Tag Archives: Digital storytelling

Module 3 Post 2 – Digital Harvest

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.



The Office For Community Partnerships in Health Research. (2012). OCPHR Newsletter project updates.  Retrieved from https://www2.viu.ca/pvpa/documents/Newsletter_January_2013.pdf

Vancouver Island University. (2014). VIU digital storytelling project empowers Aboriginal youth.  Retrieved from www.viu.ca/news/viu-digital-storytelling-project-empowers-aboriginal-youth


Skins Project


In the Skins project, games are built by youth and elders. The project involves transmitting old stories in a virtual reality format. They are preserving the culture and engaging youth, not only at the design stage, but also at the consumption stage as well. Students deal with the old stories in a respectful manner, but they also present them in a forward-looking manner.

Post by Trevor Price

July 4, 2015

Native Resolution, RezWorld and Skins

“By immersing Native Americans in their traditional languages and customs, Thornton hopes to teach them how to preserve parts of their culture in danger of dying out.”

The article linked to below explores the work of Don Thornton who created a language education game called RezWorld. The first iteration of this game was in Cherokee, but it can be adapted for any language. The article also leads us to the abtec website and to the Skins project (link below).



On the AbTec.org site is a network of people dedicated to encouraging aboriginal presence in the areas of “web-pages, online games, and virtual environments that we call cyberspace.” The site has articles outlining the curriculum for game design for First Nations youth (E.g.: Skins 1.0: A Curriculum for Designing Games with First Nations Youth).

Post by Trevor Price

July 4, 2015

Digital storytelling as a method of healing and connecting communities

My research is on digital storytelling and a common theme I am finding is the use of this form of media in order to heal and to connect communities. There are some wonderful digital stories out there told from many different groups.  I wish I had time to post them all up here. Maybe next time!

1. Adelson, N. Olding, M., Narrating Aboriginality On-Line: Digital Storytelling, Identity and Healing, (2013) Journal of Community Informatics Vol.9 (2)

This is a link to a scholarly article offering an “alternative perspective on digital technologies as creatively engaged tools of healing and empowerment in ways that effectively challenge issues of encroachment while at the same time going beyond standard configurations of medical innovation.” This article discusses the way Aboriginal people are using digital storytelling as a way of healing from colonization and empowering their people, and as an actual method of health education.


2. Métis Digital Stories for Healing, Connection, and Community

This is a link to a new article about how a community event was used to share many aspects of Métis culture, and included digital storytelling. The storytelling was an important aspect of the event and had an impact on the people who attended. The digital stories were shown to a wider audience at a later date.

I love this quote about the impact of the digital storytelling:

“I think the benefit of digital storytelling is three-fold: it brings Métis people together, shows us how similar we are in our lives, and it will help preserve what being Métis means.“ Jennifer LaFontaine, MNO citizen and Métis Digital Storytelling Project organizer.


3. Voices in the Wind Productions – Judy Iseke

This website is rich with digital stories and films created primarily by Métis filmmakers. I love  two of the films in particular,” A Living History of Métis Families” and “Grandmothers of the Métis Nation,” because they give a voice to the people of the community.


4. Screening the Past – Victorian Indigenous Communities and Digital Storytelling

This website gives an insight as to the motivations behind why many come to create their digital stories. I am so glad that I found this link because whereas I have found many websites with the final product, this site actually talks about the journey to create the digital story. I particularly enjoyed the anecdote about the Aunty who came to the workshop with two photographs and her coils for weaving. She didn’t have a story in mind, but with the assistance of the facilitator and an Uncle, she was able to create something meaningful. I think this blog demonstrates how something like a digital storytelling workshop can bring a community together.


5. Sharing Stories Foundation – To Preserve the Culture and Language of Indigenous People

While reading about this program offered in Australia it sounds like they offer workshops, lesson plans, and resources to teachers interested in creating digital storytelling projects with their Indigenous students. They provide entire kits of materials if needed and work very closely with the community to create the project.

The Foundation itself supports Indigenous cultures to “hold, share and transmit languages, stories and culture for present and future generations.” (About Us tab) I am reluctant to post the large and very good statement they have on their About Us tab regarding the responsiveness of their work to concerns raised by Elders community members, and Cultural Custodians, but it is worth a read if you have an interest in this area.

I was interested in knowing their source for the statement  that every two weeks the last speaker of a language passes away somewhere on the planet. I was surprised  and saddened by this, if it is indeed true but without a source, I had a hard time accepting it. Upon further research, I discovered that this claim is based on an inaccurate estimate. The numbers are still shockingly high, but not nearly at the level stated on the webpage. You can find more accurate information about language loss here: http://rosettaproject.org/blog/02013/mar/28/new-estimates-on-rate-of-language-loss/


Module 2 – Post 3 Indigenous Digital Storytelling On YouTube


The above article focuses on how contemporary Inuit youth are using video-sharing sites like Youtube to post short excerpts from their lives and connect with others. The article asserts that the videos they share fit with conceptions of indigenous storytelling, showing that Internet technology enables indigenous users the freedom to bypass established rules and institutions of cultural representation. It is argued that these self-produced videos are more authentic expressions of indigenous selfhood than those texts that may have circulated in the past. As such, this article seems to suggest that Indigenous youth and young adults use video-sharing technology to creatively mediate pasts, presents, and futures in the creation of new social worlds.

Module 1 | Post 5 A link to my own place

As I stated in an earlier post, I grew up in Salmon Arm which is located on Shuswap Lake and is located approximately 500 km to the North and East of Vancouver, British Columbia.  The Neskonlith band has a community that lives on the outskirts of Salmon Arm and they also have several communities near Chase, BC.   Chief Judy Wilson is the current leader of this band.  She is an interesting person and has an varied background in technology, communication and education.  Her experience includes audio-visual production, book publishing, broadcast journalism and web planning. She has completed the second year of a First Nations Public Administration program and is working towards a Master’s Degree in Public Relations.  She is a role model for her own community as Derik Joseph defines one in his paper and talk.

I found a wealth of resources and links on this site and want to share them here with ETEC 521 students.  It is a wealth of information about issues and content important to the community and it is an example of how technology is being used to build and share knowledge both within and outside the community.

For a past class, we were asked to create a digital story.  I created one and tied it to the places I have been and worked.  I thought it appropriate to share it here as we start the course and tie myself to place and share in the tradition of providing my own context and perspective before embarking on my journey in this course or sharing my perspective on the readings and my view of the world.


Module 1 | Post 1 Digital storytelling – An example from the Fraser River

I want to add another example of digital storytelling as a means of sharing ideas and building bridges between communities.  Several years ago I was lucky enough to be the researcher for the BCIT “Explore@ the Fraser River” project.  One of the key objectives of the project was to look at First Nation communities  who live along the river and to try and include their story and perspective in the website.   Willie Charlie from the Sts’ailes band in Harrison was given permission by the Elders of the community to share several of their stories.  I visited the community and was allowed to record Willie as he told me many stories of his people and their history on the River.  The stories are now online and can be accessed by anyone who is interested and wants to know more about the people who have lived on the Fraser for thousands of years.

One of the things that I think this project did very well was to present the information about the Fraser River as a story and it mixed many forms of media in the telling of the story.  The site is also not as structured as some others….it does not conform to a rigid info or education site as Flash was used to build the pages.  Sadly this means it is not accessible by iPads but at the time of its creation, it focused on the story and the visual and audio presentation of the content.  These options for novel web pages are fading as compliance with search engine optimization, security and coding has created a rigid structure for design and options for presenting and sharing stories.  I think the challenge in the future for websites and online media will be the allowance for creativity and alternate ways of relating to both content and the telling of tales.

The link to the site is at http://commons.bcit.ca/explorethefraser/  and the link to the pages for http://commons.bcit.ca/explorethefraser/people_river.html.  For information on Willie Charlie and his reason for sharing the stories is under Contributors in the About section of the site.