC.

Having grown up in a state of lower, lower middle class myself, I think that I would have loved to have received a shoebox full of trinkets as a child. Sometimes when I was young, I did not think that anybody cared about me, and that I was more of a hassle, than anything else. I would imagine that Indigenous youth, in isolated towns, who may not have a heck of a lot to do or to live on, would be prone to feeling this way, as well.  Suicide rates in some communities, definitely exemplify this sentiment, in the worst possible way.

So my hat goes off to these young girls who are not only filling shoeboxes and but rallying others to do the same.  We all need to feel like somebody cares about us, that is the TRUTH!

However, is it fair for the editors of the newspaper to make a play on words, turning “reconciliation”  to “reconciliaction”? Hmmm… that part is not sitting well with me. Is it not the government’s role to “reconciliact”? It seems to me that this family is NOT enacting reconciliation via their noble campaign.  True, they are addressing the oppressive, harmful effects that colonization has had on Nations and their people. But this is not reconciliation…

What does reconciliation mean to you?

So what does reconciliation truly mean? Here are six individuals perspectives from a 2016 CBC article.  Spoiler alert: none of them mentioned shoeboxes…


My Kiwi Godfather posted this on his Facebook feed this week and I had to share.

“Colonization has forced stereotyping

To become a household name

Which resides under our beds

Becoming the monsters that we are now scared of.”

The raw talent of Kia Kaha is unreal and inspirational. When students are given the freedom to have their voices heard, powerful, life changing moments can and will transpire.



Module 4

The Secret Path began as poems written by Gord Downie, after he heard Chanie Wenjack’s story, who died at the age of 12 in 1966 while trying to escape residential school. The poems became songs, and the songs inspired a graphic novel of Chanie’s story. Gord Downie brought Chanie’s story into the conscience of Canadians. Some people may argue that Gord Downie is telling a story that isn’t his, but he was embraced by Chanie’s family and Aboriginal communities around Canada for his work in shining light on a dark corner of Canadian history.

This interactive website teachings children traditional languages through easy to click icons. There are no instructions, which makes it very kid friendly. They can click through and find an activity, like colouring, or click on icons that are linked to sound files to hear the names of everyday items or phrases. This would be a great way for students to learn new words at their own pace.

This is linked with the Ask Auntie site I posted about previously. While Ask Auntie is focused on girls, this a platform is set up in quests for youth to explore their identity and culture and become a young warrior. This is response to the suicide epidemic that was sweeping through some FNMI communities.

This is a link to Reel Youth, a company I hired while working as a digital media teacher. I was working in Ashcroft BC and teaching students in Lillooet, Clinton and Lytton via video conferencing. Reel Youth came to show students how to create stop motion animation. They weren’t just making any film, they had to think of an issue that really affected them and impacted their lives. I was amazed at how seriously my students took this assignment. Their films are political (without realizing it in most cases). They tackle issues like joblessness, poverty, healthcare, LGBTQ rights and the environment, all in 30 second claymation videos. One video in particular caught a lot of negative attention from a few community members and a YouTube comment war began. A parent sent it to Rick Mercer and he responded with a video. It was amazing to see my students in a tiny town be recognized by a public figure for their hard work. These videos are great examples of self representation and shows the issues the students (Indigenous and non-indigenous) feel are important and close to home.

This site is an interesting project run by a non-Indigenous person who is upfront about the questions of representing land on maps, which he sees are inherently colonial. You can enter an address and find out what traditional territory it is. Most of the results also link you to websites of those nations or language sites. It would be interesting to use this in a classroom ( there is a teacher guide as well). Students can zoom in or out to see the land covered by territories. It would offer a great way to start discussions about boundaries, nations and the uses of maps over centuries.

Distance education in rural indigenous communities in Canada – Chris Cramer

For my final weblog, I collected resources that focus on the core of my topic: distance education in rural indigenous communities in Canada.

Research on Distance Education for First Nations/aboriginals

IRRODL (International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning), Volume 15, Number 1 is now available, for free downloading as open educational resources.

Once again, this is an invaluable resource on the latest research in open and distance learning from authors in 15 countries/regions, covering the following topics (thanks to Diane Conrad, the co-editor, for this classification of otherwise disparate articles):

  • cultural aspects (impact of DE on First Nations/aboriginal communities in Canada; community and identity in MOOCs; DE and gender in Saudi Arabia; and cultural issues affecting DE in South Korea)
  • MOOCs and OERs
  • evaluation of different technologies used in DE
  • effective teaching approaches or factors influencing this.

Altogether this journal consists of 15 articles. I will in later posts review at least some of the articles, but I want to focus this post on one paper in particular, because it deals with a particular important issue here in Canada.


The State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada: A Holistic Approach To Measuring Success

Aboriginal people in Canada have long understood the role that learning plays in building healthy, thriving communities. Despite significant cultural and historical differences, Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Métis people share a vision of learning as a holistic, lifelong process.

Increasingly, governments, Aboriginal organizations and communities are making decisions and developing policies that reflect a better understanding and awareness of an Aboriginal perspective on learning. However, the effectiveness of these decisions still typically rely on conventional measurement approaches that offer a limited—and indeed incomplete— view of the state of Aboriginal learning in Canada.

Current measurement approaches typically focus on the discrepancies in educational attainment between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth (in particular, high-school completion rates) and often overlook the many aspects of learning that are integral to an Aboriginal perspective on learning. As a result, conventional measurement approaches rarely reflect the specific needs and aspirations of Aboriginal people.

This situation is not unique to Canada. In a recent report, the United Nations stated “it is of utmost importance that Governments, indigenous peoples, donors and civil society organizations work together to ensure that special [measurement] approaches are devised to coincide with the aspirations of indigenous peoples.”

Without a comprehensive understanding of Aboriginal people’s perspective on learning and a culturally appropriate framework for measuring it, the diverse aspirations and needs of First Nations, Inuit and Métis across Canada will continue to be misinterpreted and misunderstood.


Lessons Learned: Effectiveness of Courses Developed for Aboriginal Teacher Candidates Delivered at a Distance

Recent Ontario provincial and federal education policy developments propose to increase the academic success of an ever increasing number of First Nation children attending urban and First Nation schools. Key to achieving that goal is increasing the number of Aboriginal educators who are skilled in teaching that is grounded in culturally responsive and relational pedagogy. In many instances, those interested in pursuing such a career in education are limited in their ability to attend conventional teacher education programs because they live in remote communities, have familial responsibilities, and/or have limitations related to their employment. Creating and resourcing teacher education programs that consider the realities of First Nation peoples will be fundamental to achieving the goals set out by the Ontario and federal governments. This paper highlights factors that limit access to university education for First Nation peoples and presents the results of a pilot study that evaluated a unique teacher education program for Aboriginal students delivered at a distance from their home communities. The paper also discusses the opportunities and pitfalls associated with technology-mediated Aboriginal teacher education.


Digital Technology Innovations in Education in Remote First Nation

Students in many remote First Nations in Northwestern Ontario and other regions across Canada now have a choice for their education: to remain in their community with their family, close to their traditional lands and teachings, or to travel to a far-away urban environment to access an education. The choice is made possible with digital technologies that support new formal and informal educational opportunities in remote First Nations. The use of digital technologies in these special geographic environments is changing how people create and share their experiences and teachings with others (McMullen & Rorhbach, 2003; Molyneaux et al., 2014; Simon, Burton, Lockhart, & O’Donnell, 2014). This study explores how digital technology is supporting the decolonization of education in remote First Nations in Northwestern Ontario.


Post-Secondary Distance Education: Experiences of Elsipogtog First Nation Community Members

Post-secondary distance education is an option for community members living in many Atlantic First Nations. Currently several universities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and further afield offer distance education to community members in Elsipogtog First Nation. The course delivery is offered through videoconferencing or the web for individuals and groups in community classrooms. These courses and technologies offer both opportunities and challenges for students who choose to study in the community where they live and work.

This exploratory paper considers some of these opportunities and challenges. The discussion includes preliminary results from research based on interviews with community members of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick. Most community members interviewed had taken post-secondary courses by distance education while living and working in their community. This paper is based on an initial analysis of these interviews. The focus is their experiences of distance education, in particular with videoconferencing and online web-based course delivery systems.



Beaton, B., & Carpenter, P. (2016). Digital Technology Innovations in Education in Remote First Nations. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from

Lessons Learned: Effectiveness of Courses Developed for Aboriginal Teacher Candidates Delivered at a Distance (2014). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from

Research on Distance Education for First Nations/aboriginals, from IRRODL, Vol. 15, No. 1. (2014). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from

Simon, J., Burton, K., Lockhart, E. & O’Donnell, S. (2012) Post-Secondary Distance Education: Experiences of Elsipogtog First Nation Community Members. Presented at the Atlantic Native Teachers Education Conference (ANTEC), Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from

The State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada: A Holistic Approach to Measuring Success. (2009). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from



Module 4 – Post # 5 ~ Graduation Rates Increasing; Still a Long Way to Go

High School Aboriginal Student Graduation rates are on the rise throughout western Canada British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan all report higher graduation rates. However, the graduation rates are still significantly lower (18% in BC) for Indigenous students when compared to non-indigenous peers, and the graduation rate of on-reserve schools is still lower.

Mainstream schools that have seen and increase in Aboriginal student graduation have worked to cultivated school climates that are culturally-responsive, that recognize the richness of Indigenous culture, offer specific courses with Aboriginal content and encourage teachers to use diverse teaching methods that Indigenous students are found to be more successful with.

Indeed, Tyron McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steer Committee acknowledges that Indigenous students respond to more inclusive learning environments; and students like high school graduate Cauy Kealy note that affirmation of his cultural roots, and his teachers’ belief in him motivated him to graduate. Schools like Dryden High School in Ontario and Chetwynd Secondary School in BC have found the importance of not only reinforcing positive self-and-cultural-image, but also having an academic and life “coach” working with each individual student and their teachers had increase success rates.

Unfortunately, on reserve schools have even less graduates due to poor funding, teacher retention and teacher training, and many reserves do not have secondary schools at all. Students choose to remain home with family instead of moving away for high school.

Module 4: Post # 4 ~ Clothing and Cultural Pride

Traditional Indigenous Clothing was one of the first things early European explorers adopted as they surveyed the New World in search of the Northwest Passage. It was recognized for its durability, quality and ability keep the wearer warm in harsh climates. European clothing, however was cheaper and at the time more fashionable. Indigenous inspired clothing is now hitting the mainstream not only in Canada, but in other parts of the world.

Smaller companies like Sapling and Flint Designs and Tlicho Online Store work to promote and celebrate their cultures and support their communities through the sale of their products. While companies like NeechieGear promote the celebration of Indiginous culture in general, while giving a percentage of their proceeds back to the community.

Although Manitoba Mukluks is one of the most successful of these the Indigenous-owned company strives to insure that the success of the company is shared with others, as it supports Indigenous communities, celebrates Indigenous values, traditions and history.

In 2014 Australia hosted its first Indigenous Fashion Week showcasing artists and designers and well as inspiring Aboriginal models, whom were mentored by professional models throughout the week.

Other designers like Canada’s Jamie Medicine Crane notes that she is inspired by her Blackfoot culture when designing. She also uses her designs to bring attention to social issues, for example a gown with 2,000 gemstones, each representing a missing or murdered Indigenous Woman.

Cultural Appropriation is a concern for many, as artists and designers often take ideas from one another.  In 2015 after creating a sweater that was a replica of an Inuit Shaman’s jacket, the UK fashion label KTZ did pull the jacket from store shelves, and apologize, but did not offer financial compensation. The company did say they were trying to “to encourage appreciation for traditions, ethnicities and religions’ diversity.” Additionally, Canadian designers Dean and Dan Caten of Dsquared2, have not only used Indigenous inspired designs, but were accused of using racist labeling in their 2015-16 collection titled #Dsquaw.

There are no laws protecting Indigenous art, designs, or other traditional knowledge. According to Simon Fraser University professor, George Nicholas, “Indigenous heritage is often seen as public domain, free for the taking,” and it is extremely difficult to protect. Intellectual-property laws were not designed with shared cultural knowledge and art in mind. The World Intellectual Protection Organization has formed a special committee to develop a system that would protect Indigenous intellectual property.

Whitehorse lawyer, Clair Anderson encourages Aboriginal groups should look at their traditional laws. She gives the example of the Tlingit culture:

“if someone exploits someone else’s design or steals property, they must apologize in front of the community at a public forum, like a potlatch. She says some sort of compensation is given — whether it’s monetary or the gifting of a song.”

Module 4: Post # 3 ~ Boys with Braids

One of the first things many residential school survivors experienced was the cutting of their hair. Today, many Indigenous People are choosing to grow their hair long as a statement of cultural pride. However, hair has a greater spiritual meaning for many Aboriginal cultures.

Boys with Braids is an educational movement dedicated to sharing the teachings of why boys, men and elders wear braids. Started by Michael Linklaster when his son was bullied for having long hair. Linklaster hopes to stop bullying by raising awareness about the spiritual and cultural significance of long hair. He also hopes that Indigenous children and youth will take more pride in their long hair.

Cecil Sveinson, host of a March 2016 Winnipeg Boys with Braids Event hopes to raise awareness among non-Indigenous Adults as well. Hoping that with raised awareness adults will be more culturally sensitive.


Module 4: Post # 2 ~ Reconciliation: An Ongoing Process for All Canadians

The Ontario Ministry of Indigenous Relation and Reconciliation’s Facebook page and website made me consider how many non-Indiginous Canadian’s are “involved” with the ongoing reconciliation process, and what they can do to support Indigenous Canadian’s through this process.

CBC’s Rosanna Dearchild, host of Unreserved posted the question in October of this year, “How are you putting reconciliation into action?” The post explores how reconciliation is an ongoing process and everyone plays a part.


Module 4: Post # 1 ~ Alaska Natives: Our Fight to Survive

A Short AJ+ Documentary Titled Alaska Natives: Our Fight to Survive looks at the past, present and future of Indigenous Peoples in Alaska; including major obstacles, such as the division among the people caused by oil and gas exploration. As people struggled between a desire to protect the land, and the need to earn a living.

The documentary is informative and well done, but I found it interesting that none of the producers are Indigenous.

The documentary does raise many issues. One of which, is food insecurity faced by the Inuit due to high rates of unemployment, and low paying jobs, brought on by the rapid modernization of Canada’s north in the last fifty years. The Feeding Nunavut Program reports that 60% of Nunavut’s children live in households without a dependable quantity of nutritious food.

One of the solutions to the program was paying harvesters to hunt and distribute the food gathered throughout the communities participating. Interestingly the traditional food, called country food, could not be shared with the schools because of health regulations. The author of the report, Taye Newman, noted that this was discouraging as the rules are in direct contrast with the goal of feeding children, and encouraging traditional foods. Another success of the program was the involvement of youth in learning how to hunt, gather, and prepare traditional foods.

Module 4 – Alexis’ Final Weblog

For most of my Weblog posts in this course I have focused in on my paper topic of m-learning in rural Indigenous communities, but for this last weblog, I wanted to spend some time sharing a diverse list of resources that I have come across in my day-to-day web use. The weblogs have been helpful to me throughout this term in seeking out sources and considering their value to education.

1. Tanya Talaga tells us about her new book: Seven Fallen Feathers

I watch The Social almost every day – it’s sort of like the Canadian version of The View. The ladies on the social are well educated women who discuss local and international news, as well, they debate controversial subjects and bring in the audience for discussion through social media. Just recently, on November 15, they had Tanya Talaga on the show talking about her new book Seven Fallen Feathers which is about seven Indigenous youth that go missing by leaving home in the North and attending school in the city. During the segment they discussed the issues of Northern Ontario youth having to leave their families to attend High School in Thunder Bay and how most Indigenous children receive $2,000 less in funding for education than non-Indigenous children. As well, they discussed Gord Downie’s work with a Secret Path and reconciliation after residential schools. It isn’t too often that Indigenous issues are discussed on The Social, so I thought it was an interesting thing to share – particularly good timing as we are in this class analyzing these very issues. It’s great to see shows that would fit more into the “popular culture” category having guest speakers such as Talaga to spread light on these issues.

Sometimes videos on The Social’s website become locked, or you may have to search for it on the page. So if you have issues viewing the video, just comment on this post, and I should be able to share it on this site. I saved a copy of the video.


2. Indigenous Storytelling in VR

Funded by the Canada Media Fund

CMF recently spearheaded a national effort to create Canada’s Indigenous screen office to support the development, production and marketing of Indigenous screen based content.

Engaging discussion with Indigenous filmmakers and artists – discussion about Indigenous life in the next 150 years.

This video offers great conversations around Canada 150, and what the future of Canada will look like. 2167 is the name of project discussed, aka year 2167 (150 years into the future).


3. Liberal government backs bill that demands full implementation of UN Indigenous rights declaration

This article was just posted today! Nov 21st!

This article highlights a decision by the Liberal government that backs bill C-262 that “…calls for full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).” UNDRIP recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to be free of racial discrimination as well as have autonomy with internal and local affairs. Notably, the bill also “…calls on governments to guard against any act of genocide, which includes ‘forcibly removing children of the group to another group’” as the “Liberals have acknowledged there is still much work to do as there are now more First Nations children in state care then at the height of the residential school era.” This bill will be an essential step in achieving reconciliation.


4. Assembly of First Nations to have seat at international climate change conference for first time

This is another article that I found earlier this month. This article discusses how the Assembly of First Nations was an official delegate for the first time in a major international climate change conference in Germany at the beginning of November. The article discusses how traditional knowledge needs to be respected in discussing issues regarding climate change.


5. First Nations families weigh children’s education vs. safety

Here is another video about the issues regarding rural northern Ontario’s Indigenous students having to leave their families and communities to attend High School in Thunder Bay. This video is different than ones I have previously seen, in that it focuses on some families that choose not to send their children to Thunder Bay, and try to find alternative places for their children to attend school. Thunder Bay has a history of abuse towards Indigenous people, which leaves rural communities scared, but without a lot of choices as to where their children can attend school. This video is a good resource in clearly showing the issues of abuse in cities like Thunder Bay and the need for education to be more readily available to Indigenous people in Northern Ontario. Self-determination and self-government for Indigenous communities needs to be a top priority in parliament.


6. Could a new approach to First Nations housing be a game changer?

I wanted to include this resource as well. This resource is about the housing crisis that plagues many First Nations communities in Canada. Because of natural disasters, many First Nations communities have reached out to the government in hopes of getting housing support, but have seen very little support. Building materials are expensive, making it difficult to make repairs to homes. Many homes don’t have running water, and many have holes in the walls that cause the homes to remain cold in the winter. It’s approximately a 10 year wait to get a home built on reserves because of poor government planning, with materials arriving without any building contracts in place. The video discusses how the housing plans, and the way the houses have been built, has been a tool to assimilate Indigenous people. It’s also discussed how the government control of the housing is causing mental health issues within the communities. The video discusses a new approach that might help to improve some of the issues around housing, including getting young people involved in the design process.


Module 4 Post 1 (Rebeka Tabobondung)


I have chosen to highlight the work of academic, artist, media artist, poet and Wasauksing First nation member,  Rebeka Tabobondung because of how she weaves her artistic practice with her academic analyses. Through her multidisciplinary work, Rebeka highlights the importance of self determination through the construction of autonomous Indigenous media. She describes these connections in the following writing: Indigenous Perspectives on Globalization: Self determination Through Autonomous Media Creation.

Her Poetry


We are waking up to our history
from a forced slumber
We are breathing it into our lungs
so it will be part of us again
It will make us angry at first
because we will see how much you stole from us
and for how
long you watched us suffer
we will see how you see us
and how when we copied your ways
we killed our own.
We will cry and cry and cry
because we can never be the same again
But we will go home to cry
and we will see ourselves in this huge mess
and we will
gently whisper the circle back
and it will be old and it will be new
Then we will breathe our history back to you
you will feel how strong and alive it is
and you will feel yourself become a part of it
And it will shock you at first
because it is too big
to see all at once
and you won’t want to believe it
you will see how you see us
and all the disaster in your ways
how much we lost
And you will cry and cry and cry
because we can never be the same again
But we will cry with you
and we will see ourselves
in this huge mess
and we will gently whisper the circle back|
and it will be old and it will be new.


Red Man Laughing Podcast: Interview

Award from U of T

Muskrat Magazine