Club Amick (DGM Module 4-5)

Club Amick is an aboriginal children’s literacy project founded by former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The Honourable James Bartleman, and continued by current L-G, The Honourable David Onley. The program helps aboriginal children to cultivate a love of reading and to build home libraries by sending them a themed book and newsletter four times a year. The goal of developing literacy amongst aboriginal youth is one very close to Bartleman’s heart: as a half-native child, he grew up in poverty in Orillia, Ontario, but discovered a love of reading that eventually led him to be appointed the Queen’s representative to the province.

Links on the page include:

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December 2, 2009   No Comments

ETEC521 Blog Wordle

I thought it might be fun to see a Wordle of our blog postings thus far.


Wordle: ETEC521 - 2009

November 30, 2009   No Comments

RICTA | Research on ICT with Aboriginal Communities (DGM Module 4-4)

RICTA was established in September 2004 to work with Aboriginal communities, use ICTs strategically and creatively, build local capacity for research, facilitate Aboriginal participation, and to facilitate connection and trust among diverse members. Members include “more than 40 people working with universities, community research institutes, Aboriginal organizations, government and the private sector. Although a Canadian project, there are several non-Canadian institutions represented, including: University of San Francisco; Universidad Metropolitana, Mexico; New Jersey Institute of Technology; University of Vienna; and University of Missouri-Columbia.

The website currently lists five ongoing member projects, and 34 other projects nation-wide. Where applicable, project websites and contact information are included. Also useful is a bibliography of Canadian publications (1980-2005) related to research in ICT use in Aboriginal Communities.

Unfortunately, it appears that this website has not been updated since 2006.

November 28, 2009   No Comments

East Cree Language Web (DGM Module 4-3)

This website is maintained by the Cree School Board in northern Québec, as a means to support Cree teachers and students learning their own language, and to introduce the language to non-Cree readers. As the site states:

This site is intended as a resource for Cree language teachers, literacy instructors, translators, linguists, and anyone who has an interest in the nuts and bolts of the Cree language. We hope that the live possibilities of the internet will encourage participation. We are seeking support form all who value linguistic diversity and want the Cree language to be alive and well in the 21st century and after.

The site includes links to:

Amongst the Resources are some lesson plans such as those included in East Cree Mathematics. All sections of the website are available in English, French, South Cree and North Cree. Fonts for both Cree dialects are available to download.

November 28, 2009   No Comments

A Consultation on Anglican Theological Education in the First Nations (DGM Module 4-2)

This page contains the report to the Anglican Church of Canada summarizing the activities and conclusions of a Consultation that was hosted at Thorneloe University in Sudbury, Ontario in May of 2009. The purpose of this consultation was “to take counsel together on the subject of theological education for First Nations church leaders so that we might begin to fulfil the vision of the Anglican Church’s New Agape (2001) for Indigenous self-determination” (2009). The consultation touched on “curriculum, training standards, modes of delivery and how we can share and develop resources.”

Among the main conclusions were:

  • Promote greater inclusion of aboriginal people on educational boards and committees;
  • Encourage greater self-determination;
  • Work together to produce curriculum and modes of delivery that:
o Respond in practical ways to pastoral realities;
o Rely less on outsourcing;
o Involve elders, women;
o Create a new indigenous theological language that is faithful to the Christian tradition while being sensitive to indigenous culture and spirituality; and
o Embodies both global and local visions.

While this is a news-bulletin type page and doesn’t have any related links, the slide show from my presentation to the consultation group follows:

November 27, 2009   No Comments

Universities and Colleges: Aboriginal Canada Portal (DGM Module 4-1)

This section of the Aboriginal Canada Portal website “contains a list of the university and college programs, courses and services intended for an Aboriginal clientele.” In theory and on the surface, this is a great idea. Aboriginal students can look for post-secondary programs in environments that are designed with their cultural context in mind. However, I am wary of the accuracy of information provided. For example, in Ontario, Algoma University is still listed as Algoma University College more than a year after receiving their independent university charter. Shingwauk University, a First Nations-run university on the Algoma campus in Sault Ste Marie, isn’t even mentioned. One of the two links for Laurentian University (there should be several more including our new school of education, which includes a smudge room on site) is to something listed as “Native Style”, but takes you to a web-page describing my colleague Dr Hoi F. Cheu’s research in Bibliotherapy. While Bibliotherapy is fascinating, and I consider Dr Cheu a friend, it really doesn’t have much to do with the Indigenous experience on our campus.

I also wonder about the purpose and effect of such a website. While there may be positive aspects to being able to find institutions that publicize an integration, or at least an acceptance, of Aboriginal culture, the web-site also gives the impression that these are the only options for Aboriginal students. This implication is reinforced by the following statement and links:

For more information on programs and services available to all Canadians, please visit the following Web sites: Services for Canadians – Jobs, Workers, Training and Careers and Youth.

This section, like most of the Portal, includes a short “Did you know?” fact, sharing bits of trivia about Aboriginal culture and presence in Canada. On the Colleges and Universities pages today, you can find the following tidbit:

Did you know?

The critically acclaimed 2002 feature film “Atanarjuat: the Fast Runner” has all dialogue in the Inuktitut language and was written, filmed, produced, directed, and acted almost entirely by Inuit of Igloolik.

[ More ]

November 27, 2009   No Comments

Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable (DGM Module 3-5)

The Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable took place in April 2004, with a follow-up session in November 2004 and a policy retreat in May 2005. Of particular interest are the Facilitators’ Reports from the November 2004 meetings, with links to summaries of flip charts from the break-out groups, profiles of status and non-status North American Indians in Canada and a variety of background papers on such stakeholders as the Government of Canada and the Assembly of First Nations.

One of the areas addressed in the Lifelong Learning – Inuit breakout groups is the issue of improving access to Post Secondary Education. Specific recommendations included “Flexibility of program delivery” via broadband, language of instruction, modular delivery, distance education delivery in communities, continue to support learning (by) disabled students, and co-op work experience.

November 24, 2009   No Comments

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

The Photography of Richard Throssel (DGM Module 3-3)

Whereas Edward Curtis was a White man photographing Indians, Richard Throssel was a Crow Indian, hired by the Indian Service (of the US Gov’t) from 1909 to 1911 to depict everyday life on the Crow Reserve. While Throssel’s photographs are also coloured by the late-Romantic notion of the “noble Indian”, his insider’s perspective led to many photographs that depict a somewhat truer reality: Indians who weren’t living in an idealized past, but as contemporary to the rest of America at the beginning of the twentieth century.

On the page linked above, Valerie Daniels has posted a representative selection of photographs from Throssel’s employment by the Indian Service and his later private venture, Throssel Photocraft Co., along with a brief biography. A number of these photos, such as Showing the Better Class of Indian Home (1910) and Interior of the Best Kitchen on the Crow Reservation (1910) had been produced for use in educational pamphlets on “Indian Health”.

November 8, 2009   No Comments

Edward S. Curtis Gallery (DGM Module 3-2)

I came across the name Edward Sheriff Curtis while reading Thomas King’s 2003 Massey Lectures, The Truth About Stories. Curtis travelled throughout North America in the early twentieth century, photographing “Indians”. According to King, Curtis took over 40,000 photos, of which over 20,000 were published. The gallery linked above shows thumbnails of a small portion of these photos, along with links to Curtis’ biography and some of his writings.

What is particularly interesting about these photos, again according to King, is the way Curtis constructed an image of the “Indian”, carrying “Indian” clothing, wigs and and other cultural paraphernalia to lend to those who didn’t look quite Indian enough to match the late-Romantic image of the noble Indian, even paying some to shave off western-looking facial hair.

November 8, 2009   No Comments

Our World (DGM Module 3-1)
(Link found on the Educational Resources page of the National Film Board website:

The National Film Board of Canada has entered into partnerships with four First Nations communities to “give young First Nations people in remote BC/Yukon communities a chance to create web stories to tell the world about themselves, their home and their community.”

The Project Vision: “Our World is based on the concept of giving voice and inviting others to hear. The project aims to leave something behind that benefits both the individual and the community. By facilitating active communication and reception, we encourage positive social engagement. It is also about exposing young people to potential future career options by learning how to express themselves creatively with modern, digital media.”

The four current projects are:

  1. Nuxalk Nation – Bella Coola, BC
  2. Teslin Tlingit Council – Teslin, Yukon
  3. DOXA – Connexions, BC
  4. GWES – Hazelton, BC

Each community has a great collection of digital stories (films, stories+audio) – all viewed so far have been narrated in a first language, with English subtitles.


November 3, 2009   No Comments

CSS Podcasts: First Nations Defense Assignment (DGM Module 2-5)

Calgary Science School teacher, Neil Stephenson, has posted this blog entry, describing a social studies assignment he has used with his Grade 7 students. Embedded in the blog are YouTube videos of an explanation of the assignment and a student’s final product, and PDFs of the assignment resources that Stephenson used. It is important to keep in mind that this is primarily a history lesson, but one through which the teacher is attempting to develop empathy on the part of his students for First Nations peoples subjected to colonialism and Eurocentrism. The danger with this type of activity is that students may end up with a romanticized and out-dated image of First Nations peoples. This is somewhat evident in the embedded student video. I wonder if a good companion assignment would be to talk with First Nations elders, to explore what they would say now in a similar situation.


October 21, 2009   1 Comment

Anglican Indigenous Network (DGM Module 2-4)

Created in 1991, the Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) is an international network in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The aims of the AIN are:

Our Aims:

  • We are indigenous minority peoples living in our own lands.
  • We are committed to the Anglican tradition while affirming our traditional spirituality.
  • We have discovered that we have many things in common: a common spirituality, common concerns, common gifts, common hopes.
  • We believe that God is leading the Church to a turning point in its history and that the full partnership of indigenous peoples is essential. Therefore we pledge to work together to exercise our leadership in contributing our vision and gifts to transform the life of the Christian community.

This website provides a history of the AIN and links to other resources. It is not exclusively Indigenous, but is an expression of the struggle for Indigenous identity within the Anglican Communion. This struggle has led, recently, to the appointment of a national Indigenous Bishop whose role it is to provide episcopal ministry to First Nations Anglicans in Canada.

One of the more intriguing links on this site is the “Stories of the Night Sky” Project for First Nation, Metis and Inuit Youth aged 16 to 19 news item. A portion of the description of this project follows:

In recognition of the UNESCO International Year of Astronomy 2009, The National Association of Friendship Centres will work toward developing a website to showcase First Nation, Métis and Inuit “Stories of the Night Sky” from across Canada. Fourteen young people will be chosen to participate in this project, one from each province and territory. Status or Non-status First Nation, Métis, or Inuit are all invited to apply. Each participant will have online media training to develop their interviewing and camera skills; we don’t put you out there alone, there will always be someone available to you for guidance.

The perks: you get to keep the camera, there is a small stipend when your part of the project is completed, and your work will be on a web site dedicated to “Aboriginal Stories of the Night Sky” that will play a part in the preservation of Aboriginal languages, traditional knowledge and culture.


October 20, 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

Tonto and Tonto Speak (DGM Module 2-2)

This master’s thesis, submitted to Montana State University by Heather Miller in 2006, outlines the development of a Native American film theory. Inspired by Native American literary theory and relying on Creation Stories, Miller’s film theory attempts to address the issue of Native American identity in film.

For Miller, the four main components of her film theory are:

  1. Community and Cultural Applications;
  2. American Indian Thought;
  3. Indian Semiotics; and
  4. History and Politics

Although not technically a web-site, this thesis does contribute significantly to our understanding both of Native American film and of the ways in which Native American film is produced differently from non-Native American film.


October 14, 2009   No Comments

Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve – Community Portal (DGM Module 2-1)

This is the website for a First Nations community located at the eastern end of Manitoulin Island in northeastern Ontario. “Wiky”, as it is affectionately known, is not too far from Sudbury and I have several good friends with strong connections to the community. I was interested to see the “primitivism” described by Prins (2002) evident on the homepage: visuals include a dancing youth fully-dressed for a powwow, braided sweet-grass and a logo consisting of the traditional medicine wheel with human, deer, bear and bird footprints, and four dangling feathers.

As a “community portal”, this site (dated 2005) provides links to:

The links to the Development Commission and the Family Centre are in direct service to Wiky members. The Rainbow Ridge Golf Course appears to be an income generator for the community by attracting golfers from the wider region. The Heritage Organization’s main purpose appears to be promotion of heritage events such as the upcoming 50th annual Cultural Festival, both serving the Wiky membership and encouraging education and participatory cultural activities for natives and non-natives alike.


September 29, 2009   No Comments

Centre for Sámi Studies (DGM Module 1-5)

This website wasn’t quite what I expected, but it is still of interest as an artefact of cultural identity. The Centre exists as a research unit within the University of Tromsø, Norway. As such, the website presentation is suitably dry and academic. In the description of the campus, I found the Sámi Cultural House to be strikingly similar to the way Laurentian University’s new Native Centre has been planned, incorporating natural building materials, natural surroundings and traditional structures (turf hut : teepee). Culturally, this centre seems to be on the outside looking in, as far as I can tell without learning to read Norwegian. Even with studies on Indigenous Policy, Rights and Development, Sámi language courses and cultural events, the centre’s activities appear to be more of a portal between Sámi and Nordic cultures than a participatory player in Sámi culture.

Resources linked from this site include:

Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples
for researchers, development workers, administrators and activists.
Read more …

Survey of Sami and Indigenous


The Indigenous University

Studies and Related Activities

Research and Reports

Strategic Planning

September 24, 2009   No Comments

The Grand Council of the Crees (DGM Module 1-4)

This website serves as a central online location for all information having to do with the Cree peoples of Quebec and Ontario. As such, it has the potential to be a personal learning tool for both Cree and outsiders. While not overly interactive, the site does its best to present information about Cree traditions, history, spirituality, etc. through the use of photographs, some video, and short narratives. Culture is a thing to be preserved here, but not as a historical artefact. The short narratives concerning Cree traditions all show how those traditions, such as a strong connection to ‘the bush’, are being lived and are vital to the Cree identity.

Amongst the many links and resources available on the site are the following educational links:

Cree/ Aboriginal Education and Culture

This last link, to the University of Tromsø, is quite intriguing – I’m curious to discover what similarities there may be between the Cree and Sámi peoples.


September 23, 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