Tag Archives: cultural identity

First Nations Dance in Physical Education-Module 1


I decided to focus my research on a subject I am very familiar with, physical education, and try to find connections with both first peoples, education (specifically PE) and also technology. After beginning my research I realize it is going to be difficult to tie all three of these topics together, however with some creative lessons I feel it can be done. I have spent the past 6 years in elementary schools and as a high school trained physical educator it is difficult to spark interest in the younger students, especially with subjects like dance. Yes, surprising, but unless they feel connected to the topic, they lose interest easily. I think this research will help me create lessons that not only tie students to the first peoples rich community I currently work in, but will help them learn how to express themselves in a new way. 


In Our Own Words-First Peoples Content k-3 Classroom

This is a website that links to a PDF containing lessons and resources on how to introduce the first peoples culture into the k-3 classroom. Since I currently teach k-5 PE I feel this is a valid resource. There are two units I felt could be integrated easily, with some creative lessons, into physical education; The Spirit of Celebration and The Power of Stories. Using these topics as a starting off point to a dance unit would be great.


Native Dance

This is an incredible website that contains video, lessons, and ideas about native dance across the country. This would be an excellent starting off point for students looking to create a dance to honour first people. It also has some great examples for them to view.


Cultural Dances Offer World Benefits

I took this resource mostly because it is from one of my favourite papers, but also because it has some great ideas on why cultural dance should be taught to youth. Not only is dance beneficial physically but it can help students feel more tied to their communities.


Statistics Canada

I teach at a school that has a very high population of first nations students and found this extremely interesting. It is from statistics Canada and gives some insight into the number of first nations youth who actually participate in cultural activities and extra curricular activities, which will provide some great points for my study on first nations dance in gym class.


Art and Styles of Pow Wow Dancing

This final website is mostly beneficial to me, as a physical educator, in that it breaks down the pow wow dance in detail. It gives some excellent examples of the elaborate costumes worn and could be used with students in the classroom. It also speaks to the importance of storytelling in the dance itself, something I feel will help students connect with the topic more.

Research 5 links Exploring Arts, Culture, Indigeneity and Technology

The more I research into art, technology and indigeneity, the more intrigued I am with the topic. There are many layers to the topic and it is constantly evolving as culture is not static and there is not one set definition of what culture is. In addition, technology continues to evolve so more layers become added including commodification and differing world views on this.


In the journal article, “Aboriginal theater: does ’sold out’ mean ’selling out’? “ The author discusses the disparity between Western Civilizations’ view of theater and the aboriginal point of view which encompasses a reflecting of spiritual truth as they see it. He highlights the complexities of ancient, traditional Aboriginal art forms and finds that the performing arts have been portrayed as primitive ritual lacking in the sophistication and complexity of contemporary western civilization. He speaks to the ethnocentric and naïve view that western thought purports and proposes that these art forms may be  difficult to interpret using western mode of thought.



In the journal article “From Colonialism to Multiculturalism? Totem Poles, Tourism and National identity in Vancouver’s Stanley Park”, the author reflects about the symbol of the totem pole and questions whose culture is represented, displayed and consumed. She questions whether or not they adequately capture the complicated and diverse histories and experiences of first nations people in the province of BC. She also discusses the use of totem poles as a statement of Canadian heritage and questions the Canadian Government’s use of them for their economic and cultural value. She writes further that the displays run the risk of minimizing the histories and legacies of aboriginal people within our nation.


In the article, “Authentic Inuit Art: Creation and Exclusion in the Canadian North”, the author discusses how Modern Inuit commercial arts grew out of the desires of multiple non-Inuit agencies and persons. He also discusses how these outside influences worked to create new art forms which were means of carrying out the will of these competing persons in a complex competition to control social and cultural relationships. These were appropriated by the Inuit and this new art gave them new strength to establish new economic, social and political institutions.  In all, the article examines the historical support and shaping of Canadian Inuit art in the 20th century,  and the consequences of outside influences.


In In the article, “Indigenous culture: both malleable and valuable”,  the author speaks to Ideological  tensions that arise with the effort to balance the preservation of cultural integrity with the selling of marketable wares.  She proposes further interdisciplinary research to develop an understanding that supports the long‐term sustainability of indigenous communities. She finds that existing discourse is currently dominated by non‐indigenous voices and Western tourism motivations, which need amelioration to better support the community‐based approach.


In the article, “The Artifice of Culture, Contemporary Indigenous Art and the Work of Peter Robinson”, the author discusses the huge effect   computing, Internet, and televisual technologies have had on the conditions of the production, reproduction, circulation, and consumption of cultural imagery. These technologies are fueling an economy and the commodification of art as culture.  Indigenous and non‐Indigenous perspectives on commodification are likely to provide different views. The article examines  the representation of contemporary,  ‘non‐traditional’ Indigenous art and the definition of cultural property and identity.



Module 3, Post 2 – Aboriginal Leadership Programs

The video “Fraser River Journey” touched on the importance of giving youths the opportunities to be able to understand who they are so that they could be stronger and become leaders in their community. The Aboriginal Leadership Programs, created by the Me to We, aim to do just that.

Their first program is a 3-day workshop that focuses on educating and motivating First Nations, Metis and Inuit youths to become leaders in their own communities by teaching them leadership skills and highlighting their personal and cultural identity with the help of elders and mentors.

The second program focuses more on the history and cultural traditions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. This is also a 3-day workshop in which youths have the opportunity to collaboratively create action plans to promote awareness and support for cultural diversity.

What I liked about these programs is that they are designed to fit the needs of the youths and include members of their communities. Teaching them these skills, using methods that they can relate to (the Seven Teachings and the Medicine Wheel), will open opportunities for them to be part of the solutions and make positive changes within and outside of their communities.

Module 2: Post 5- National Aboriginal Day

June 21st is one of celebration with National Aboriginal Day in different cities across Canada. These events are opportunities to strengthen cultural identity and make connections between the past, present and future. With technology, communication about these events makes them more accessible to those who want to learn more about aboriginal culture.



I came across this quote from Nelson Mandela about the power of sport in breaking down discrimination and uniting people.

“ Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers. It laughs in the face of all types of discrimination.” Nelson Mandela 2000