Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program (DGM Module 3-4)

The Nunavut Sivuniksavut Training Program was designed to help ease the transition to living and learning in “the south” for Inuit students. This eight month college program recognizes that this culture shock can be highly disruptive to youth who may never have experienced city life and allows them to blend their own cultural activities with formal learning and big city life.

One of the highlights at the end of each school year is a major trip to places such as Guyana, Belize, Alaska, Peru, Mongolia and New Zealand. Blogs (linked from the main website) from these trips share the students’ experiences and the connections they were able to make with Indigenous people at their destinations.

November 10, 2009   No Comments

Assembly of First Nations Blog (M3-5)

The Assembly of First Nations is a national aboriginal advocacy organization in Canada that works alongside government to work on behalf of first nations on major political issues.  Although the Assembly of First Nations’ website is very informative and would prove a valuable resource in research of First Nations political involvement, I feel it is also beneficial to discuss the Assembly’s blog.

The blog provides opinion and information on political issues as well as links to relevant journalism.  The reason I chose to highlight this blog is that I am curious to know why it has not been updated since the 2008 federal election.  In fact, upon browsing through the archives, it appears that only a small number of posts appear under each month, many of which are links to resources on the Assembly’s site and news stories.

I am left wondering about the effectiveness of blogging when trying to reach First Nations in Canada.  Is it that the general public does not know about the blog? Is it that blogging is not a popular tool for first nations? Or, did the blog administrators simply lose interest?  Blogging can be a powerful tool to convey information, especially since readers can subscribe and read fairly quickly and easily.  In addition, through my travels on the web, I have seen other similar blogs that are thriving.  Upon further thought, perhaps it is the audience—the other blogs may be more popular to a more techno-savvy generation?

This is just another example of an aboriginal advocacy group attempting to use technology to reach other aboriginals, in an attempt to work through the decolonization process—in this case by advocating involvement in politics.

November 10, 2009   No Comments

Nigetakiya—Native American Cultural Awareness Association (NACAA) (M3-4)

This resource, subtitled the Native Student Newspaper, offers links, videos, postings, and notice of lectures related to culture, colonization, rights and change.  Based out of the University of Wisconsin, Nigetakiya serves also as a centre point of contact for the NACAA at the school.  The goal of Nigetakiya is to give an authentic voice to 21st century native students, and provide and outlet for decolonization of all native students.

From the home page, one can navigate to explore videos, lectures, blog entries, press releases, environmental issues and a student voices section.  Below is a video that describes the clothing drive that is currently taking place through the NACAA—the students are collecting clothing for the Menominee people in north eastern Wisconsin.


In addition to providing information pertinent to the UW student body, Nigetakiya also links to the First Nations Network blog.

Research interests might include post-secondary native studies, decolonization in post-secondary education, and the use of digital technology to create a common ground, which, in this case, is made for native students in Wisconsin and world-wide.

November 10, 2009   No Comments

Survival International (M3-3)

A non-profit organization founded in the U.K. in 1969, Survival International claims to be the only international organization supporting tribal peoples worldwide.  Through education, advocacy, and campaigning, Survival International supports tribal groups by assisting them in finding and broadcasting their voice.  Different from other similar organizations, Survival International refuses to accept sponsorship from governmental bodies, and depends on the public for operation funding.  They are also the recipients of many awards worldwide for their work in protecting the rights of tribal peoples.

Through the website, one can obtain basic information on the most endangered tribes in the world, download and/or purchase resources for further information and research, donate to the organization, and subscribe to their newsletter.  Below is an approximately 6 minute video that Survival International has produced as part of its “Uncontacted Tribes” campaign (all campaign videos are available in full-length on the Survival International website).


This sit might be of interest in research of outside efforts to aid in the decolonization process.  Survival International was founded by members of a colonizing nation but are using media to advocate for indigenous rights—particularly those tribe at highest risk of obliteration.

November 10, 2009   No Comments

First Nations Network: A Network of Indigenous Voice (M3-2)

The First Nations Network provides an online space where writers can post stories, ideas and comments for all to see.  Set up like a blog, on this site, people from all over share their stories, videos and podcasts; others contribute by commenting on the stories, creating a dialogue around common experiences, and participating in the decolonization process by uniting thorough technology.  The Indigenous Vision section proclaims that:

This site is created to be a voice of the people. All of the relatives here on Turtle Island; a place to connect, and send your voice. We must use our relations as well as our sacred instructions to heal in the midst of the oppression we have lived under. The only way we will heal; is by hearing, and living the lifeway of our relations.

There are subsections that can be found on the home page of The First Nations Network which include:

These sections as well as sections for features, events, videos and podcasts are all accessible via the homepage.  In addition, the Resources page allows for individuals to submit information concerning local tribal issues and information to a public forum.

The First Nations Network is pertinent to research on the use of technology in facilitating the process of decolonization.  Created by First Nations for other First Nations, the site offers an outlet, a space for sharing and analyzing common experience, and support for healing.  In addition, particularly of interest to K-12 education research, the site also values the voice of youth, and many references and links to youth-led initiatives can be found; see for example, the Native Youth Movement Statement for Anti-Olympic Campaign for a pointed and political statement, accompanied by some biting comments.

November 10, 2009   No Comments

Ethnologue (M3-1)

The Ethnologue is a reference resource that catalogues all of the world’s known living languages—all 6909 of them.  The Ethnologue is available to order in print or a version can be found free online.  It was created by scholars through SIL International (Summer Institute of Linguistics), an organization dedicated to working with speakers of lesser-known languages (many of which are indigenous languages or variants of indigenous languages) to record, study and assist in revitalizing the language.

Upon arrival at the home page, there are many ways to look up language information.  One can look at language families, geographical regions or endangered languages only, for example, in order to find what they are looking for.  Maps, diagrams and statistical summaries of language-related information are available throughout the site, and for each entry there is a breakdown of the language’s status: how many speakers of the language, with a distinction between L1 (native) and other speakers; where the language is spoken in the world; how many cultural members of the language group exist; the language family it belongs to; other names for the language; and where to find more information on the language—often links to academic articles.

Of particular interest to the study of indigenous community reality is the Endangered Languages section.  Here you will find not only information regarding specific languages, but also a link to SIL’s endangered languages policy, which explains more about why linguists want to work with these languages and stop them from dying out unrecorded.  It is also important to keep in mind, however, that much of the research is carried out by non-cultural members, and that despite the well-meaning efforts of SIL International, after centuries of colonization, some communities may not desire to have their language recorded or documented.  After all, at its outset, SIL was a Christian organization that began by translating biblical information for indigenous communities–colonization at its best.  Although SIL is still guided by Christian principles, the Ethnologue and other SIL publications are now non-denominational, research-based works.

November 10, 2009   No Comments