Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (M4, #5)

Vision: To support the inherent rights of Indigenous peoples to achieve full and complete health and wellness by collaborating in decolonizing research and knowledge building and sharing.

This is an amazing site containing detailed information on how the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) is helping Indigenous people realize self-actualization. By understanding how traumatic events of the past (including the impacts of colonization and residential schools, etc) have damaged the spirits of many Indigenous people and led to a justifiable mistrust, it quickly becomes apparent why the quest for decolonization is so imperative.

Return to Wellness – this relatively short video clip is a must view as it effectively explains the goals of the IWRI and how they are working to empower Indigenous people.

Through making the IWRI’s goal of attainment of higher education the norm for Indigenous people, the hope is this will lead to realization of what is perhaps the highest level of wellness – that which comes from being afforded the opportunity to share one’s wisdom and insights in supporting others to achieve their full potential.

November 28, 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

Building a “Canadian” Decolonization Movement (M3, #1)

Devin Burke, of the Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement (IPSM), presents his views on colonialism. He feels that Canada has been “waging a war” against Indigenous people since 1867 in working towards “assimilation and extermination”. Burke goes on to explain how “this war has often been waged by institutions, through the bureaucracy of Indian Affairs, in residential schools, through the imposition of band councils, and more recently by notorious multinational corporations and the likes of global trade regimes, such as the World Trade Organization”.

My first impression of this article being negative and biased started to change as I reached the part where Burke suggests ways that we can ally with Indigenous people by owning up and taking responsibility for our history. Further, Burke identifies himself as a non-native and states that all Canadians have been affected by colonialism and that we all must assert our autonomy in order to more towards decolonization.

Although I don’t agree with some of the points expressed by Burke, I read his article with interest and feel that it does have an important message regarding the unjust treatment of Indigenous groups.

November 9, 2009   No Comments