Tag Archives: storytelling

Module 4: Post # 3 ~ Boys with Braids

One of the first things many residential school survivors experienced was the cutting of their hair. Today, many Indigenous People are choosing to grow their hair long as a statement of cultural pride. However, hair has a greater spiritual meaning for many Aboriginal cultures.

Boys with Braids is an educational movement dedicated to sharing the teachings of why boys, men and elders wear braids. Started by Michael Linklaster when his son was bullied for having long hair. Linklaster hopes to stop bullying by raising awareness about the spiritual and cultural significance of long hair. He also hopes that Indigenous children and youth will take more pride in their long hair.

Cecil Sveinson, host of a March 2016 Winnipeg Boys with Braids Event hopes to raise awareness among non-Indigenous Adults as well. Hoping that with raised awareness adults will be more culturally sensitive.


Module 4 – Alexis’ Final Weblog

For most of my Weblog posts in this course I have focused in on my paper topic of m-learning in rural Indigenous communities, but for this last weblog, I wanted to spend some time sharing a diverse list of resources that I have come across in my day-to-day web use. The weblogs have been helpful to me throughout this term in seeking out sources and considering their value to education.

1. Tanya Talaga tells us about her new book: Seven Fallen Feathers

I watch The Social almost every day – it’s sort of like the Canadian version of The View. The ladies on the social are well educated women who discuss local and international news, as well, they debate controversial subjects and bring in the audience for discussion through social media. Just recently, on November 15, they had Tanya Talaga on the show talking about her new book Seven Fallen Feathers which is about seven Indigenous youth that go missing by leaving home in the North and attending school in the city. During the segment they discussed the issues of Northern Ontario youth having to leave their families to attend High School in Thunder Bay and how most Indigenous children receive $2,000 less in funding for education than non-Indigenous children. As well, they discussed Gord Downie’s work with a Secret Path and reconciliation after residential schools. It isn’t too often that Indigenous issues are discussed on The Social, so I thought it was an interesting thing to share – particularly good timing as we are in this class analyzing these very issues. It’s great to see shows that would fit more into the “popular culture” category having guest speakers such as Talaga to spread light on these issues.

Sometimes videos on The Social’s website become locked, or you may have to search for it on the page. So if you have issues viewing the video, just comment on this post, and I should be able to share it on this site. I saved a copy of the video.


2. Indigenous Storytelling in VR

Funded by the Canada Media Fund

CMF recently spearheaded a national effort to create Canada’s Indigenous screen office to support the development, production and marketing of Indigenous screen based content.

Engaging discussion with Indigenous filmmakers and artists – discussion about Indigenous life in the next 150 years.

This video offers great conversations around Canada 150, and what the future of Canada will look like. 2167 is the name of project discussed, aka year 2167 (150 years into the future).


3. Liberal government backs bill that demands full implementation of UN Indigenous rights declaration

This article was just posted today! Nov 21st!

This article highlights a decision by the Liberal government that backs bill C-262 that “…calls for full implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).” UNDRIP recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to be free of racial discrimination as well as have autonomy with internal and local affairs. Notably, the bill also “…calls on governments to guard against any act of genocide, which includes ‘forcibly removing children of the group to another group’” as the “Liberals have acknowledged there is still much work to do as there are now more First Nations children in state care then at the height of the residential school era.” This bill will be an essential step in achieving reconciliation.


4. Assembly of First Nations to have seat at international climate change conference for first time

This is another article that I found earlier this month. This article discusses how the Assembly of First Nations was an official delegate for the first time in a major international climate change conference in Germany at the beginning of November. The article discusses how traditional knowledge needs to be respected in discussing issues regarding climate change.


5. First Nations families weigh children’s education vs. safety

Here is another video about the issues regarding rural northern Ontario’s Indigenous students having to leave their families and communities to attend High School in Thunder Bay. This video is different than ones I have previously seen, in that it focuses on some families that choose not to send their children to Thunder Bay, and try to find alternative places for their children to attend school. Thunder Bay has a history of abuse towards Indigenous people, which leaves rural communities scared, but without a lot of choices as to where their children can attend school. This video is a good resource in clearly showing the issues of abuse in cities like Thunder Bay and the need for education to be more readily available to Indigenous people in Northern Ontario. Self-determination and self-government for Indigenous communities needs to be a top priority in parliament.


6. Could a new approach to First Nations housing be a game changer?

I wanted to include this resource as well. This resource is about the housing crisis that plagues many First Nations communities in Canada. Because of natural disasters, many First Nations communities have reached out to the government in hopes of getting housing support, but have seen very little support. Building materials are expensive, making it difficult to make repairs to homes. Many homes don’t have running water, and many have holes in the walls that cause the homes to remain cold in the winter. It’s approximately a 10 year wait to get a home built on reserves because of poor government planning, with materials arriving without any building contracts in place. The video discusses how the housing plans, and the way the houses have been built, has been a tool to assimilate Indigenous people. It’s also discussed how the government control of the housing is causing mental health issues within the communities. The video discusses a new approach that might help to improve some of the issues around housing, including getting young people involved in the design process.



The following are resources (articles, videos, websites) on ideas and initiatives focused on Indigenous knowledge, learners and education:

Conestoga College. (2017, March 20). Indigenizing Post-Secondary Education [Video file].

This video explores the experiences of a few post-secondary Indigenous students, within their courses and on-campus supports. The students provide suggestions on going beyond a Euro-centric style of teaching and infusing Indigenous content and teaching methods into the education system, as well as ways to help build stronger relationships among Canadians.

Project of Heart. (n.d.). Project of Heart.

This is an “inquiry based, hands-on, collaborative, inter-generational activity” that helps students learn about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada, including the legacy of the residential school system. It is tailored to different grade levels, including post-secondary, but is not only tied to educational institutions: it can be used by anyone.

Province of BC. (2013, October 25). Changing Results for Young Readers: Laura Tait, First Peoples Principles of Learning [Video file].

This is a presentation by Laura Tait, an educator and administrator. She covers ideas such as Indigenous identity, pedagogy, reflective practice, relationships and understanding. Tait invites viewers to look at the world through an Indigenous lens. She shares some activities that teachers can use with their students and resources for their professional development.

Simon, J., Burton, K., Lockhart, E. (2014). Post-secondary distance education in a contemporary colonial context: Experiences of students in a rural First Nation in Canada. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 15(1).

This article shares some of the challenges of and opportunities through post-secondary online/distance education in rural and remote First Nation (Indigenous) communities in Canada. The Elsipogtog First Nation community in Nova Scotia is profiled. Student experiences using videoconferencing technology are shared.

University of British Columbia. (2017, February 17). Learning from Story [Video file].

This video is part of a non-credit massive open online course (MOOC), “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education,” which focuses on strategies, teaching examples and resources supporting teaching and learning of Indigenous ways of knowing. The video focuses on the use of Indigenous storytelling and the benefits of utilizing it as a teaching strategy.

Module 4 Weblog – Paige McClelland


  • So far, this is one of the most impressive resources on Canadian Indigenous literacy that I have seen. Yipee! Basically, this site is a collection of resources that the University of Saskatchewan put together to help those who are interested in understanding Indigenous history and finding credible information that can help them change policy, develop resources, or simply learn more about Indigenous culture. I am completely blown away by the collection of resources (articles, book reviews, e-books, images, media, theses, and web sites), lack of broken links, and excellent descriptions of resources. I truly feel like the University of Saskatchewan has built a collective resource for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike. I had been having a tough time finding resources that were accessible and provided accessible information. Finding resources like this one is truly exciting because it helps me to see the potential for technology to help develop effective communities of practice!



  • I found this site as I was searching for resources on local school board sites. (I had never thought to do this, but now it seems so obvious. It’s important to learn what types of resources and practices are being shared in my local community.) Because I am focusing on literacy for my final project, naturally, I gravitated toward the literacy section of this site. However, there are plenty of other interesting resources, including ones on cultural awareness and wellness. In the literacy section, I really like how there are videos that showcase both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perceptions of Indigenous literacy. It reminds me of the importance of the “two-way interaction” that we learned about the other week. Through these videos, I was able to hear from Indigenous people and also hear how non-Indigenous people worked through these teachings, voicing concerns or questions that I also had.



  • This wonderful site is maintained by First Nations, Metis, and Inuit staff of Edmonton Public Schools. Essentially, it’s a collection of reviews for resources (mostly books and movies) that share good recommendations as well as resources “to weed out.” I think these types of websites are important for educators as they decide on which books and other sources to share in the classroom. This site also connects educators (or whomever is using the site) to the Edmonton Public Library. I have been trying to find resources that link out to other local sites (either online or physical), because I think it’s really important for us to find connections within our local communities and learn about what is available, too.



  • This resource is such a fantastic idea in terms of using technology as a way for students to build knowledge rather than simply use technology as a way to store knowledge. This Google Doc provides open access to a list of recommended books to help Indigenous learners develop their language and literacy skills. For each book, the curators have provided an annotated bibliography, project ideas/activities, and curricular links, so that educators have a way to guide meaningful learning opportunities through reading, discussion, and active participation. There are so many ideas I have to link this resource to place-based learning. Literature is such a wonderful way for people to connect to the world around them, but knowing where to look for these sources is extra wonderful.



  • I have come to grow really fond of Jan Hare’s work in the field of Indigenous literacy development for children and youth. She has expanded my limited view of literacy (typically thought of as reading and writing) and opened it up to a holistic model that is not just important for Indigenous learners, but I believe for all learners. In my search for this Weblog/the final research project, I stumbled upon a UBC article in which Dr. Hare discusses the significance of having parents involved in Indigenous youths’ literacy and language learning. Prior to this finding, I had mostly been focusing on resources that could help the educator find appropriate resources for the classroom, without considering the important role that Indigenous parents could/should play. (Even though we have read about the importance of community involvement in Indigenous students’ learning, this has been difficult for me to conceptualize. Finding these resources has helped me broaden my perception of community and understand the critical role of parents or other caretakers.) In the article, Dr. Hare discusses that an effective strategy for youth to learn more about their own culture is for youth to teach their own parents. In this way, both parents and students are engaged in learning through their history. This also shows that there are “many pathways to learning,” and in that, we need to be considering more informal approaches. This led me to Dr. Hare’s article, “They Tell a Story and There’s Meaning Behind that Story: Indigenous Knowledge and Young Indigenous Children’s Literacy Learning.” What an amazing resource in terms of discussing the importance of storywork, the influence of family and other community members in literacy learning, and the necessity for Indigenous children to learn from (not just about) Indigenous knowledge.

Aboriginal Voices: The Importance of Storytelling in Math and Science

Having narrowed down my research question onto the use of Aboriginal voices in digital media in classrooms, I have been able to focus my research a little better over the past couple of weeks. This week I have been looking particularly at how story fits into all strands of the curriculum; there are many teachers who feel the Aboriginal perspective doesn’t fit into their curriculum because they “don’t teach that unit”. Rather than a “one and done” approach, I would like to look at how stories told from the Aboriginal perspective in the voices of First Nations peoples can be woven through our classroom work particularly in science and math. The resources I have found this week include:

  1. Highlighting Aboriginal perspective in the classroom seems like an easy first step for teachers. Some of the unease for teachers remains in differentiating between when we are highlighting culture and when we are teaching religion, an uncomfortable distinction for many teachers, which often leads to simply ignoring the topic. An easy first step seems to be the integration of the Aboriginal perspective in the science classroom. APTN Kids provides teachers with bilingual links to powerful, research-based programing like Coyote Science and here that demonstrate that including the Aboriginal perspective in classrooms is as fundamental as the characters in the story. When Coyote helps to explain science concepts, includes a joke of the week and the medicine wheel is included in the set design, students see a valuable perspective. This is a good example of what happens when the First Nations perspective is woven through the resources used in the classroom.
  2. Show Me Your Math is a site developed by Lisa Lunney Borden and supported by her doctoral research that highlights the Aboriginal perspective in math learning. It highlights inquiry learning for students related to math that begins with authentic artifacts and continues through the use of authentic voices in telling the stories of the artefacts and the related math.
  3. My former board of education, the Regina Board of Education developed a list of resources related to an Indigenous calendar. The thinking being that teachers weave First Nations teachings into the curriculum throughout the year rather than viewing it as a stand-alone unit of teaching. The book Aboriginal Success in the Classroom highlight the fact that a First Nations perspective is just that: a lense for viewing classroom work.
  4. Two Eyed Seeing in the Classroom is an analysis of how the Aboriginal perspective can be highlighted in science classrooms. The paper explores how “Indigenous Sciences are underlain by the perception of multiple realities at that reality perceived by our five senses is but one of those.” (Cajete, 2000)
  5. Aboriginal Perspectives in Teaching Science from the University of Regina highlights the importance of First Nations stories and the role of Aboriginal Elders in the science classroom as essential guides for teachers in integrating this approach. The paper discusses the importance of understanding the philosophical underpinnings of the story and how story can be misunderstood and the lesson miscommunicated if the teller doesn’t fully understand the story.

In the next few weeks, I will continue to seek examples of stories told digitally and how they are being used in classrooms.

Educating through Place and Story

“[A] pedagogy of place that shifts the emphasis from teaching about local culture

to teaching through the culture

as students learn about the immediate places they inhabit

and their connection to the larger world within

which they will make a life for themselves.”

~ Barnhardt (2005)

Barnhardt, R. (2005). Creating a place for indigenous knowledge in education: The alaska native knowledge network. Retrieved from: http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/articles/raybarnhardt/pbe_ankn_chapter.html

While continuing with my original focus on story and storytelling, the following resources include insights into the practical implementation of place-based education, with a leading into culturally responsive educational ideas. Story and storytelling are threaded throughout these resources, but are not necessary the central idea.

How to Bring First Peoples into BC Classrooms

This a recent article posted on The Tyee website and relevant to all BC educators who are wrestling with the new curriculum implementations. This article is an interview with Jo Chrona, the curriculum coordinator for the First Nations Education Steering Committee. Throughout the interview, Chrona moves through several examples of how educators can embrace indigenous learning and ways of learning – transformational education.

Creating a Place for Indigenous Knowledge in Education: The Alaska Native Knowledge Network

Although this article is listed as additional reading in Module 3, I had sought it out earlier as I was interested in reading more practical ideas from Ray Barnhardt (2005) for incorporating indigenous ways of knowledge into education for both indigenous students and other learners. Barnhardt doesn’t disappoint as he goes into significant detail about the initiatives being undertaken by Alaska Native Knowledge Network. As well, he provides an in-depth description of indigenous educational values as presented in a document called Alaska Standards for Culturally Responsive Schools.  

Place-based Education: Connecting Classroom and Community

A short article by David Sobel (2012) describing examples of westernized schools and classrooms that have chosen to implement a place-based educational approach to teaching and learning. Sobel provides an excellent definition of place-based education near the end of this piece which describes a place-based education in a western educational setting. An interesting read to consider if interested in incorporating place-based values into a western educational classroom.

“Indigenous digital storytelling is created by or with indigenous peoples for indigenous communities.” (Iseke & Moore, 2011,p.21)

Community Based Indigenous Storytelling with Elders and Youth

This journal article provides an overview of four case studies describing indigenous community digital storytelling experiences. The case studies include the purposes and processes involved in the development of the community-based video making as well as a contemplation on the balance of honouring traditional storytelling processes.

Iseke, J. M. & Moore, S. (2011). Community based indigenous storytelling with elders and youth. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 35, 19-38. Retrieved from http://www.ourelderstories.com/wp-content/uploads/pdf/CommunityBasedIndigenousDigitalStorytelling_2011.pdf

Smart Ideas: Q&A Jo-ann Archibald on Indigenous “story work”

An online interview with Jo-Ann Archibald as she shares about her focus on indigenous stories and storytelling, or what she likes to refer to as “story work”. Throughout the interview Archibald describes the importance of storytelling for indigenous peoples along with its ability to encourage inclusive education.

A review on Jo-Ann Archibald’s book, Indigenous Storywork: Educating the Heart, Mind, Body, and Spirit can be read hereAs well, an online excerpt of Archibald’s writings to intrigued the seeking educator: Indigenous Storywork.

Research findings – Module 1

I’m still in the process of defining my research interest, so my findings have been all over the place (but I’m gravitating towards storytelling/oral traditions, digital media, isolated communities, I think?).

1. http://firstnationspedagogy.ca/storytelling.html

This website explains the importance of storytelling to pass on knowledge from generation to generation. It also includes videos and links for preparing storytelling activities in the classroom.

2. http://www.olpccanada.com/

This one is about the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program in Canada and how it supports Aboriginal education programs. From the website: OLPC Canada is well placed to address the challenge of technological access for Aboriginal youth due to our track record of successful delivery and integrative support of technology to more than 9,000 Aboriginal youth in 60+ communities located in 9 provinces and 2 territories.

3. http://www.wekimun.cl/index.php/en/

I came across this website about a school based in Chiloé (in the south of Chile) that integrates aboriginal (Mapuche/Williche) cultural knowledge with modern knowledge, to produce a unique educational program that will serve the needs of rural Williche communities. This initiative has received substantial financial support from Global Affairs Canada (GAC).

4. http://portal.acc-society.bc.ca/literacy/storytelling

A wealth of resources and information concerned with promoting literacy and language development in Aboriginal young children.

5. https://indspire.ca/about-indspire/

Last but not least: Indspire. An Indigenous-led registered charity that invests in the education of Indigenous people for the long term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada. Indspire serves First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students in remote communities and urban centres across Canada. It also provides a virtual resource centre (K-12 Institute) that serves educators, communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to improving kindergarten to grade 12 success for Indigenous youth.

Allison’s Cyber-Travelling Reflection Part 1/4

First Voices – http://www.firstvoices.com


This website is a language archive collection of Indigenous cultures in Canada. By selecting a province, visitors can see the various tribes and in their respective areas around the province. By choosing a specific group, you are then transported to a page with language resources. The page for the area where I live, in southeastern British Columbia home to the Ktunaxa people, contains 2500 words and 1114 phrases archived. The Ktunaxa people have even developed their own language app available in the App store. Along with audio files and an alphabet with sound to hear the language spoken authentically, visitors also have access to an art gallery, games, and community slideshow.

Fatty Legs – http://www.annickpress.com/Fatty-Legs


This website takes you to the publisher site for the novel, Fatty Legs by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton. This is a true story that tells of 8-year old Margaret’s own journey to a residential school in the Arctic on her quest to learn how to read.

On this site you will find a peak inside the book, a lesson plan to introduce the book, questions to ask during reading related by chapter, and activities for after reading. There is also a Book Talk resource link that ties in with themes that come up through the story, as well as a podcast by the author. This book is recommended to be read to students ages 9-12. Related books by the same authors are When I Was Eight, Not My Girl, and A Stranger At Home.

Rabbit and Bear Paws – http://rabbitandbearpaws.com


This site is home to the popular series “Rabbit and Bear Paws”. The Canadian authors of this series aim to teach children about The Seven Grandfather Teachings (Love – Eagle; Courage – Bear; Respect – Buffalo; Humility – Mouse; Honesty – Sabe; Truth – Turtle; Wisdom – Beaver) through children’s picture books and graphic novels.

The Learning Circle – https://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1316530132377/1316530184659#un2


This collection of resources is put out by the government to assist elementary teachers in teaching about First Nations’ cultures. It provides sample lesson plans with audio files of Aboriginal stories. These units consist of lessons on storytelling, the seasons, sharing, colours, games, and National Aboriginal Day.

Project of Heart – http://bctf.ca/HiddenHistory/


This project discusses the 150 years of residential schools in BC. The site provides an eBook on the project, as well as a compilation of supporting resources and activities. Originally started in Ontario, Project of Heart has spread across Canada encouraging the education about residential schools. This eBook provides specific information about schools in BC, but also the realities of residential schools all over the country. “Reconciliation is about respect” says Justice Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

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.

Module 2 post 2

Module 3, Post 5 – In My Own Eyes

In my own eyes is a project in which aboriginal youths are given a voice by enabling them to tell their stories through photography. These youths are mentored and taught by aboriginal photographers on how to use photography equipment so that they can use this media as a new way of storytelling and be part of the social changes. Through their eyes, viewers can see and learn about challenges aboriginal youths face.

This site also led me to the National Film Board of Canada, which has a number of other videos that addresses some of the important issues present in aboriginal communities using media.