Tag Archives: Blackfoot

Niitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life


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This site is a digital exploration of Alberta’s Blackfoot People.  It is infused with language, pictures and videos, with limited writing and allows listeners to hear about traditional ways of life, stories, and to hear the Blackfoot language spoken. Besides the engaging interactivities (which are the best when exploring the Flash version), my favourite thing about this site is that it was made in partnership between the Glenbow Museum and the people of the Blackfoot First Nation. This helps make the site authentic and not an example of cultural appropriation. I appreciate that you can see the names of the Blackfoot people that helped create it. It actually goes along with a physical exhibit and books.


 Module 1, Post 1


Module 4.5 Four Directions Teachings

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!


Module 4 – Post 3: Four Directions Teachings

One of the topics this term that I’ve gravitated towards is that of using technology as a means to promote and protect Indigenous knowledge. Four Directions Teachings is a beautiful website, made possible by the Canadian Culture Online Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, was created to engage users to learn about traditional knowledge, by listening to recorded audios. The site emphasizes the importance of oral traditions and offers visitors the opportunity to listen to narrations as elders/traditional teachers share their perspectives, philosophies and cultural values of five distinct First Nations in Canada: Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq.

Module 1 / Post 5: Blackfoot Digital Library

The Blackfoot Digital Library is a repository of digital artifacts pertaining to the Blackfoot peoples. On this website you will find a dictionary of the Blackfoot language both written and spoken. There is also a long but interesting video on the Plains Sign Language that was filmed in 1930 featuring members from many different Plains Nations. The video is completely silent and features a video dictionary of terms from the Plains Sign Language.

It is interesting to watch and listen to these languages, however I find it challenging to understand since it is devoid of context. Language and culture are intertwined and to learn the various Blackfoot phrases from a website is merely an act of rote memorization. While a website can be an invaluable aid to preserve First Nations’ languages, I would imagine it is a challenge to actually learn those languages from the website.