Tag Archives: oral storytelling

Building on literacy

Here are my first 5 websites/resources all with a focus on literacy, literature and storytelling with a digital lens:)




This website was created as a resource highlighting the history of storytelling and how using digital stories can bring storytelling into the digital age. Storytelling has always been a means to pass knowledge and teaching to the younger generation in Indigenous communities.

With the release of the findings and recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015, these teachings are even more important to preservice Indigenous cultures in Canada to teach youth about ethics, concepts and practices found within each nation.


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Although this website celebrates many different books by Canadian authors, this link is directly to a celebration of literacy through picture books honoring the heritage, achievements and cultures of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada. It was created to celebrate National Aboriginal History month.




This is the website for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. Here we can find many classroom activities for young children to reinforce the culture of Indigenous groups in Canada in public school classrooms. With an emphasis on storytelling, the 6 major regions of First Nations in Canada are represented. Audio clips of First Nation legends are available for the teacher to use in her learning environment.




The annotated listings provided in this guide identify currently available authentic First Peoples texts that students can work with to meet provincial standards related to literacy as well as a variety of specific subject areas.

The guide is intended to help BC educators introduce resources that reflect First Peoples knowledge and perspectives into classrooms in respective ways. The inclusion of authentic First Peoples content into classrooms supports all students in developing an understanding of the significant place of First Peoples within the historical and contemporary fabric of this province and provides culturally relevant materials for Indigenous learners in British Columbia.



This resource examines the importance of Storytelling as the foundation for literacy development for Aboriginal children. There is substantial evidence that Aboriginal youth face serious challenges in schooling, in general, and in literacy development, specifically. Thus, it is essential to design early literacy programs that engage Aboriginal children and produce positive outcomes. In this article, the authors propose that such programs include oral storytelling by teachers and students because it is a precursor to reading and writing across cultures and a traditional Aboriginal teaching tool. Links   to research could support an exploration of literacy development in the Aboriginal population.



Storytelling as a Foundation to Literacy Development for Aboriginal Children: Culturally and Developmentally Appropriate Practices

It is determined in this article that Aboriginal children are at a severe disadvantage at school and more specifically, with literacy and literacy development.  The authors suggest that an introduction to oral storytelling is, not only an Aboriginal tradition, but it is also the first steps when learning to read and write.  Storytelling, historically and today, is the way that First Nations people share knowledge, culture and lessons and in doing this they preserve what is most important to them: language, traditions, culture and identity.   Combined with the oral and storytelling components it is also brought forward  that the  literacy resources used need to reflect First Nations culture and address the social and spiritual realities of Aboriginal learner.

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Niitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life


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This site is a digital exploration of Alberta’s Blackfoot People.  It is infused with language, pictures and videos, with limited writing and allows listeners to hear about traditional ways of life, stories, and to hear the Blackfoot language spoken. Besides the engaging interactivities (which are the best when exploring the Flash version), my favourite thing about this site is that it was made in partnership between the Glenbow Museum and the people of the Blackfoot First Nation. This helps make the site authentic and not an example of cultural appropriation. I appreciate that you can see the names of the Blackfoot people that helped create it. It actually goes along with a physical exhibit and books.


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Module 1 Post 5: Digital Stories – Residential Schools

Information regarding storytelling and the legacy of residential schooling were two topics that had a profound effect on me when reading the articles in Module 1. Storytelling is an important aspect of Aboriginal peoples’ culture as these oral traditions allow them to share their knowledge, histories, and lessons.

Sadly, residential schools have had a profound and detrimental effect on First Nations’ peoples, families, communities, and culture. I wanted to see if I could find a website in which Aboriginal people used digital media as a vessel to tell their stories and share their experiences in regards to residential schools and came across this project:

Digital Stories – First Nations Women Explore the Legacy of Residential Schools

The aim of the project is to promote awareness and bring about a better understanding of the lasting effects of residential schools from generation to generation. The website contains numerous digital stories, lasting between 2-5 minutes each, in which Aboriginal women narrate their experiences and offer insight to the disruptive impacts of residential schools. The purpose of these digital stories is not only to facilitate the healing process, but also to inform the public about how Aboriginal peoples were affected.

Residential schools are not only a part of First Nations’ history, but also a part of every Canadian’s history; therefore, it is imperative that these stories be heard.

Here’s another great site for more information on residential schools and residential school survivor stories.


Module 1.1 – The Impact of Digital Technologies on Indigenous Peoples

While I was reading the first article for Module 1, I got to thinking a bit more about the impact of  digital technologies on indigenous traditions.  I wanted to read more about beliefs and conventions surrounding how and when technologies, such as video (YouTube, Vimeo) or audio recordings (podcasts, terrestrial radio) are considered suitable for cultural and educational knowledge transmission.

As a result I came across EcoLiterateLaw’s page, which focuses on globalization and the transformation of cultures and humanity.  There the author discusses the uses and impacts of technologies and technology tools (as mentioned above) as they can be seen to benefit indigenous communities, primarily by fueling self-determination and self-identification, and by allowing for information and knowledge sharing online.  Furthermore, there is some suggested benefit to having the ability to participate in knowledge exchange through online chat or forum groups, that allow indigenous groups to meet and learn from other, more disparate groups, in ways that were previously unavailable.

In spite of all these highlighted potential benefits, the article comes to discuss the negative connotations of indigenous participation online,

…because colonizers are the ones with the resources to be in control of this information, the Internet, for the most part, is only a modern tool for further colonization.  And, there is always the risk that others, who have no stake in Indigenous peoples integrity or survival, will circulate stories, histories, cultures, and traditions devoid of respect for the principles underlying the veracity of those principles.  Although there may be reason to believe otherwise, history has shown that the stories of “[I]ndigenous peoples worldwide . . . have been told and manipulated by others, only to be reduced to fantasy, novelty, myth, and untruth. [Indigenous] knowledge was validated, discarded, or modified to suit a strategy of colonization, conquering both geography and knowledge systems.”

I found this quite enlightening and made me think of the concept of concealed identities online in a different light.

Module 1.4 – Native American Indian Legends and Folklore

As I began reading the articles in Module 1, I found myself gravitating to oral storytelling and questioning whether this integral part of First Nations culture is being lost or preserved through digital media? I began searching online and came across this site which stores a collection of Native American folktales and traditional stories.  Although the reader cannot experience the true dimensions of how these stories were originally told, these are still amazing stories to read and can spark discussion at any age level.