I lived and worked in Chiapas Mexico in the mid 1990s at the height of the Zapatista movement and worked in several Mayan villages throughout the province with ProNatura Chiapas who was trying to build sustainable farming practices for coffee growers in these communities. The Mayan face a great number of challenges and security, both physical and economic, is a primary concern for communities and individuals. An organization in San Cristobal is attempting to provide education that will allow Mayan youth to participate in the local economy and provide them with some sense of human rights and confidence. This is not the ‘voice’ or culturally distinct education that have been discussed in this module and though this will hopefully come to Chiapas one day, this form of education provided in this example, in this environment and political context, seems culturally responsible at this time for the Mayan people.
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.
Creating Emotional Health and Wellbeing
This .pdf is a slideshow for a talk Brown gave in 2013. I have been looking unsuccessfully for more work by Brown and this, at least, outlines the thoughts he dicusses at https://connect.ubc.ca/webapps/blackboard/execute/displayLearningUnit?course_id=_61105_1&content_id=_2725247_1&framesetWrapped=true a little more visually. Lee Brown’s explanation of how emotional well being ties into cultural awareness is an important point in my paper for the final assignment, so the more I can find, the better.
Post by Trevor Price
July 4, 2015
In the Skins project, games are built by youth and elders. The project involves transmitting old stories in a virtual reality format. They are preserving the culture and engaging youth, not only at the design stage, but also at the consumption stage as well. Students deal with the old stories in a respectful manner, but they also present them in a forward-looking manner.
Post by Trevor Price
July 4, 2015
“Education is urgent issue for our people right now because, again, education was once the tool of oppression. Now education is the tool for empowerment for our people, to help us learn how to adapt to the western world and for the western world to learn how to adapt to our traditional ways of teaching and learning.”
– OISE: Associate Professor Suzanne Stewart on Aboriginal Education (video) @ 50 sec.
I followed the above link from a site that came up with a search for information related to my final assignment. I was impressed with the topics Stewart was writing about – the challenges faced by urban First Nations youth. Upon searching a little further, I discovered the following article, which details the outcomes of a project that involved aboriginal youth, health and media production. This article draws a very direct line between media production and aboriginal youth well being and, as such, supports my thesis. It discusses a project that had aboriginal youth researching and creating media about healthy eating.
Stewart, S., Riecken, T., Scott, T., Tanaka, M., & Riecken, J. (2008). Expanding Health Literacy Indigenous Youth Creating Videos. Journal of Health Psychology, 13(2), 180-189. Retrieved from http://hpq.sagepub.com.ezproxy.library.ubc.ca/content/13/2/180.full.pdf+html
Post by Trevor Price
July 4, 2015
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.
The Toronto’s ImagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival aims to eliminate stereotypical notions of Indigenous peoples by encouraging First Nations youths to use different media to tell their stories. I first stumbled upon this article which spoke about the various topics this project addresses, such as aboriginal identity, education, language and racism. The organization is visiting small communities in Canada and offering workshops to the youths on how to use tablets to record and edit their film. This CBC Yukon video explains the project. What I liked about it was that non-aboriginal students are also involved in the project because they feel it’s important to address the inequality problems.
Wanting to learn more about it, I found the organization’s website. I found this site a bit difficult to navigate in searching for video entries, and was only able to view one. However, the site contains information on previous festival, the organization, and its history.
This resource can be useful for someone looking to find ways, using media and technology, to help indigenous peoples express what they are feeling and educate the world about their culture.
The video “Fraser River Journey” touched on the importance of giving youths the opportunities to be able to understand who they are so that they could be stronger and become leaders in their community. The Aboriginal Leadership Programs, created by the Me to We, aim to do just that.
Their first program is a 3-day workshop that focuses on educating and motivating First Nations, Metis and Inuit youths to become leaders in their own communities by teaching them leadership skills and highlighting their personal and cultural identity with the help of elders and mentors.
The second program focuses more on the history and cultural traditions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. This is also a 3-day workshop in which youths have the opportunity to collaboratively create action plans to promote awareness and support for cultural diversity.
What I liked about these programs is that they are designed to fit the needs of the youths and include members of their communities. Teaching them these skills, using methods that they can relate to (the Seven Teachings and the Medicine Wheel), will open opportunities for them to be part of the solutions and make positive changes within and outside of their communities.
After watching the videos presented to us in week 8, I wanted to search for more example of youths’ use of technology as a means to document their peoples’ experiences and learn more about their culture, history and perspectives on various issues. That is when I stumbled upon the Nanisiniq: Arviat History Project.
This is a collaborative project involving elders and youths from Nunavut as well as the University of British Columbia. The site includes many videos in which the youths interview elders, other members of the community and each other to gain a better understanding of their culture while documenting it in an effort to preserve it. A historical timeline and stories about history, the caribou and survival skills are also featured in the site.
This is but another great example of how youths are using media as a medium and an opportunity to tell others about their culture and present it to the world. Despite living in the same country, these youths recognize that Canadians know very little, if anything at all, about their culture and ways of life. One of the youths involved in the project discusses how the Government isn’t properly educating Canadians about Inuit culture, which is why he feels it this project is important to teach his peoples and others about their ways of life in order to keep their culture alive.
This site shows how youths are able to create something that is positive and educational when given the proper tools, freedom to be creative and access to traditional knowledge.
I also came across this article in which a local Vancouver-based hip-hop artist talks about how she uses media and music to bring awareness to the missing and murdered Indigenous women. Hip-hop, which she describes as a “contemporary form of oral tradition”, is how she communicates her peoples’ history for others to hear. The song “Sisterz” is quite powerful.
I really enjoyed the videos that we watched in this module. I love the idea of youth being able to explore their culture and create something that can be shown to a wide audience. I wanted to see what organizations were out there to support these types of endeavours.
This website is based in the United States but their Resources Section contains links to a whole bunch of other organizations in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
I’ve just featured two of the organizations below, otherwise I would just be reproducing the page.
Going M.I.L.E.S. (motivate, inspire, lead, empower, succeed) promotes positive artistic environments for Aboriginal youth. They have a mentorship program with Aboriginal artists and they promote a variety of the arts, including traditional Aboriginal arts.
This organization travels around Quebec with their film making equipment to engage youth and help develop media skills as well as positive life skills. Their mission is to help combat isolation and suicide while helping to develop artistic and technical skills while using the creations to help bring awareness to Aboriginal issues.