Module 1 Weblog #3 (Al. Davidson)

First Voices

Description and Relevance

This interactive website is developed by the First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation and supported by the New Relationship Trust, TELUS, the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Government of British Columbia. I navigated to this site from the First Nations Technolgy Council Website in my exploration of Language and Technology.

The stated purpose of this site is to “support Aboriginal People engaged in language archiving. language teaching and culture revitalization.”

Features and Links

There are a number of interactive tools that facilitate learning activities. An interactive map connects to a number of language groups across Canada (currently most participating communities are in BC) where learners can then access a variety of interactive tools including:

  • language games
  • audio players
  • alphabets
  • slideshows
  • video clips


September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module #1 Weblog Entry #2

Mission Voices Website

Mission Voices Website is a project funded by the Australian Broadcasting Company and involves the Koorie Heritage Trust  and the State Library of Victoria. The premise of the site is to document the history of six Aboriginal missions and reserves in Victoria, Australia. This is a unique historical account as it includes the voices of the Koorie elders who recount their memories of mission and reservation  life. It is a moving experience which adds a new dimension to the study of history.

Included in the site are collaborative activities for both middle years and high school students. The goal of the activities seems to be to promote the idea of how Aboriginal missions and reserves have shaped the lives of all Australians-past and present.

The site is very powerful. However, one downside is the navigation-it seems awkward and disjointed which is disappointing as this site offers much for educators.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 Weblog Entry # 1

American Indian Science and Engineering Society.  

Founded 30 years ago to address the problem of underrepresentation of the American Indian in the fields of science and engineering. They offer financial, academic and cultural support to American Indians interested in pursuing careers in science and engineering.

The site offers links to programs, scholarships and  career opportunities. The AIESES membership includes students from high school through post graduate work. The site also includes a link to Member of the Month which I believe would serve as an effective source of positive role modelling and mentoring.

The AISES celebrates the accomplishments of the past 30 years and looks to the future. Now, more than ever, as we deal with issues of climate change, AISES believes that the global community stands to benefit from Native scientists and their traditional knowledge.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Keewaytinook Internet High School (DGM Module 1-3)

The Keewaytinook Internet High School (KiHS) is an innovative secondary school program now in its 10th year of operation, based in northwestern Ontario that allows students in relatively isolated, mostly First Nations communities to study in local settings. Students also get the opportunity to build connections with students in other communities, broadening their sense of identity.

KiHS provides a successful model for distributed delivery utilising ICTs that are now affordable and available for most communities. A key aspect of this model is community involvement: teachers, who generally come from “away”, become active community members; community elders participate as mentors and guides, encouraging attendance and persistence. While programming is tailored to fit students’ needs, the school does follow the same Ontario curriculum requirements as any other Ontario high school, be it in an urban, rural, southern, immigrant or “white” neighbourhood. I do question whether programming from a one-size-fits-all curriculum can be tailored significantly enough to truly meet the needs of such diverse demographics.

Links to other resources include News, the school’s moodle site, student email and…

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Australia’s Culture Portal: Indigenous film (DGM Module 1-2)

This website is an official government portal to Australian Indigenous film, including a history of Indigenous film that weaves it closely to the developing intercultural dynamic from the silent film period of the 1920’s to present day. The history culminates in a reference to Ten Canoes (de Heer 2006), “Australia’s first feature film to be made entirely in an Aboriginal language (although narrated in English).”

An important inclusion on this page, and that of the Ten Canoes website (well-worth a visit) is the following warning: “This article may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Islander people now deceased. It also contains links to sites that may use images of Aboriginal and Islander people now deceased.”

According to McGrath and Philips (2007), it is a sign of respect to a deceased person not to use their first name, at least in direct reference to that person, for a period of up to several years. Eventually, the deceased’s name will often be used to name a new child in the family in order to maintain continuity in the family.

This Portal also contains links to many other useful resources related to Indigenous film in Australia, including similar sites, film sites, info about Indigenous filmmakers, and so on.

One aspect of this site that I find diminishes the status of Australian Indigenous film is that the government ministry responsible for this website is the Ministry of Culture and Recreation (my emphasis). While recreation, or play, may be a component of cultural activity, it seems disrespectful to put the two on an equal footing.


McGrath, P., & Phillips, E. (2007). Australian findings on aboriginal cultural practices associated with clothing, hair, possessions and use of name of deceased persons. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 14(1), 57-66. Retrieved from

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog Entry #1 – Bruce Spencer

Language is one of the most important aspects of a culture. It is used primary for communication purposes but it also helps us to define who we are as a people. Certain characteristics of language, such as dialect, can signify differences that may exist within a given culture. Language can also be used to distinguish one culture from another.
A Canadian Perspective

This site from Natural Canada Resources is loaded with statistical information about the nature and composition of aboriginal languages within Canada. While the information may is somewhat dated, it does have interactive maps that can be used by educators/learners interested in learning more about the current status of Canada’s aboriginal language. Data and Mapping Notes provides additional background information about these maps.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog Entry #2 – Bruce Spencer

National Standards

Unlike many nations, Canada doesn’t have a national strategy for education. That’s because the federal government doesn’t have any jurisdiction over education; it handed those rights over to the provinces as part of the terms of Canadian Confederation. Hence, educational standards are set by the individual provinces/territories. As educators, many of us are probably already familiar with the various curriculum requirements for the province/territory where we live and work.

In recent years, some attempts have been made by various provincial/territorial governments to streamline certain core curriculums from across several geographic regions into one common protocol. This is probably as close as we’ll ever come to creating national standards.

 The Western and Northern Canadian Protocol Aboriginal Languages Project is one example of how cooperation between different provinces/territories can lead to the development of a common curriculum for all.

 Click here to download a pdf copy of the WNCP Framework

 Click here for an interactive map that will link you with Aboriginal Languages and Cultures Websites from across Western Canada.

 Visit the CMEC (Council of Ministers of Education Canada) for the latest developments about the status of education across Canada and from around the world.

 The Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Canada Portal website has a variety of information related to Aboriginal Language, Heritage and Culture. The webpage has a Topics Menu with plenty of topics and links to other interesting websites.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog Entry #3 – Bruce Spencer

It’s important for aboriginals to connect with one another so that they can speak with one voice on issues that are common to them all. Whether is here in Canada or somewhere else in the world, the digital divide has played an important role in bringing these aboriginal people closer together.

Aboriginal Connections is a directory that has multiple listings to various Indigenous websites from around the world. There are 967 listings and 16 categories for Canada alone.

Some of my more favorite categories include:
Education (73)
The Arts (152)
Heritage and Culture (53)
First Nations (129)
News and Media (73)

Sites that interested me were:
Aboriginal Children’s Circle of Early Learning a teaching resource site
Haa Ai (Inuktitut for Look at This) a web messaging site
Arctic Studies Center check out the Mask Exhibit
Canada’s Digital Collections An impressive collection

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog Entry #4 – Bruce Spencer

It’s always a good idea to stay abreast of current events from around the globe. Perhaps what’s even more important is that we get a balanced representation of these events as they play out on the world stage. Cultural Survival offers readers access to hundreds of articles on issues relating to indigenous peoples from all over the world. But that’s not all this organization does.

Cultural Survival is currently involved in supporting various self-sustaining culturally driven programs for several indigenous communities in different parts of the world. One such project has to do with the deterioration of Native American Languages within the United States. The similarities to our own situation are striking, which is why I would encourage you to explore this site and the program more closely.

Some publications of interest to me were:
“Surf’s up!” NWT Indigenous Communities Await a Tidal Wave of Electronic Information
Indigenous Distance Education
A View from the Yukon Flats: An Interview with Gwich’in Leader Clarence Alexander

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog Entry #5 – Bruce Spencer

This is a sampling of some of website oddities that I came across during my research on aboriginal languages. Neither of them deserved their own weblog necessarily but I felt compelled to include them somewhere because of the nature of the content found in each.

1. The Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics is about a proposal put forward by the Canadian Standards Association concerning the development of a Universal Multiple-Octet Character Set. Apparently there’s been a dispute between various aboriginal groups over ownership over certain characters common to their respective language. I have included here because of its connection to aboriginal language (written).

2. The University of Calgary’s Linguistics Department has posted an Aboriginal Languages of Canada Map to show all the geographic location of every known aboriginal language family in Canada. It also provides some statistical information on the more well-known ones.

3. The federal government, through their Canadian Heritage website has information on their Aboriginal Languages Initiative Innovation Fund Pilot Project that maybe of interest to some. I would be interested in learning about any projects derived from this federal initiative so if you hear of any, please let me know.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1: First Nation SchoolNet

First Nation SchoolNet

This organization is sponsored by the First Nation Education Steering Committee and First Nation School Association.

The mandate of the First Nation School Net is to connect First Nation Schools by internet.  In addition to its sponsors it has a number of funding partners that enable it to develop and implement practical, yet vital, programs that build ICT knowledge and understanding with First Nation youth.


Provide First Nation schools  with ICT infrastructure                                  Provide ICTs in the classroom                                                                                 Support the ICT skill development for teachers and students                     Extend internet connectivity to First Nation schools that haven’t received it yet                                                                                                                                                     e-library                                                                                                                                   tech support                                                                                                                                e-learning (Coolschool)


A couple of examples are as follows:  A language lab that is resourced to First Nation communities seeking to build capacity with the youth by having them use media technology for the preservation of Aboriginal languages and traditions.  Secondly, it supports a program for digital literacy.  This is a 20 week program that provides training to Aboriginal youth to prepare them for employment opportunities within their communities.  Those participating also participate in an on-line workshop known as Internet and Computer Core Certification (IC3).


Reports that are available are attached to each page as opposed to having one publication page. 


In development – none available at this time


September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1: FNESC

first nations education steering committee (FNESC)

First nations education steering committee was established in the early 1990s with a mandate to

“facilitate discussion about education matters affecting First Nations in BC by disseminating information and soliciting input from First Nations. “

In addition to facilitating, it provides the following services and supports to First Nations in the Province of BC.

  • Facilitate communication (newsletter, policy updates, etc.).
  • Provide liaison for First Nations with government and other agencies.
  • Coordinate information sharing,
  • Coordinate provincial conferences, regional workshops and information workshops.
  • Conduct research on broad topics to support First Nations education initiatives.
  • Undertake some policy discussions, with explicit direction from, consultation and communication with First Nations communities themselves.
  • Provide a forum for a united First Nations voice.
  • Serve as a clearinghouse for information resources and models for First Nations education activities.
  • Provide administrative and technical support to ensure First Nations control and administration of First Nations education programs such as the youth initiatives.
  • Provide support for First Nations involved in the treaty process.

First Nations Schools Association

The above links are applicable to a variety of interests at the K-12 and post secondary levels of education delivery.  There are resources for First Nation Education coordinators, as well as the Parents Club recognizing the importance of family and community for the education of a child.  This site is a great resource for both those actively involved in the development and delivery of education within First Nation communities, as well as those seeking to conduct research on First Nation education. 


September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 Weblog #2 (Al Davidson)

First Nations Technology Council

Description & Relevance

This site outlines the Mission, Mandate, Goals and the organizational  structure  of the  British Columbia First Nations Technology Council. The relevance of this organization and supporting partnerships to our focus in Module 1 of ETEC 521 is significant, pasrticularly when considering the mission “supporting the full integration of technologies to improve the quality of life for l First Nations in BC,” progressive goals, and support for technology integration which highlight the values of the First Nations Technology Council. In the first module we are asking ‘big questions’ about the paradoxes between indigeneity and technology. When exploring the ambitious and benevolent efforts of this council it seems as if the potential negatives and consequences of technology integration into first nations communities are not at issue. Regardless, the site itself is excellent and contains many links to partners and associated sites that explore the use of and connections between First Nations, technlogy, and education.

Links and Features

There are too many links to list but here are some that have strong connections to our course of study

  •  From the Community Applications page is a link to a documentary titled “Cedar and Silicon” which explores the process of bringing technology to a First Nations community.
  • The Youth Cafe page links to a number of related sites as well as a Film Festival in part supported by the First Nations Technology Council.[youtube][/youtube]


September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 Weblog # 1 (Al Davidson)


Description and Relevance

This site has been created by members of the Tsuut’ina First Nation to help preserve and protect a language that is considered to be an “extinct language”

Having a small number of Tsuut’ina students in our school prompted me to revisit this site during Module 1 discussions. It provides an exemplar for First Nations cultures attempting to use modern technology to bridge cultural divides and preserve language. This also provides food for thought when considered against the position of Howe, Craig, “Cyberspace is No Place for Tribalism,” Wicazo Sa Review (Fall, 1998), 19-27.

Links and Features

  • This site includes a downloadable keyboard for Tsuut’ina characters as well as audio and video lessons.
  • Links from this page are to other categories on the Tssut’ina main site including other relevant cultural and historical information that is being preserved through the use of technology.


September 20, 2009   No Comments