Posts from — October 2009

European Network for Indigenous Australian Rights Module 2-5

European Network for Indigenous Australian Rights (ENIAR)

 This site is somewhat unique from others I’ve viewed because it has been developed by a United Kingdom based European support group for  support of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Its “aim is to promote awareness on indigenous issues and to provide information for Indigenous Australians about Europe and international organizations. ENIAR is not affiliated to any government or commercial bodies, is non profit- making and run entirely by volunteers.” 

The site covers the following key indigenous Australian issues:

Art, culture, health, history, human rights, language, law and justice, native title to mention a few.  Each subject or issue leads to a page with considerable amounts of information and external links.  For example, the Aboriginal art page has an ongoing news letter, and the following is only a portion of the external links:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander resource links

On the front page is has extensive coverage on what is called the Stolen Generation.  It speaks to previous overt Australian Government policies to forcibly remove children from their homes in an attempt to assimilate them into European society. 

I don’t know if this site is in partnership with a Aboriginal group(s), however, it clearly identifies the origin and purpose of the site.  In light of the amount of external links alone, it warrants a cursory inspection.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Media Awareness Network (M2-5)

The Media Awareness Network (MNet), is a Canadian-based non-profit organization that promotes critical media literacy education and digital literacy.  This website is likely one of the most comprehensive collections of media and digital literacy resources on the web, and is a “must see” for any K-12 teacher.  Because MNet is a Canadian organization, a quick search within the parameters of province, grade level and subject area will yield lesson plans and other resources which are custom made for Canadian K-12 education.  The MNet database is so vast that it is often best to do a keyword search in order to find something suitable for the topic that you want to work with.

A basic search using “aboriginal” as the key word yields several useful, current and engaging resources.  Lesson plans and resource suggestions for all grade levels and a variety of subject areas are present, many of which deal with the issue of stereotypical representation of aboriginal culture in the media and racism.  In addition, there are also some lessons that deal with aboriginal history in the arts media.  These lesson plans are highly engaging, categorized in age-appropriate groupings, and relate directly to many provincial learning outcomes Canada-wide. The following is a selection of available aboriginal media resources available from MNet:

Media Portrayals of Aboriginal People—Introduction

Native Names and Imagery in Sports

Aboriginal People in the News

The Development of Aboriginal Broadcasting in Canada

These lessons are a great way to share a bit about aboriginal culture in a classroom setting, and are sure to spark some great discussions!

October 19, 2009   No Comments

The Aboriginal Multimedia Society (M2-4)

AMMSA is an aboriginal communications organization that works to facilitate fair and objective news coverage for and by aboriginal people. Originally founded in 1983 under the Alberta Societies Act, AMMSA has survived as a society through membership subscriptions and government funding when available.  The society manages several communications ventures Canada-wide, and provides training and support for other Aboriginal groups looking to establish their own communication ventures.

In addition to providing support and managing a network of information and communications, AMMSA provides via their website, an extensive listing of links to other special interest resources.  There are sections for Career Opportunities, Community Events, Scholarships, Health Information and Book Reviews as well as educational links and historical information.  Since its incorporation in 1983, the society has been able to maintain its vision and commitment to the aboriginal population, despite various funding cuts and challenges.

Of special interest may be the education section of the site which offers links to Windspeaker online, an aboriginal-content news source for all ages. Windspeaker’s classroom edition caters to issues in aboriginal education, and attempts to highlight issues for youth.  There are also lesson ideas offered on this page, and from what I have seen, it appears to be yet another great resource, and example of the use of technology to promote culture.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

First Perspective: National Aboriginal News (M2-3)

First Perspective is a website devoted to Canada-wide aboriginal news issues.  In addition to a listing of recent headlines affecting Aboriginal Canadians and Aboriginal issues world-wide, the site also offers a listing of news releases, employment opportunities, Aboriginal event listings, and links to regular Aboriginal journalistic columns such as Under the Northern Sky.  Several advertisements also are present on the page, all related to Aboriginal events and issues.

One ad that caught my eye was a small one in the corner of the main page.  There is a First Nations art image in black and red with a caption that reads, “Learn More about B.C. Hydro Careers”.  Clicking on the image takes you to a pdf full page ad, targeting prospective aboriginal employees.

I could not get a sense of how well-used this resource is, but it appears to be updated regularly and the news feed is current.  This could be a great site to introduce students to, especially at the secondary level.  First Perspective is a great example of the use of internet technology to connect aboriginal people in Canada.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Shared Learnings (M2-2)

As I mentioned in my previous post, Shared Learnings is a document that was published in 2006 by the British Columbia Ministry of Education.  The purpose of Shared Learnings is to assist teachers in the incorporation of B.C. Aboriginal content in various K-10 subject areas.  It is the goal of the Ministry and document collaborators that through the resources presented in this document, teachers will feel more comfortable in including aboriginal content in their program, and in turn, aboriginal and non-aboriginal learners alike will become engaged with the content, developing an understanding of and appreciation for traditional knowledge.

The resource is divided up into sections based on grade level and subdivided by subject area.  In addition to providing curricular connections, Shared Learnings provides resource lists in each section, instructional strategies, ideas for projects and activities, sample lesson plans, ideas for planning and implementing your program, as well as strategies for discussing sensitive issues.

Shared Learnings, in my experience, is a resource that is widely unknown to practicing B.C. teachers, and upon stumbling across this resource again myself, I am reminded that I need to go through it again to see how I can improve my practice.  In my experience, many teachers often push aside aboriginal content in favour of the need to “meet literacy or numeracy outcomes”.  Through the use of Shared Learnings as a starting point, I think that B.C. teachers can in fact guide students toward meeting all outcomes, through the incorporation of traditional aboriginal content, rather than in addition to exploring aboriginal content.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

SD #71’s Index of Websites by, for and about Aboriginal Peoples (M2-1)

This page, a subpage of the B.C. School District #70 (Comox Valley) website, outlines some online resources pertaining to aboriginal education, political and historical information, as well as sites for aboriginal youth.  The site is a good starting point for researching aboriginal issues in Canada, and all links are current and functional.

Perhaps one of the most useful points for educators might be the lesson plan section.  Here, I found a project created by a team of middle school teachers from all over Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast called “Social Justice through Literature Written by Aboriginal Authors”.  In the activities and lessons that are presented here, students are encouraged to think critically about aboriginal values and history through a social justice lens.  The literature that is used in the lessons is referenced for the most part, but teachers could likely adapt the lessons to use local stories and work.

The project is designed as an extension to a document published by the B.C. Ministry of Education in 2006 called Shared Learnings, a document created in order to help facilitate the incorporation of B.C. aboriginal knowledge into the K-10 classroom.  Lessons are also laid out with direct reference to the B.C. Prescribed Learning Outcomes for Language Arts and Social Studies 6-8.  Finding this project was timely for me, as our local union embarks on the creation of a Social Justice committee.  With the relatively recent creation of the Social Justice 12 course in B.C., I believe it is imperative that middle and elementary schools follow suit.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Indigenous Perspectives on Globalization: Self-Determination Through Autonomous Media Creation (M2, #3)

This is a thought-provoking article examining, among other issues, how Indigenous cultures have been resisting the forces of globalization while also asserting their autonomy and right to self-determination for over five centuries.

The article goes on to discuss how it’s important for Indigenous peoples to be in control of media representations of themselves so that dominant stereotypes about their communities are no longer perpetuated. Needless, to say this is a challenge for any culture outside the mainstream, Indigenous or otherwise.

Despite many challenges, the range and creativity of Indigenous media production in Canada and around the world is now quite substantial. With large, successful Indigenous-led film festivals, such as The ImagineNATIVE Aboriginal Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto firmly established, it’s anticipated that this positive momentum will continue.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Teaching Respect for Native Peoples (M2, #2)

This site struck me as a great resource for teachers with many suggestions of ways to ensure that Native students feel respected and valued in the classroom. In addition, it provides ideas for teaching about Indigenous cultures in appropriate ways. Although many of these points might seem obvious, it’s helpful to read through as even one or two of the suggestions might be easily implemented to positively impact teaching practices.

Although I agree with many of the suggestions on this list, some I wasn’t so sure about. For example, the suggestion: “don’t single out Native children, ask them to describe their families’ traditions, or their peoples’ cultures.” Some students might enjoy teaching about their culture, especially if they can do so in a way they are comfortable with. In my experience, most students enjoy talking about their interests, traditions and culture, especially if they feel secure and confident in their learning environment.

I like how the suggestions are concise and well organized in an easy to read bulleted list. This information is presented as pertaining to Native cultures, but most of the suggestions are applicable to any culture.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Native Planet: Preserving Cultures, Empowering People (M2, #1)

The strikingly vivid colours  and images throughout this website reflect the uniqueness of Indigenous cultures. It was created to give native peoples a voice and to showcase how world cultures are working to protect their traditions despite globalization.

One of Native Planet’s main goals is the creation of authentic cultural documentaries as a means of empowerment. Many of these emphasize how Indigenous cultures are traditionally great examples of sustainable living.

Also, there is an intriguing section on Indigenous mapping of world ethnic cultures. The primary goal here is to produce a comprehensive database of Indigenous communities, including information on the successes and challenges they face. This completed database will be available to the public with the aim of providing a comprehensive resource of factual, unbiased information for interested students and researchers.

Native Planet is a non-profit organization and on each page of the site there is an area where visitors can make donations to futher their projects.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Library of Parliament – Supreme Court Decisions on Aboriginal Fishing Rights Module 2-4


For those interested in researching or reading more in-depth about the application of Canadian law in regards to Aboriginal cultural rights may find this site on Supreme Court decisions of interest.

The site provides overviews of Supreme Court decisions regarding Commercial fishing rights, Bands by-law limitations to regulate fisheries.  In total 7 cases are outlined with an overall conclusion.

The cases are as follows:

A. Sparrow

B. Van Der Peet


D. Gladstone

Band By-laws can not regulate fishery

A. Lewis

B. Nikal

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Centre for Constitutional Rights – Aboriginal Cultural Rights Module 2-3

Website: University of Alberta

Centre for Constitutional Rights

Aboriginal Rights Background

In light of the discussion on cultural rights, I thought it relevant to post an excerpt from the University Alberta’s description of Aboriginal cultural rights in regards to the Canadian Constitution.  For those interested cultural rights this site has numerous further readings that would be a great place to start researching.

Aboriginal rights are communal rights, shared by all members of an aboriginal group rather than being specific to an individual person. Because of this common nature, aboriginal rights are not defined the same way as the individual common law rights shared by all Canadians, such as the right to vote, freedom of religion, or freedom of expression.[11] Many aboriginal rights are cultural rights. The purpose of section 35(1) of the Constitution is to reconcile aboriginal peoples’ rights to traditional customs and practices with European law and the present-day rule of the Crown.[12] Cultural rights include the activities practiced by all aboriginal peoples in general and certain aboriginal groups in particular, for example the right to speak indigenous languages and the right to perform traditional customs such as dances, songs and ceremonies. Rights particular to certain aboriginal groups depend upon the historical practices and customs of each group. This includes, for example, the right to fish or hunt in a certain area regardless of whether or not one has title to that land. Cultural activities such as hunting, fishing, language and art are the most basic type of aboriginal rights, and may exist without aboriginal title to land. In order to establish that an activity is an aboriginal right, it is necessary to prove that the Aboriginal group bringing the claim practiced this activity, tradition or custom and that it was culturally important at the time of European contact.[13]

Government Links

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Jane May Allain, “Aboriginal Fishing Rights: Supreme Court Decisions” Library of Parliament (October 1996)

“Aboriginal Rights” Canadian Human Rights Commission

BC Treaty Commission

“Aboriginal Canada Portal” Government of Canada

“Treaty Policy Directorate” Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (26 July 2006)

“First Nations Land Management Act” Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (23 April 2004)

Further Readings:

“Canadian Native Law Cases – Case law 1763-1978” University of Saskatchewan

“A Brief Introduction to Aboriginal Law in Canada” Bill Henderson Virtual Law Office

“Aboriginal Rights and Title in Canada After Delgamuukw: Anthropological Perspectives” Aboriginal Rights and Title

Aboriginal Law and Legislation

“First Nations Treaties, Law, and Land Claims Theme Page” Community Learning Network

“Aboriginal Rights” The Canadian Encyclopedia

Action for Aboriginal Rights

Centre for Indigenous Sovereignty

October 19, 2009   No Comments

The Arts Law Centre of Australia Module 2-2

The Arts Law Centre of Australia is the national community legal centre for the arts in Australia Module 2-2

In light of the discussion on protecting cultural rights, I was interested in this site is because its focus is on protecting the cultural rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as other artists.  The site is comprehensive providing a broad range of services and information as is evident in the tabs below.


Legal Services

Legal Information

Sample Contracts


Policy & Research


Related Links:

The Association of Northern, Kimberley and Arnhem Aboriginal Artists (ANKAAA)

The Association of Central Australian Aboriginal Art and Craft Centres (DESART)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC)

Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA)

October 19, 2009   No Comments

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