International Journal of Cultural Property (M-2 Post 4)

This exerpt from the website provides the importance for this site as a source of information on indigenous culture and property rights.

” This peer-reviewed journal publishes original research papers, case notes, documents of record, chronicles, conference reports, and book reviews. Contributions come from the wide variety of fields implicated in the debates – law, anthropology, public policy, archaeology, art history, preservation, ethics, economics, museum-, tourism-, and heritage studies – and from a variety of perspectives and interests – indigenous, Western, and non-Western; academic, professional and amateur; consumers and producers – to promote meaningful discussion of the complexities, competing values, and other concerns that form the environment within which these disputes exist.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

line in the sand (M-2 Post 3)

Series of essays devoted to issues of cultural property and Native Americans.  The site gives a good background of the issues but is related to a specific case against Virgin records which illustrates the need for awareness regarding Indigenous cultural propriety.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Who owns Native culture? (M-2 Post 2)  

This website was originally launched to supplement the book of the same name by Michael F. Brown.  The site provides a significant amount of information and resources to help understand the debate over cultural knowledge and intellectual property.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources (M-2 Post 1)

In the websites own words,  they are a “worldwide network of organizations, academics, activists, indigenous groups, and others representing indigenous and tribal peoples. We consist of a concerned group of social scientists, activists, scholars, laypeople, indigenous people, and others who all share a combined goal: to provide resources, news, articles, and information on current issues effecting indigenous and tribal peoples around the world.”

There are links to indigenous communities in many countries including Canada and the U.S.  In if you follow these links you can find information on news, government policies, and initiatives taking place in those communities as well as maps and other information.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Native Art Network (DGM Module 2-3)

This is a “100% Native American owned and operated” online network that aims to promote Native American artists and provide opportunities to learn about them, their art and their culture. A prominent feature of the landing page is a section highlighting the Network’s presence on Facebook (Native Art Network on Facebook). From the FAQs page:

We are Native American professionals in the fields of software, database, business, marketing, and internet technologies. We grew up in our communities on the “rez” and have been surrounded by the arts all our lives. Because of our professional backgrounds, artists in our communities and families have been approaching us to provide them an affordable professional internet presence on the world wide web. Native Art Network was born to serve that need.

Contrary to the non-native (wannabe) startups of native chat-rooms and listservs as described by Zimmerman, Zimmerman and Bruguier (2000), this website/network appears to be an authentic Native response to an authentic Native need.

Each artist profiles give specific information about the artist’s tribe, a short biography and sample images of their artwork.

The following links are found on the website:

Work Cited

Zimmerman, L., Zimmerman, K. and Bruguier, L. (2000). “Smoke Signals: New Technologies and Native American Ethnicity” in Smith, C. and Ward, G. (Eds) indigenous cultures in an interconnected world. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press. pp. 69-86.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Aboriginal Culture in the Digital Age (M2-5)

I thought I would share this interesting research article discussing Aboriginal Culture in Canada involving digital technologies. The article, written by the Aboriginal Voice Culture Group, explores the future of . This group endeavours to explore the relationship and impact of information and communications technologies on Aboriginal cultures and identity in Canada.

The document directly relates to many of the topics we have discussed this week including:

Is ICT the potent enabler for the promotion, renewal and enrichment of Aboriginal cultures as many claim?  For example does ICT offer new possibilities for the preservation and teaching of Aboriginal languages?  Within the context of increasing numbers of Aboriginal peoples living away from traditional communities in large urban melting pots, can technology help safeguard the right of Aboriginal children and young people to learn their culture and speak their Indigenous languages?

The article is a great read and discusses many of the websites playing a role in helping Canadian Aboriginals to shape their online identity.  Here are some of the sites the article mentions:

October 18, 2009   2 Comments

Australian – Aboriginal Identity Module 2-1

Creative Spirits Module 2-1


This is an Australian website that focuses on Aboriginal Identity:

Who is Aboriginal?

Aboriginal Identity Test

What does it mean to be Aboriginal?

The main page has number of elements that are addressing the myths and stereotyping of Aboriginals.  For example, there is a group of light coloured people with painted black faces.  The intent is to educate people the colour of one’s skin is not what constitutes an Aboriginal person.

“Aboriginal identity is not a black face. Bindi Cole (front) and light-skinned members of her family pose with black faces to challenge the stereotypical notion of what black identity should look like.”

Another powerful visual is a Tourism Australia brochure with a young Aboriginal person with a painted face on the front of it.  This is used to demonstrate how the government itself has perpetuated the stereotypical view of Aboriginal people in order to promote tourism.

The site contains further readings on issues related to Racism in Aboriginal Australia; Australian Aboriginal People; Aboriginal Discrimination to mention a few.

Fact  Did you know that the Aboriginal people of India are called ‘Dalits’?

Site developer claims to use as much Indigenous sources as much as possible out of respect for Aboriginal culture.  I do not know if he is Aboriginal or a wannabee.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Common Portrayals of Aboriginal People (M2-4)

The discussions related to Nanook of the North as well as many of our readings in this module had us analyzing how First Nations people are depicted in the media and online.  Within the module I kept on thinking the stereotypes the Western world has developed around the Native American persona.

One site that I found summarized these stereotypes in an honest and realistic manner is the Media Awareness Network’s Common Portrayals of Aboriginal People page.  The site digs deep into North American film and television to list numerous ways in which Aboriginal people have been misrepresented.  In their list they touch on some of the following misrepresentations:

  • Romanticization
  • The Indian Princess
  • The Native Warrior
  • The Noble Savage
  • Historical Inaccuracies
  • Simplistic Characterizations

Other sections of the site investigate some very relevant topics including:

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Aboriginal Law and Legislation (M2-3)

Earlier this week we were discussing the rights a group has in protecting their culture.  In answering the question I was surprised to learn how little I know about how Canadian and international law impacts the Aboriginal groups of the world.

In researching Aboriginal law in Canada I came across a very useful site that lists international, constitutional and federal law including commissions and court decisions for Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Australia.  This site is a wealth of information and can be found here.

The site is a great one-stop location for legal information and links to the official International, Federal and consititutional documents.  Here is a quick listing of some of the Canadian content:


October 18, 2009   No Comments

Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace (M2-2)

I stumbled upon this group a while ago while researching Second Life.  Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace or AbTeC is a group of Aboriginal technology and media specialists and what they do is a  bit hard to explain so I will let them do it:

AbTeC is a network of academics, artists and technologists whose goal is to define and share conceptual and practical tools that will allow us to create new, Aboriginally-determined territories within the web-pages, online games, and virtual environments that we call cyberspace. Our multi-faceted effort will include a storytelling series, an ongoing gamesnight, a modding workshop, Machinima, and performance art.

Our main objective is to identify and implement methods by which Aboriginal people can use new media technologies to complement our cultures. In other words, how can we use the exciting new tools now available on the personal computer to empower Native people, especially our youth, to both preserve and produce our knowledge, culture and language in this highly technological society? AbTeC’s roots lie with a project called CyberPowWow, a pioneering on-line gallery and chat space for contemporary Aboriginal art. It was through CyberPowWow that we realized that, even on the Internet, Native people need a self-determined place to call home.

The group has done a lot of very interesting work related to Aboriginals in Cyberspace including research publications,  digital productions and their site also has a very informed blog.  Some of the more intersting and relevant blog posts can be found below:

I think site is of interest to anyone curious about how Aboriginal groups are represented in cyberspace, and more specifically, in modern video games.  There is definitely an interesting body of knowledge emerging from this group.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Aboriginal_peoples_in_Canada – mod2 posting5

I don’t know why I didn’t think of wikipedia before, but this page has a great list of resources and information on the  Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Since I am a totally rookie, this site is a great jumping point for me.

I am still in the search for bogs, so if anyone finds some please let me know.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Art of Blogging – mod 2 posting 4

The Art of Blogging – Part 1

by George Siemens a professor at Athabasca University who is a theorist on learning in a digitally-based society.

This is a good starting point to learn how blogs are used for knowledge construction

October 18, 2009   No Comments

First Nations Seeker (M2-1)

In recent readings and posts I have been coming across many first nations groups that I am unfamiliar with.  From  geographical and historical perspectives it is very hard to keep track of the many unique communities across Canada.

One site that has helped me in looking into these groups is this site lists what appears to most, if not all, of the first nations groups and communities in North America as well as the Caribbean, Russia and Greenland.  The list is organized linguistically which is essentially by geographic region so it is very easy to gain more information about local groups.

For each group a map is provided showing their region as well as any links to native or band sites.  The site lists well over 100 different groups with 1-20 links to individual community sites.

If you are looking for more information on a given first nations group in North America this is a great site to check first.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Weblog Entry#5 by Dilip Verma

The Digital Drum WebSite

Web Site URL:

The Digital Drum is a project set up in 2007 by Canadian Culture Online, which is run by the Department of Canada Heritage.

It is a site similar to YouTube, and is designed to engage youth in Aboriginal Cultural Expression. One of the aims is to connect youth with Elders in the hope that this will help youth to identify with their native culture. The site offers a variety of media clips on many topics related to the interests of Indigenous youth. It is easy to watch stream, vote, post comments and upload material. The site is designed to be attractive to modern adolescents. It is a great way to develop a multimedia discourse by connecting Indigenous youth to a Pan Indigenous Discourse. It is obviously open to abuse, as I discovered in the Blogs, but it is a very interesting idea and seems to be working.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Weblog Entry #4 by Dilip Verma

The Alaska Native Knowledge Network

Web site URL:

This site is run from the University of Alaska Fairbanks , is a resource fro educators interested in Indigenous Alaskan knowledge and ways of knowing. This is a serious, up to date, culturally sensitive and culturally relevant resource for educators in Alaska working with Indigenous communities. The ASKN site offers a long list of its own publications, both digital and print. These include articles, books, guidelines, DVDs, CD ROMS and posters. The ASKN also publishes a digital newsletter, and a catalogue is available online dating back to 1996. The site offers culturally based curriculum resources organized through a Curriculum Spiral Chart. These resources have been chosen to show how Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing and Western knowledge systems can be combined in a culturally relevant curriculum.

As an example, Some Curriculum resources are located at:

Some Lesson plans are located at:

There is also an up to date calendar of events, and finally a moderated listserv for announcements.

This professional and well-maintained site is a good example of what a teaching university can offer as a resource for educators working in rural communities.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Weblog Entry#3 by Dilip Verma

The Inupiaq Dictionary Project

Web Site URL:

This is a school based project inspired by Audie Chikoyuk of Marshall, Alaska in the Bering Strait School District that uses Wiki technology to encourage indigenous students to build a language dictionary.

The Wiki contains links to each Inupiaq word entered into the system. Each word has it’s own page with a word, definition, MP3 audio file, image and any other additional relevant information. Since it is a Wiki, anyone can add or make changes to the content, which may or may not be a good thing in the long run. It is a very simple site, and still quite small, but has grown to include a dictionary in Yupik as well. This is an important site as it demonstrates indigenous youth creating and sharing a product that promotes an internal discourse with very little investment. The fact that it is an oral dictionary is important in my quest for digital products that can be used in Mexican Indigenous communities, because these languages often do not have a globally accepted written form. Since Indigenous languages tend to vary from community to community, the Wiki technology gives students from different communities the opportunity to add variations to the same entry, encouraging a peer-peer discourse.

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Weblog Entry #2 by Dilip Verma

The Four Directions Teachings website

Web Site URL:

The Four Directions Teachings site is a very professional project. This Canadian site receives money from the Department of Cultural Heritage. It is a beautifully produced resource for incorporating native knowledge in the classroom. It aims to protect and promote indigenous knowledge. The site mixes audio teachings by elders and beautiful flash videos. The site is an example of how with careful research and consulting a high quality product is possible. Careful consideration has even been given to the interface that aims to “replicate the fundamental flow of movement and interconnectivity of the indigenous experience.”

The site also provides downloadable lesson plans that aim to take maximum advantage of the oral teachings included in the site. The lesson plans are designed to incorporate the holistic nature of indigenous teaching methodologies, incorporating the idea of multi disciplinary learning and the medicine wheel. The four sections of the wheel incorporate the idea of Native Learning styles the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects of the learning process, and each lesson plan aims to use and balance all four parts.

The teacher’s resources include learning activities (lesson plans) for each of the tribes represented for incorporating the audio material provided by the elders into the classroom at different educational levels.

I really recommend that anyone who has the time looks at the site and reads the teacher’s resource document at

October 18, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Weblog Entry #1 by Dilip Verma

The Four Directions Project

Web site URL:

The LTC (Learning Technology Center at the University of Texas at Austin ran the Four Directions project from 1995 to 2001 as an Indigenous Model of Education. The 4Directions website is administered by the Pueblo of Laguna Department of Education. It received funding from the Technology Innovation Challenge Program of the U.S. Department of Education.

The site appears to be no longer maintained, as there are broken links and the site is small. However, the site proposes and demonstrates several uses of technology for indigenous students to record and share objects of cultural relevance. It demonstrates a way for indigenous groups that are physically separated from each other to form a database of culturally relevant media.

The site contains an example of a student based virtual project, the 4Directions Virtual Museum (

The project is very small but uses QTVR (Quick Time Virtual Reality) to record artifacts of significance to the American Indian students and place them in a virtual museum along with additional material that explains their significance produced by the students.

There is also a virtual tour of the National Museum of the American Indian, created by American Indian students. They have chosen objects of interest to them and when the visitor clicks on one of these “hot spot” objects, apart from viewing an image, a commentary written by the student appears about the artifact

Finally there is a database of lesson plans and other didactic material.

October 18, 2009   No Comments