Tag Archives: resources

Entry #8: First Nations Representation in the Media

OISE. (2017, April 11). First Nation Representations in the Media. Retrieved October 13, 2017, from http://www.oise.utoronto.ca/deepeningknowledge/Teacher_Resources/First_Nations_Representation_in_the_Media/index.html

This resource page from the University of Toronto provides links to books, films and videos, podcasts, and websites that center around representations of First Nations people in the media. Having the variety of resource types is important, as the information can appeal to a broader audience and present the ideas in multiple ways. The linked resources come from the voices of both Indigenous peoples such as Wab Kinew or Frank Waln and from organizations such as the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and are contemporarily relevant. Similar to the course resource of Mary Simon’s interview, many of these resources provide readers and viewers with an opportunity to understand representation from an Indigenous perspective and to broaden their understanding of historical and current storytelling in the media.

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.

Module One – Initial Research

My interest lies in indigenous storytelling using new media or traditional platforms within educational and extended community spaces. Even after narrowing the scope to Canada, I find it an overwhelmingly vast – and therefore promising – area of research.

Specifically, I would like to explore storytelling projects guided by expressions within oral, dance or art practices. My findings so far fall into two general categories: (i) featured projects reflecting local manifestations of storytelling within the larger global context, and (ii) general resources reflecting larger missions of a more global scale designed to support work across the country.

Here are five websites that reflect those categories. They are by no means exhaustive; they fall within a broader network that led to their discovery, and lead to so many more!

(1) First Nations Pedagogy Online

This is an online community that provides a wealth of information about best practices, pedagogy and resources including a Learning Centre, in support of First Nations storytelling.

(2) Aboriginal Arts & Stories

This site bills itself as “The largest and most recognized art & creative writing competition in Canada for Indigenous youth.” It contains a teachers’ page with a comprehensive and valuable Teachers’ Kit designed to help educators create safe spaces for expression, handle sensitive issues and support a process using Aboriginal Arts & Stories Learning Tools. The site features links to previous arts and writing winners.

(3) Town of Rigolet Storytelling Camp

One example of local storytelling is Rigolet Inuit Community Government’s UKausiga Youth and Elder Storytelling and Culture Sharing Camp. Digital stories on the website were created in 2009-2010 as a part of the Changing Climate, Changing Health, Changing Stories project, a community-driven, participatory, storytelling project that “utilized digital media to gather place-based narratives, documenting the impacts of climate change on human health and well-being and sharing adaptation strategies.” According to the site, the My Word Storytelling & Digital Media Lab continues to operate and facilitate Digital Storytelling workshops.

I will be looking for projects similar in scale to this one, in communities and schools. If they are digital in nature, my hope is that they will share local stories on a global scale online. Specifically, I hope to find works featuring oral storytelling, art and dance as mentioned above.

(4) The Canadian Education Association’s First Nations Schools First!

This website is home to an event that took place in Vancouver in 2016. This learning symposium’s theme was “sharing successful indigenous learning,” focusing on ensuring the success of all Indigenous students. The event featured workshops, case studies, speakers and networking.

(5) Finally, a two-part bonus, featuring two Canadian foundations that are active in indigenous-focused philanthropy:

(a) The McConnell Foundation states that a principal focus of its granting is Indigenous youth, recognizing that it is the fastest growing segment of Canada’s population and that partnerships with Indigenous communities and others are essential towards everyone’s shared future. The page features a list of grants and initiatives working with a range of relevant partners.

(b) Through the McConnell foundation, I discovered The Right Honourable Paul Martin’s Martin Family Initiative (MFI), whose mission appears to be completely education and entrepreneurship focused in nature. It is an organization with an impressive roster on its team of influential and powerful individuals who are working together on a range of initiatives such as the Model School Literacy Project. The resources page is extensive.

Please watch founder Paul Martin speak about the MFI’s mission to work with indigenous communities here. Other MFI videos are available on the MFI site and its Vimeo channel here.

If I may give an Honourable Mention, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation Useful Links for Aboriginal Education is another site worth mentioning. In a future post, I will feature some of the other notable sites I discovered. I’d love to include them all here, but the list would be much too long!

More on mining and indigenous peoples

I’ve been looking for new stuff that gives me a new or different perspective on this topic but it seems to be either pro-mining (from mining companies, of course) or anti-mining (from indigenous communities or environmental groups). I find it hard sometimes to find reliable sources that stay away from propaganda.

Here are my findings for Module 3.

  1. Mining, economic development and indigenous peoples: “ Getting the governance equation right ” report on a forum held at convened by Jim Cooney, ISID professor of practice in global governance. (2013)  Retrieved from https://www.mcgill.ca/isid/files/isid/mcgill_2013_summer_forum_-_final_report.pdf

An interesting read, this report centers on the different but complementary roles, responsibilities and  practices  of indigenous  communities,  governments  and  mining  companies  in  making  and implementing decisions and in communicating and engaging with one another in the context of managing the issues associated with mining on traditional indigenous territories.

2.  Xingu – The Struggle of the People for the River (Indigenous Brazilians fight Amazon dam project)

I came across this video from 2010 that looks to raise awareness about the environmental impact of the project and hopefully stop the Belo Monte Monster Dam in the Brazilian Amazon that will affect the indigenous groups’ water supply, making fishing and hunting more difficult. The video gained international attention because Sting (the singer) joined the cause. Here is a timeline of the dam. You will find words like lawsuit, corruption, scandal.

3. What is the role of mining companies in aboriginal consultation? 

This is part of the Q&A section of the website Miningfacts.org from the Fraser Institute. This site aims to present evidence-based mining facts and information in a way that permits balanced consideration of the impacts and opportunities that come from mining. It is written for a general audience, with links to more in-depth research provided for those seeking further mining information. This particular section explains in detail the process of consultation with Aboriginal Peoples on decisions that may impact land and resources subject to aboriginal claims.

4. Indigenous People and Resistance to Mining Projects (English version)

This is an article published in Revista, Harvard Review of Latin America, about the reasons for the clash between governments (pro-mining) and indigenous communities (against mining) in Latin America, although it could be applied to countries somewhere else.

5. Amazon Tribes Use Mapping Technologies to Empower Cultural Stewardship of Ancestral Lands

I’m going slightly off-topic here but this is an interesting initiative from the Amazon Conservation Team using GPS technology to provide an Open Data Kit (ODK) app for the use with indigenous communities. As an example, they are teaching the Kogi to use a tailored ODK app to map and inventory their complex network of sacred sites, all of which carry high ecological value. Worth reading.







Self Representation

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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.


Module 4.3 Aboriginal Perspectives and the Social Studies Curriculum

This literature review explores the following question: “To what extent do teacher attitudes, norms, values, basic assumptions, and behaviour influence authentic inclusion, infusion, and embedding of Aboriginal perspectives in the Alberta Social Studies Program?”  Ottman and Pritchard (2010) discuss why it is difficult for many teachers to integrate Aboriginal cultures and perspectives as they have not had the appropriate educational background to prepare them for such diverse classrooms.  They introduce culturally responsive classrooms and how teachers can prepare for teaching that is more culturally sensitive, including: self-reflection, evaluation of values and beliefs, using resources, teaching material, and instructional strategies that respect the culture, life experience, and the learning needs of each student; and acknowledging the contribution that each student has made to the culture and learning dynamic of the classroom.