Tag Archives: stories

Module Four – Culturally Responsive Inclusion of Stories

Taking into account the importance of involving community members along with educators as co-creators of culturally responsive education with a sense of place, I wanted to explore what resources support or exemplify such partnerships and approaches to learning and storytelling.

(1) Listening to Our Past

With the community support and involvement of sixty-seven Nunavut elders, ten scholars, dozens of students and numerous interpreters, translators and proofreaders, twelve books were made available online on this site, most of which were produced as a research project, Iqaluit Oral History. It is a tri-lingual site with dynamic links to imagery and stories spanning a range of relevant topics. The Francophone Association of Nunavut hosts his website, produced in partnership with multiples parties including the Nunavut Arctic College, the Iqaluit Elders Society, Laval University, the governments of Nunavut and Canada, and many others.

(2) National Film Board of Canada Unikkausivut – Sharing Our Stories

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB), in collaboration with a number of Indigenous government and community organizations, selected more than 60 films from its collection that represent all four Canadian Inuit regions (Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut and Inuvialuit). Some are available in Inuktitut. Filmmaking reflects multidisciplinary and highly collaborative work, exemplified in some of the traditional stories found on the NFB site. For example, animator Co Hoedeman’s work is represented in films such as Luumaq, The Owl and the Raven, The Owl and the Lemming and The Owl Who Married a Goose. Although NFB is famous for animation and documentary, and many of its Indigenous stories are documentaries, traditional stories, produced in collaboration with a range of community members, are present in the collection.

(3) Culturally Responsive Instructional Resources for American Indian/Alaska Native Students

The Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI) is a collaboration of WestEd and CRESST, two American leaders in the standards and assessment field. This page on their site provides an extensive list of resources that support culturally responsive teaching for American Indian/Alaska Native students and whose lessons can be applied to other Indigenous contexts. CSAI defines culturally responsive teaching as “the application of cultural knowledge, prior experiences, perspectives, and performance styles of AI/AN students to develop more personal connections to classroom learning.”

(4) Principles for Culturally Responsive Teaching

The Education Alliance at Brown University has published a page dedicated to communicating the principles of culturally responsive teaching. This is a simple and useful reference (with resources) that could be modeled or adapted by educational organizations seeking to define and educate its stakeholders, and hold itself accountable for its own approaches to culturally responsive education. It defines the characteristics that the institution operates according to, by explaining What, Why and How under each of the following:

  • Positive perspectives on parents and families
  • Communication of high expectations
  • Learning within the context of culture
  • Student-centered instruction
  • Culturally mediated instruction
  • Reshaping the curriculum
  • Teacher as facilitator

(5) Miscellany: Publications

The following publications cover a range of pedagogical and social issues that can inform culturally responsive Indigenous education in Canada. They are listed in no particular order, reflecting diverse geographic and social perspectives that contribute to the larger discussion.


Module 3.2 Turtle Island Voices

I am not really sure what I think of this series. The Turtle Island Voices books, that are offered through Pearson publishing, have fans and enemies. Some proponents say, “Yay, look it is Aboriginal and there is a teacher’s guide.” Opponents complain the reading level is too low. It is, however, what many schools have in their collections to support First Nations content. You can check them out for yourself here.

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Project of Heart Module 2.2

Recently released, the link is to an 40 page e-book which has resources/stories about the history of residential schools in British Columbia. There are videos, primary documents, and classroom activities. For those of you who like hardcopies, there is an internal email link to obtain your own recyclable paper copy. 🙂

photo taken from website http://www.bctf.ca/HiddenHistory/eBook.pdf 09 04 15

photo taken from website http://www.bctf.ca/HiddenHistory/eBook.pdf 09 04 15

Module 4.5 Four Directions Teachings

This is an interactive website which includes five First Nations across Canada:  Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk and Mi’kmaq.  You are able to listen to elders or traditional teachers as they share stories from their perspective about their cultural traditions and values.  I really liked that downloadable transcripts are available for teachers and students as well as a teacher’s resource guide full of activities, photographs and audio narrations.  A valuable, user-friendly resource for teachers and students!


Module 4, Post 1 – Story Resources

One of the main themes for all of the different curriculums has been the importance of culture and history, and using stories to teach and help students connect with information and develop their skills. I was interested to see if there were resources for incorporating some of the oral history that has been documented.

This site has videos of different stories, plus teaching resources and information about including First Nations pedagogy into a classroom.

This website discusses oral culture, including drums and music, and also has a companion site for dancing. Along with printed information there are pictures, audio-visual clips, interviews, etc.

This is part of the archives of Canada and includes documents that have recorded some traditional stories. Only the documents are included in the site, no extra information.


Module 3: Post 3- Learning through Culturally Responsive Education

Many of the discussions in Module 3 have focused on the importance for students to learn about and through Indigenous pedagogical beliefs. It is exciting to hear about the research being done and the collaborative planning between researchers, educators, elders and other community members. Culturally responsive education and allowing students different ways to share their learning needs to take place not just in the Elementary years but continue through high school and university through the First Nations values of  respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility. One example that I just read about in my nephew’s Queen’s Faculty of Education Convocation Program is the Aboriginal Blanket Ceremony, a tradition established of presenting Aboriginal graduates with The Creation Turtle Pendleton Blanket in recognition of the barriers and challenges faced at post secondary institutions and to acknowledge their potential in being role models for the Aboriginal youth of their communities.

Here are some resources as a starting point to use in elementary classrooms in the development of a culturally responsive curriculum through a transdisciplinary approach across subject areas.

Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC- http://www.ahsabc.com/index.php/resources/other-resources

This website- http://www.ahsabc.com/images/other_resources/aboriginal-childrens-books_janhare.pdf includes a link to is an extensive list of books for and about young Aboriginal children. This list was compiled by Dr. Jan Hare PhD, Associate Professor of Indigenous Education in the Department of Language and Literacy Education (UBC). Canadian First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures are represented. Early literacy and numeracy titles are also listed.

Dr. Marker suggested the Alaska Native Knowledge Network as a valuable place to find educational resources. Here are some links from their website (http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/)

Guidelines for Respecting Cultural Knowledge http://ankn.uaf.edu/publications/knowledge.html

Culturally Responsive Units/Lessons http://ankn.uaf.edu/Curriculum/Units/

Online Resources- http://ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/resources.html

Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum http://ankn.uaf.edu/publications/handbook/index.html

First Nations of Canadahttp://ankn.uaf.edu/IEW/firstnat.html

Module 3.4 – Stories of the Night Sky

Stories of the Night Sky is a project where Aboriginal youth from across Canada share stories from community elders through digital video technology.  The Mi’kmaq Elders were a large support in revitalizing these stories so that the youth could share them through digital media bringing in both old and new perspectives.  As each province is unique in land and sky patterns, the stories are also unique and so you are able to view stories of the night sky from each province in Canada.  I was really interested in viewing more stories but not all of the links are working.  For some videos, there are translations available.


Module 1.3 – Government of Canada – Aboriginal Heritage

The federal government’s website houses a large collection of contributions of Aboriginal People to Canada, such as early mythologies, evidence of bison drives and jumps, photographic collections, virtual exhibitions, and current literature and films.  Some of the archived stories include: Stories of Long Ago, Stories of Here and Now, Voices of First Nations, and Voices of Metis.  This would be another excellent and credible resource to access to get accurate information.