First Nations Identity Course (M3-2)

I have been spending some time researching different materials that are aimed at bringing Aboriginal knowledge and history into the classroom.

There are a lot of resources out there and I becoming surprised by the number of them that are developed by educators who are attempting to reach their Aboriginal students through relevant content or promote cross-cultural understanding among their students.

This site is simply a blog article which provides links to a complete First Nations Identities Course.  An overview of this course can be found here.  Feel free to browse these great resources which are all in printable pdf form.

There is a lot of material here and would be very useful for any teacher looking for quality Aboriginal Identity focused materials for the classroom.

November 9, 2009   No Comments

Module 3 Entry #1

This website is the work of a group of people who believe deeply that indigenous peoples have the right to be indigenous people – on their own lands, on their own terms. Members include preeminent indigenous leaders, anthropologists, philanthropists, entrepeneurs and the team is currently led by a human rights lawyer.

The homepage includes powerful images and statistics. There are links to important news items and a sign up for the email newsletter. Other links include publications, programs and what you can do.

This site would be very helpful for any one looking for information around language and cultural  preservation.

October 16, 2009   No Comments

Mohawk Language – mod 2 post 1

As an alum of UWO, I often visit the Western NEws to see what is up. I cam e across this article that I know some of my classmates would use Online course preserves Mohawk language

David Kanatawakhon-Maracle, part of in the Department of Anthropology, teaches an online distance studies course called Introduction to the Mohawk Language. He uses MP3 recordings, combined with html to workbooks enabling students to click on the word and hear the pronunciation.

David believes “If you change a language, you change a culture and if you lose a language, you lose a culture,”

October 15, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Weblog #3 (A.Davidson)

Judgement at Stoney Creek (Google Books preview)

Stoney Creek Woman: The Story of Mary John (Google Books preview)

Relevance & Description

I moved to my hometown of Vanderhoof in the summer of 1977 just as the criminal case that this first book, Judgement at Stoney Creek,  was shedding a national spotlight on the town and exposing the brutal racism that was a reality there. As an 8 year old I was unaware of all of the criminal proceedings and ‘news’ and only discovered this issue when I read the book in University, in the early 1990’s,  far from my hometown. Of course I recognized the stereotypes and racism that were at the heart of this chronicling as I had observed and lived with them in the intervening years.

The second book, Stoney Creek Woman: The Story of Mary John, tells the story of a powerful community advocate who was integral in preserving her communities language, traditions, and serving as a role model for many. I remember Mary working in my elementary school and sharing her culture with all of us following the tragedy recalled in the first book mentioned here.

I include these here because, although there are still many issues facing the people of Sail’uz First Nation (formerly Stoney Creek), there has been much positive change in the past 30 years. Technology is one way that they like others First Nations groups are engaging in cultural preservation. As well, these stories expose a different stereotyped image of First Nations than the ‘primitivist perplex’ Prins speaks of that is present in media worlds. I think technology and media can help to move past these damaging stereotypes.

September 28, 2009   No Comments

The First Peoples’ Language Map of British Columbia (M1-2)

First created in 2005 with the support of the British Columbia Ministry of Education, the First Peoples’ Language Map of B.C. is a project that has organized and categorized the indigenous languages of British Columbia by name(s), location and language family—both in a list and interactive map format.  In addition to the aforementioned language resources, there is a listing of First Nations in B.C., as well as a listing of “Community Champions” from various communities in B.C.: champion artists and language activists.

Perhaps the most informative section of the site, particularly to those who have little knowledge of the linguistic diversity in B.C., is the interactive map on the main page.  Viewers are able to examine contemporary as well as “sleeping” languages, and can customize the map view to suit their needs and interests.  The inclusion of sleeping languages demonstrates the urgency of the issue of language revitalization in B.C., and will inform both indigenous and non-indigenous viewers of the diversity and jeopardy faced by B.C. First Nations.

September 27, 2009   No Comments

First Voices: Language Archives Celebrating World Indigenous Cultures (M1-1)


The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation, with the support of government agencies such as the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the British Columbia Ministry of Aboriginal Relations, as well as other partners, has created a set of online tools to assist indigenous people with indigenous language instruction, exploration and cultural revitalization.

Writing systems, images, sounds, videos, and games are embedded on the site, and many are accessible by the general public (some language resources are password protected so as to respect the customs of those particular communities).  In addition to an interactive map and listing of many indigenous languages in Canada, the website also provides a section specifically for children at , where many languages can be explored by clicking on pictures for sounds, videos and writing.

This site is an attempt to use digital technology to connect people with their language, and by extension, their culture.  In addition to focusing on indigenous community members and their efforts in language documentation and revitalization, in many instances, this site also provides the opportunity for non-community members to explore indigenous languages and to learn more about the diversity of indigenous languages in Canada.

September 27, 2009   No Comments

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 #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 #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 2: weblog 4 (Chantal Drolet)

Aboriginal Education Curriculum: Saskatchewan

  • Elementary Level / Middle Level / Secondary Level
    • Aboriginal Languages
    • Languages Arts for Aboriginal and Métis students: adapting the elementary curriculum  

Resources available:

Links to other sites:

Usefulness for research on Indigenous knowledge, media, and community reality:

The major goals of this curriculum are:

  • to promote student participation in varied learning situations and activities that will assist them in acquiring listening, speaking, reading and writing skills in an Indian or Michif language;
  • to develop an understanding and an appreciation of Indian and Métis cultures through language;
  • to develop students’ listening skills which will assist them in the learning of an Indian language in various social contexts and situations;
  • to encourage enjoyment of learning to converse and to write in an Indian or Michif language;
  • to cultivate positive personal and social growth through use of an Indian or Michif language.
  • to encourage students to continue to acquire fluency through independent study with Elders and other fluent speakers.


September 19, 2009   No Comments