This documentary/mockumentry examines how white culture has tried to document the ‘other’ through lack of understanding and cross-cultural exchange. It does this by reversing the traditional roles of subject and documenter – an Inuit community tries to understand white culture by using the same methods that western documenters used on them to falsely represent their cultures.
To me, by re-appropriating the methods of settler culture, this film strongly comments on how traditional usages of media have served to subjugate and misrepresent Indigenous people and communities.
I must say that this weblog assignment has been vital to my learning in the class. Through my research and “web-travels”, I went down many necessary rabbit holes and discovered amazing resources. I have also learned through the posts of my peers. This is a site I will bookmark and continue to refer to throughout my career as an educator.
Many of the readings and videos in the last two modules spoke to the need for trained teachers in Northern areas who were a part of the community and made long lasting connections with students. The students in the videos spoke about how important it was to have Indigenous teachers from their very own communities. As I watched, I wondered how Canadian post-secondary institutions were addressing this need through their programming. I found a great example from the University of Saskatchewan that supports Indigenous students who would like to become teachers. Applicants are encouraged through a coordinator and also flexible admission for new and mature students. The curriculum integrates subject matter that will prepare teachers to work with Indigenous students. I came across another related page that showed how U of S also offers an Indigenous Languages Certificate for any educator to enrich their education.
The Think Indigenous Podcast comes out of the ITEP program (linked in above posting) at the U of S. The podcast is situated at the intersection of “digital media, education, and Indigenous storytelling” and features many interesting and knowledgeable guest speakers. I just discovered this podcast and will need to catch up on past episodes, but it is incredibly relevant to this class as it is all about Indigenous education. A description on its websites promises that the program “peels back the layers, shines a light on and celebrates best practices in Indigenous education!”. It is available for free on many platforms and there is even an accompanying conference that people can attend. I am very impressed at the Indigenous education initiatives coming out of the University of Saskatchewan!
This document is about 10 years old but the principles in it are very relevant to today when we are looking at strategies to assist with Indigenizing curriculum. It is also very applicable to any level in education (K-post secondary) that serves indigenous students. The document outlines best practices in several areas: understanding FNMI learners, redefining how Indigenous success in education is measured and looking at holistic learning models and forms of assessment. Place based learning is explored throughout the document, as well as the need to integrate community, language, and Elders into education. The document is full of statistics, quotes from educators, evidence-based recommendations and great graphics. It really brings many of the topics we have explored in our ETEC class together!
This resource is a WordPress site created by BC educator Jo Chrona. For those of you who use Twitter, Jo (@luudisk) is definitely a must-follow as she posts a lot on the topic of Indigenous education and often shares her viewpoint on issues as well as some rich resources. Her blog site is equally full of tools for educators, and is a thoughtful compilation of research, resources, professional development activities and links to other initiatives in BC and Canada. A quick look at her reference page demonstrates many of the readings that we did in our ETEC class- there is no mention but I wondered if this was possibly an assignment related to this class as it was posted in 2014- worth looking at for any Canadian educator!
Although this resource doesn’t really fit with the theme of the other items in my weblog, I could not resist the need to share it with my classmates as I enjoyed viewing it so much and would recommend it to anyone. Elder in the making is a film (broken into 6 episodes- and free to watch on YouTube) that showcases the journey of Chris Hsiung, a Chinese Canadian from Calgary and CowboyX, a young Blackfoot man from southern Alberta, and their quest to discover their own heritage and how someone comes to be an Elder. One thing I have learned in this class is that in order to understand other cultures, we must first do a self-examination of our own relationship to culture. This documentary is stunningly beautiful, honest, emotional, and educational. In the final episode, an unexpected event leaves Chris and Cowboy to mourn the loss of a friend, yet is inspirational and renews hope for the future. This film is created by local artists and really brings together what we’ve learned in our ETEC class and shares it through the use of technology and storytelling. I ended up watching all the episodes in one day- a must see!
“It’s about sovereignty and liberation. So when you see the Trump administration coming in, as well as in Canada where the government has approved three major pipelines cutting through various Indigenous territories — I think with that kind of political willpower and power of the state, it’s a war on Indigenous people.”
ImagineNATIVE is Indigenous-run organisation based out of Toronto. This organization presents the world’s largest Indigenous film festival, this year they are focusing on reconciliation, and numerous other activities throughout the year.
ImagineNATIVE is committed to public education, as well as crushing stereotypes that exist. They want to showcase Indigenous peoples through diverse media presentations from within our communities. ImagineNAtive also conduct s professional development workshops and panels, public education initiatives, research projects, and curriculum/educators’ packages for secondary schools created from Indigenous pedagogies.
This year a short film called, STOLEN was featured, this piece was written by one of my old students, Kawennahere Jacobs. The story centers around Sheena, a lost teenager, who is placed in a girl’s home. Seemingly forgotten and yearning for a life of freedom, she runs away, only to be picked up by a dangerous stranger. The directorial debut by actor Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs is a sober commentary of missing Indigenous women.
We Can’t Make the Same Mistake Twice was features at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Directed by celebrated documentarian Alanis Obomsawin, this film documents the events following the filing of a human rights complaint by a group of activists — including the Assembly of First Nations and the Caring Society, led by the heroic and indefatigable Cindy Blackstock. The federal government was charged with woefully inadequate funding of services for Indigenous children constituted a discriminatory practice.
A Tribe Called Red has taken the electronic music community by storm in the last few years. They blend, hip-hop, reggae and dubstep, with elements of First Nations music, and their music is often referred to as “powwow step”a style of contemporary powwow music for urban First Nations, weaving, singing and drumming into all of their song.
Here is one of their newest singles, STADIUM POW WOW.
Award winning author Joseph Boyden has had his novel The Orenda, transformed in to a ballet performed by The Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Going Home Star is the name of their critically acclaimed original ballet, featuring music from Tanya Tagaq. The moving piece was commissioned with the support of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the ballet was brought the performance to 12 Canadian cities on tour during the spring.
Many of you may have noticed that some of your freinds on Facebook have updated their statuses and they have “checked in” at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation even though they are not actually there.
Sliammonfirstnation.com is the website for the Indigenous community located in Powell River, also known as the Tla’amin First Nation. The site provides a variety of information related to the community as well as the link below to the full length Sliammon documentary film. The film discusses history, culture, and a variety of issues by interviewing numerous community members and elders. The film was produced and directed by members of the community and is an interesting example of the use of film to address issues of decolonization and cultural stereotypes.
This is a short documentary about three young Native Americans who tell their story living in Minnesota. They each speak about what it was like growing up in Minnesota that was different from their cultural way of life. One young man gave an example about the way they use to get their meat from the grocery store and that he had no idea he could buy beef. He thought everybody hunted and fished or went into the woods to get their meat. Another girl felt she was more assimilated and didn’t practice her traditions/culture, while another mentioned that going to sweats and being ceremonial was not a part of her lifestyle. It wasn’t until much older when each of them began experiencing their culture more. Everyone was affected by colonization differently, and reminiscing about the “boarding school era” where the children grew up not knowing anything about their culture reinforced that the dominant culture is what you see inside of everybody. The historical trauma is still affecting people today and now it’s about trying to figure out how to move on, but more importantly, letting everyone else know that they are still here and have a strong culture to preserve and share.