Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is a non-profit organization that was established in the 1990’s with the goal of uniting Indigenous communities across both Turtle Island and globally. With the aim of environmental preservation through Indigenous practices, the organization stresses that environmental and cultural preservation are one in the same; that without preserving Indigenous and global space, cultural genocide looms. As part of their site and decolonization strategy, IEN developed Indigenous Rising: a blog and YouTube channel that curates and/or produced available content. Below is an example of their video content.
The first source I looked at for this module was UNESCO – Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future: a multimedia teacher education programme. I looked at the Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability lesson module. It has six activities to teach teachers about Indigenous knowledge, providing them with definitions and background information. This source also compares Indigenous education to the formal education system.
The second source I looked at was called Word of Mouth. It is about Indigenous Knowledge from the peoples of Africa and how it is in danger of being lost: “Indigenous knowledge is local, mostly traditional knowledge covering medicine, agriculture, religion, rituals and many other spheres of every day life. It still plays a major role in many African countries today, is usually transmitted orally from one generation to the next and is therefore in danger of being forgotten. This section focuses on the exploration, research and recording of indigenous knowledge, and the improved access to it.” I found this to be a good source for my research paper as it talks about Indigenous peoples outside of Canada to help round out my paper. It also has many different articles and sources to access around Indigenous knowledge, the oral tradition, and using technology to preserve culture.
The third source I looked at was an academic paper written by Jane Hunter from the University of Queensland titled The Role of Information Technologies in Indigenous Knowledge Management; “Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) are being established globally, but particularly in Australia, Africa, Latin America and Asia. The capture and preservation of Indigenous Knowledge is being used to revitalize endangered cultures, improve the economic independence and sustainability of Indigenous communities and to increase community-based involvement in planning and development.” This was a good source for me to look at because it directly relates to my research topic on the role technology can play in the preservation of Indigenous cultures. It talks about what has already been tried and how successful those strategies were.
The fourth source I looked at is a brief article on how technology can help preserve language. One of the strategies that is discussed is digitizing stories to be read to children in Indigenous languages. So far they have some stories in four languages: Maliseet, Mi’kmaw, Ojibwe and Cree. There are multiple partners involved in this project and they believe that “part of the success of this is that the First Nations communities and elders are helping drive this, so they have ownership of it. I think one of the things that’s missed in the education system over the years is a lot of our First Nations communities and indigenous people weren’t part of the solution. They weren’t part of what goes on in designing curriculum” (Brent Tookenay, CEO of Seven Generations Education Institute.) http://tvo.org/article/current-affairs/shared-values/how-technology-and-education-can-help-preserve-aboriginal-languages
The fifth source I looked at was called Cultural Survival. I specifically looked at an article about how computers and technology can be used to preserve language.
For my research topic, I have chosen to look at how First Nations groups might use technology to preserve their cultures and change they way they are perceived and portrayed in today’s society. I focused my search for module 2 keeping this topic in mind.
The first source I found is a Masters Paper from Athabasca University. It is titled The Perpetuation of Native Stereotypes in Film and is written by Kimberley Kiyawasew. In this paper, Kiyawasew talks about some of the stereotypes of Native Peoples that are portrayed in the film industry. She then goes on to talk about First Nations Filmmakers and how they are changing the storylines and making films that “reflect a truer representation of Native people” (Kiyaywasew, 2014, p.1). These films are challenging the stereotypes that have been previously established by the media and film industry and are a way that First Nations groups are representing themselves to the world in an authentic way.
My second source doesn’t necessarily connect with my research topic but thought it was worth sharing. My friend Carolyn Roberts has created a website, complete with lesson plans around Indigenous education. On this site, she include online and print resources to use in the classroom. She is from the Squamish Nation Indian Band but her ancestors came from the N’Quatqua Band in D’Arcy BC. Because of her background, I trust this to be an authentic source of information and some might find it useful to their studies. http://www.carolynroberts.net/about-me
The third source that I looked at was called Reconciliation Canada. “Reconciliation Canada, an Indigenous-led organization, began in September 2012 with a bold vision to promote reconciliation by engaging Canadians in dialogue that revitalizes the relationships between Indigenous peoples and all Canadians in order to build vibrant, resilient and sustainable communities. A vision based on a dream held by Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, Reconciliation Canada’s Ambassador, to witness tens of thousands of people of every culture and faith walking together for a shared tomorrow.” On this site, you can learn about programs and initiatives surrounding Reconciliation, as well as many online videos and resources on this topic. As this is an Indigenous-led organization, I believe it to be an authentic source of information and shows Indigenous cultures using technology to represent themselves.
The fourth source I looked at was Animikii. They are an Indigenous-Owned technology company based in BC on Coast Salish Territory; “Our technology enables our clients to maximize their social and cultural impact by making effective use of web-based technology. By connecting people with technology we believe that this will build a stronger identity for Indigenous people.” This is a great resource as it shows how technology is being used to represent and connect Indigenous cultures. It also has links to websites that they have created for various clients, providing access to authentic sources of information.
The fifth source that I looked at was the First Nations Technology Council. “The First Nations Technology Council has been mandated by the First Nations Summit, BC Assembly of First Nations and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs to address the technology related needs of BC’s First Nations communities.” One of the goals of the First Nations Technology Council is the “revitalization and preservation of language and culture,” which fits in with my research topic.
This paper highlights the talks of various members of a panel discussion. Although they are all on different topics, all the panelists share the theme of cultural preservation of indigenous people through the use of technology. I included this extract more out of my own interest than anything else, as it highlights some of the amazing work being done in Asia.