Tag Archives: First Nations Peoples

A closer look at Indigenous communities in Canada

Resources on my journey of learning about Indigenous Communities across Canada and the world.

These sites provide a good foundation and starting point for my research around Indigenous communities.  As I read and research and gain a better understanding of the issues that Indigenous communities face, this will help me to drill down to a particular area that resonates with me.

#1 http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/aswt/


I live in the province of Alberta, so I think that it is important for me to start where I live and become aware of the resources that Alberta has for learning about its Indigenous communities. Walking Together is a First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) resource that guides educators, to understanding the FNMI perspectives and broadening worldviews around the issues the FNMI communities face. It lays out well the protocols around knowing how to build relationships with Indigenous communities.  It offers a holistic way of navigating the journey of understanding the worldview of FNMI peoples. There are videos from Elders about Indigenous worldviews, oral traditions, and understanding a deep connection to the land. There are insightful conversations that present a clear practical guide to understanding how to access, approach and be respectful in utilizing FNMI resources.

#2. http://files.unicef.org/policyanalysis/rights/files/HRBAP_UN_Rights_Indig_Peoples.pdf

Another Alberta connection: Renowned First Nation activist Dr. Cindy Blackstock, a member of the Gitksan First Nation and Executive Director of First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta prepared this document in collaboration with UNICEF.  The primary focus of the document is Indigenous adolescents; it speaks comprehensively to the rights of Indigenous peoples in 90 countries across the world. It advocates for their protection by governments all over the world.  It offers adolescents in global Indigenous communities, a solid foundation for knowing and understanding their rights. The word bank and the quiz in this document are useful tools. It is interesting to see that the theme for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9 was : Indigenous Peoples’ Right to Education.
#3 https://fncaringsociety.com/i-am-witness


Dr. Cindy Blackstock is regarded as being the single mom of hundreds of First Nations children and this website features the tireless work that she does on behalf of Canada’s First Nations children.  It details the work being done to reconcile the differences in the treatment of Canada’s Indigenous children versus non-indigenous children in the welfare system. Most importantly, however, the site gives practical actions that can be taken by every Canadian to bring about positive changes and make a difference in the lives of Canada’s Indigenous children. Find information about creating hope for Canada’s First Nation children and seven (7) ways to take action to restore dignity to Indigenous children. These include joining the movement, Jordan’s Principle.  Learn more about Dr. Blackstock in her interview on the National with Peter  Mansbridge. She speaks about the work that needs to be done by Canadians to become fully cognizant of Canada’s invisible and ‘normalized racism’ in its treatment of its Indigenous families. She speaks about the racism of government’s fiscal policy, by the way in which money is allocated to Indigenous vs non-Indigenous children in the welfare system.


#4 http://secretpath.ca/


Secret Path is a multimedia project by Gord Downie and Jeff Lemire. It is a song and a graphic novel about a young First Nations boy who died a half-century ago after running away from one of the residential schools. The money from the new album and book will be used to help the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation identify some of the children who died at the schools and were buried in unmarked graves. It will also be used to commemorate their lives and, in some cases, return them to their home communities.

#5  http://www.trc.ca/websites/trcinstitution/index.php?p=813

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) web site documents  Canada’s movement towards healing. It helps the nation to come to a deeper awareness of the effects of residential schools on Canada’s First Nation Population. It contains the TRC report of historical documentation of abuse that Indigenous children faced in residential schools. The true stories of residential school survivors bring life to the Commission. The site documents the call to action and changes that are being made to bring reconciliation and healing. One example of the changes that have come about as a result of the TRC is  -schools in Toronto are now starting each day with a First Nations lesson. This is an excellent way for all students in Canada’s public school to show respect to the teachings of Canada’s First Nations People, and it is movement in the right direction in the restoration of their culture.



Module 1 – The Global and the Local in Indigenous Knowledge

1. My first resource link is simply a link to a poster; however, I feel that the poster is so important as an educator attempting to integrate First Nations learning concepts into my own teaching, and in respecting the fact that all people and cultures learn in different ways. This link is for the First Peoples Principles of Learning poster. I have one in my classroom that my students and I refer to often.


2. My second link is to the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) website. FNESC is a provincial-level committee that works to improve the quality of education and success for all First Nations learners in British Columbia. The FNESC website offers links to programs, a wide range of resources, post secondary education links (news, resources, and programs), and current as well as archived news articles related to First Nations education.


3. My third link is to a collaborative and multi-group curriculum development project based on the traditions of the Witsuwit’en people of Northwestern British Columbia. This series of twenty-two short videos (the twenty-third video is a thank you to contributors and runs like the final “credits” portion of a movie) offer audiences the opportunity to view images from the 1920’s combined with recent images and interviews of the Witsuwit’en people, showing how traditions have been preserved and carried on today. This link appealed to me because of the readings in weeks one and two of ETEC 521 which discussed media representation of First Nations people and the preservation of traditions and culture.


4. My fourth link is to an article titled ” Children as citizens of First Nations: Linking Indigenous health to early childhood development” by Margo Greenwood (Paediatr Child Health. 2005 Nov; 10(9): 553-555). This article looks at early childhood programs for First Nations children, and the connection between health and well-being and preservation of culture and traditions. Greenwood discusses the diminished level of health for First Nations people across Canada and questions the values and ideologies imparted on First Nations youth through our typical early childhood development programs. Greenwood examines the fact that programs are generally based on a “school readiness goal” that is often not connected to the values and beliefs of Indigenous people. I found this article very interesting in terms of the links between educating First Nations children in culture, language and traditions, and the potential impacts on their overall health and well-being in the future.


5. My fifth link is to a National Post article “Native education problems won’t be fixed through more funding, study says” (Clarke, K., August 2014). I have included this article not because I find it a valuable resource necessarily, but because I believe it calls to question how dominant society and media view “success” in terms of First Nations learners. The article cites a study done by the Fraser Institute and refers to the author of the report, Ravina Baines, as saying that “Closer ties to a provincial system or replication of the provincial structure could improve graduation rates on reserves.” Because of the readings for the first three weeks of this course, I question the article’s foundations, and I question the implication that the “problems” with First Nations education on reserves are basically that the education given is not one created by the dominant society. Is it fair to judge how “successful” a system is based only on the values and beliefs of the dominant culture? I feel the article paints a negative picture of schools on reservations and I suppose I question the approach that is taken in the article. I feel that this article could lead to valuable discussions about what “success” truly means and what it means that an institute study and media are promoting the view that reserve schools could potentially fix their “problems” by aligning themselves more closely to dominant societal educational values and beliefs. It feels like colonialism in a less overt form to me.