Tag Archives: educational resources

Module Three – Decolonizing Tools + Protecting Stories

The topics I explored in this module relevant to our course are decolonization, research and intellectual property. My research interest, traditional stories, connects to all these areas, and I was curious what practical resources related to these topics are available to storytellers and educators in the media age.

(1) This week! July 20-21, 2017: First Nations Language Conference, Vancouver

Stories are told best in their own language. What decolonizing language initiatives are out there? This week’s Language Learning on the Land conference presented by First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) in Vancouver, BC might have some answers! Here is the summary:

The First Nations Education Steering Committee is pleased to present the First Nations Languages Conference, which is a major networking and professional development opportunity for BC’s school and community-based First Nations language educators and advocates. Together, we will explore the conference theme, Language Learning on the Land, and engage in workshops about First Nations languages teaching methods, assessment tools, advocacy, and technology.

The FNESC is a collective organization focused on “advancing quality education for all First Nations learners” that appears to be very active in organizing a vast array of initiatives, events and programs, such as the upcoming First Nations Language Teacher Mentor-Apprentice Program, Science First Peoples Workshop and Annual Aboriginal Education Conference.

(2) Authentic First Peoples Resources K-9

This resource deserves its own mention. The First Nations Education Steering Committee and First Nations Schools Association partnered up in 2011 to produce a publication of authentic materials. After an open call to Canadian publishers, BC educators developed an annotated list of resources. The guide defines authentic First Peoples texts and helps educators “make appropriate decisions about which of these resources might be appropriate for use with their students.” Updated in 2016, it asserts copyright under Canadian law. Within the document, it gives extended credit to authors, illustrators and contributors under each annotated listing, acknowledging communities and traditions. The free download is available here; printed copies may be ordered.

(3) Decolonizing Pedagogies

It seems appropriate as we move into our instructor’s readings, to cite one of Dr. McGregor’s relevant previous works. Decolonizing Pedagogies is a Teacher Reference Booklet prepared for the Aboriginal Focus School at the Vancouver School Board in March 2012. Fortunately for teachers in British Columbia and beyond, it still lives online. It is intended to explore:

What does “decolonizing pedagogies” mean? Why are decolonizing pedagogies important? What have educational scholars said about decolonizing pedagogies in Aboriginal education? How can decolonizing pedagogies be used in history education? What are the challenges of using decolonizing pedagogies?

What is the difference between revising content and pedagogy? As explained in the document:

Revising the content of education to better reflect Indigenous perspectives is often the focus of curricular reform. However, revising pedagogy used to produce and transmit Indigenous curriculum content can be equally important to effectively changing educational practice to make it more inclusive, holistic and reflective of Indigenous ways of teaching and learning.

A primary takeaway at the end of the document is to remember that decolonizing education is not only about integrating Indigenous content; it is about examining power relationships. The Resources list at the end provides further reading for examination.

(4) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Aboriginal Research

How is research evolving and decolonizing in Canada to include Indigenous methodologies and perspectives? I looked at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada’s Aboriginal Research page to find out. Among many links, it lists tools to support applicants working in Aboriginal research, such as:

The page also links to resources for those involved in Aboriginal research, including: Royal Commission Report on Aboriginal Peoples, Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Universities Canada principles on Indigenous education, Indigenous Education Protocol for Colleges and Institutes, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences: Reconciliation and the Academy and Parks Canada Indigenous Affairs Branch.

SSHRC is active in current research funding, as evidence by its March 16, 2017 press release titled, “Government of Canada Invests in Indigenous Research Projects.” Watch this space!

(5) Law, Research and Working Papers on Intellectual Property (IP)

Here are a few sources I discovered related to IP and cultural appropriation:

(i) First, the Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project was a seven-year international research initiative based at Simon Fraser University (2008-2016) that explored “rights, values, and responsibilities of material culture, cultural knowledge and the practice of heritage research.” The project is a practical resource and a network of support for communities and researchers. IPinCH does not appear to have materials after 2016, but does contain excellent articles such as “The Appropriation of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage: Examining the Uses and Pitfalls of the Canadian Intellectual Property Regime” published in November 2015. This project was funded by the SSHRC.

(ii) Moving back in time, Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights is a paper published by the Parliamentary Research Branch of the Library of Parliament of Canada in 2004. It addresses:

  • how Indigenous traditional knowledge differs from western science;
  • why and how to protect traditional knowledge;
  • limitations of the intellectual property rights regime; and
  • international initiatives in protecting traditional knowledge.

(iii) Finally, for historical context, I discovered “Intellectual Property and Aboriginal People: A Working Paper” published by the Research and Analysis Directorate of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and the Intellectual Property Policy Directorate of Industry Canada in 1999. Almost 20 years on, it may not be a current legal resource, yet many of the fundamental principles remain, and such a document can provide a reference to understand how far we have (or have not) come in regards to IP law reform.

For current legal advice on IP matters, it is advisable to turn to Indigenous practices within law firms, and Indigenous law firms such as OKT, whose central philosophy is that “there will be no real justice until Indigenous peoples have control over their own fates and futures” and works for clients who want to use Canadian law as a means to help achieve this goal and achieve success on their terms.

The Stories

In considering my contribution to this WebLog, I have chosen to focus on the theme of “Story”. Faye Ginseng (2002) makes this statement connecting the use of digital technology, story and indigenous people: “[I]ndigenous people are using screen media not to mask but to recuperate their own collective stories and history … that have been erased in the national narratives of the dominant culture and are in danger of being forgotten within local worlds as well” (p.40). The following additions to this WebLog focus on the evolving of sharing past indigenous story through the use of present-day technology.

Ginsburg, Faye D., “Screen Media: Resignifying the Traditional in Indigenous Media,”  in Media Worlds: Anthropology on a New Terrain, eds. Faye D. Ginsburg, Lila Abu-Lughod, and Brian Larkin, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002, 39-57.


{*** I’m noticing that some of the resources highlighted here are repeats on other WebLogs. Perhaps confirmation that they are worth perusing? {smile}}

Strong Nations


Strong Nations is an online book store that focuses on bringing indigenous literary text to all people. Their mission statement includes these words: “It is our hope that we can bring indigenous text to all peoples in order to create pathways that support the building of strong nations together”. The material available at this site ranges from children to adult literature and includes both fiction and nonfiction stories.


First Nations Pedagogy Online: Storytelling


Oral storytelling is a key part of First Nations culture and is primarily how traditional knowledge is shared to new generations. This resource is valuable in sharing key aspects of oral storytelling, traditional stories told through video, and teaching helps for educators desiring to bring oral storytelling traditions into the classroom.


Project of Heart


An online inquiry project resource described as a “hands-on, collaborative, inter-generational, artistic journey of seeking truth about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada”. This site includes an extensive collection of resources for users to move through their inquiry learning journey. Educators, church groups and professionals have participated in Project of Heart throughout Canada.


Where the Salmon Run: The Life and Legacy of Billy Frank Jr. ~ Trova Heffernan


An online story based on interviews with the Nisqually elder, Billy Frank Jr., and others who are close to him.  Billy Frank Jr. played a key role during the 1960s and 1970s as an activist campaigning for treaty rights and environmental consciousness related to salmon fishing rights on the Nisqually River in Washington.  


Rabbit and Bear Paws


A series of comical graphic novels written as a collaborate work by Christopher Meyer, Tanya Leary and Chad Solomon.  The stories and characters are based on traditional Native teachings incorporating The Seven Fires Prophecies and The Seven Grandfathers. The characters are from the Anishinabek Nation and the storylines lead them through challenges that are are handled peacefully while addressing traditional teachings.

The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS)

The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies (CAIRNS) “is an Indian-controlled non-profit research and education center that is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of American Indian communities and issues important to them by developing quality educational resources and innovative projects that acknowledge and incorporate tribal perspectives, and by serving as a meeting ground for peoples and ideas that support those perspectives”. The site contains information on a number of research topics, links to useful sites and educational resources.

bring First Nations, Metis, and Inuit history, culture, perspective, and knowledge in the classroom.

The Aboriginal Perspectives: A Guide to the Teacher’s Toolkit is an online resource from the Ministry of Education, developed by educators in Ontario, which has been designed to help elementary and secondary teachers bring Aboriginal perspectives into their classroom.

The article is divided in sections that touches on six main themes:

– Aboriginal Peoples and Organizations

– Culture, Tradition, and Language

– Cross-Cultural Perspectives

– Celebration

– Aboriginal Contribution

– Current and Historical Issues

Within each of these themes, background information is given various topics along with teaching strategies on how to incorporate the content in learning activities. Although the background information in each section doesn’t go in depth, it does provide a good starting point for anyone looking to bring First Nation, Metis, and Inuit history, culture, perspective, and knowledge into their classroom.

Module #1: Post 2- Multicultural Curriculum

A good starting point for school communities may be to make connections with the educational resources developed by the First Nations Educational Steering Committee which was established in 1992.

First Peoples Authentic Learning Resources K-7


As discussed in Dr. Lee Brown’s video interview, curriculum and our way of teaching needs to be reevaluated in order to accommodate different points of view. For example, the way some math concepts are taught are not in line with First Nations beliefs. This can cause anxiety and feelings of not being listened to or understood in the classroom. This is further compounded with standardized provincial test where questions are often close ended with students not having the opportunity to show their knowledge in different ways. The following link- http://www.fnesc.ca/curriculum/math offers a resource guide to help Math 8 and 9 teachers in developing curriculum and an learning environment where students feel more comfortable and motivated to participate with the goal of helping develop numeracy concepts and skills for lifelong learning.