First Nations Success Stories (M4-3)

On the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada website they have a very interesting section devoted to Aboriginal Communities in Canada that are considered success stories.  Here are the communities they have listed:

Each success story contains a case study on the community and most share a video.  Again this is an excellent resource for gaining some insight into Native communities and more importantly successes within these communities.

In my research on First Nations in education I encountered many figures and facts that paint a pretty bleak picture for many Aboriginal youth and communities in Canada but this resource focuses on some of the great strides and pioneering efforts some of these communities are leading.

On of the success stories that really stuck out was the one focused on Eel Lake.  This community has been focused on blending new technology with traditional cultural teachings.  The group has been using technological aids such as smart-boards, videoconferencing and the internet, the Eel Ground First Nation is gaining recognition as one of the most technologically advanced in Canada. Since it first opened its doors the Eel Ground First Nation School has seen attendance triple with their groundbreaking approach to learning.

Hit this link for more information on this project and a video of the community at work.

November 30, 2009   No Comments

Module 4 Entry #4

Linking Oral Tradition with Science

An interesting website brought to my attention by a colleague when I mentioned what I was working on for my analytical paper. He actually stumbled on it while cruising the OceanLine site itself. We are always looking for material that includes a First Nations perspective. We share all math and science material that we encounter at our monthly meetings. Not all of it is appropriate or accurate but we strive to uncover as much quality material as we can collectively.

 It was definitely an interesting read and the links to OceanLink andthe Things to Consider were excellent. Things to Consider will be on the agenda for the next math/science meeting. TEK is discussed at length.

November 28, 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

Module 4 Weblog 3 – Homemade

This website is a government controlled site and it is worth checking out. In contrast to the United Nations website, there are some problems with the layout of the pages of the official home page in Spanish. There is so much information that it is very hard to navigate, even my children told me that it was just too confusing to be useful. The search option only checks out government pages and again I found it difficult to use. It is obvious that someone has tried to find lots of important health related, cultural and educational links, but for example some of the links are broken and others disappeared. I next tried the simplified homepage and I must admit it was a lot easier. There was less information, but I think that most people would find it more manageable. The Indigenous homepage also appeared to have les information than the official page, obviously I couldn’t check the content. The English and French homepages seem geared more to tourists, although if you click on the health news the information is in Spanish..

Official homepage:

Simplified homepage:

 Indigenous homepage:

 English homepage:

November 21, 2009   No Comments

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 Weblog#4 by Dilip Verma


Indigenous Languages and Technology

Web site:

The ILAT site is an open forum Listserv, something that I had read about, but never seen. The site is run by the University of Arizona, and is visually simple with no frills, unlike other webpages. It is similar to the forums we use on Blackboard.

It is a list of messages archived by month on topics related to Indigenous Languages and Technology. It is up to date as there are 23 threads for November 2009 alone. It is a useful site because it allows you to search the archive by keyword. This means you can find out what people in the field have said about any topic. I did a search on the Listserv for the word Wiki and got 27 matches, the most recent being from January 2009. This post took to me to a site ( where you can download Drupal, a free online program that allows for the creation of an online dictionary that can include audio, and video. The post suggests that the dictionary can be set up in a Wiki style so that users could add words.

I did another search on the word “Zapotec” and found that a researcher brought students down to Oaxaca each year to work on a Zapotec dictionary in a village not far from my house.

A real mine of information

November 8, 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

Module 3 Entry #3

The March Point Video reminded me of a CBC documentary I watched some time ago about the Arctic Bay Video Club and the Youtube hit Don’t Call Me Eskimo  There are a great deal of similarities between the two projects. The link I have provided here is not only the video but part one of the CBC documentary that aired back in 2007. It brings to light some of the issues faced by aboriginl youth in the north and highlights the success of the Arctic Bay Video Club. I liked this project because it deals with Canadian youth.

October 28, 2009   No Comments

Module 3 Entry #2

What I Learned In Class Today

This is a website based on a project developed by the First Nations Studies Program at UBC. I found this site fascinating. Students, instructors and adminstrators (Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) at UBC were interviewed about their most memorable classroom experience.

The 20 minute video is well done and speaks to many of the issues Aboriginal students face in the classsroom. For some reason I was expecting the memories to be more childhood related. This was a very interesting perspective. 

Along with the video the site includes discussion topics, workshop resources as well as background information on the project. An excellent resource for educators.

October 28, 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

M2 – WS 2

United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization

This is another massive web site with an incredible amount of information available.  Their main goal is “to build peace in the minds of men” and they are “working to create the conditions for genuine dialogue based upon respect for shared values and the dignity of each civilization and culture.” The site is divided into five main themes:


-Natural Sciences

-Social & Health Sciences


-Communication and Information

Within each of these main themes, there are sub-themes.  For example, the Culture page lists:

-Cultural Diversity

-World Heritage

-Intangible Heritage



-Normative Action


In addition to these sub-themes, there are several featured articles and videos a section of services such as publications, statistics, databases, cultural journals, etc. and a list of communities which are links to other organizations divided into four categories including public and private sectors, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors for Culture, etc.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

M2 – WS 1

The World Bank

Despite some ethical issues I have with this organization, their web site has a wealth of useful information.  After selecting a country (I am researching Nepal), you are presented with a variety of information such as:

-Country Overview

-News and Events

-Data & Statistics

-Publications & Reports

-Projects & Programs

-Public Information Center


If that wasn’t enough, they list much more information by three main areas.  The first is Topic, which includes: Education, Social Protection, Decentralization, Governance, etc. In the Most Popular area, there is a video called Nepal’s Journey, Doing Business With Us, FAQs, etc.  Then there are Resources For: Businesses, Media, NGOs and Researchers, which include:



-Information Centers

-Country Data

-Global Databases


October 19, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Entry #1

Media Awareness Network

 This is the site of a non profit organization dedicated to promoting digital and media literacy through education and awareness programs. Their goal is to have both adults and young people understand how media works. The site has information and resources for teachers as well as parents. There are over 200 lessons available for free for educators.

Specific issues covered at this site include:

Media Violence

Media Stereotyping 

Online Hate

Media and Canadian Cultural Policies

Of particular interest is the ongoing, longitudinal study started in 2000 which is tracking and investigating the behaviors, attitudes and opinions of Canadian youth with respect to their use of the

I just noticed that Al has also used this site. It obviously has much to offer and warrants some viewing by others in the class.

October 15, 2009   No Comments

Module 2 Weblog #4 (A. Davidson)

Vanishing Voices

Description and Relevancy

This is a link to the digital version of the Calgary Herald which is currently featuring a 3 part series on the struggle to protect vanishing and extinct First Nations languages in Southern Alberta.  I thought it quite timely for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the first article examines the perspective of technology and language for these endangered languages at several points. Secondly considering the Robert Harding article in our current module, that examines constructed stereotypes of Aboriginal people in newsprint media, I examined the article closely to detect any of the stereotypes that Harding and previous studies identified.


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 (Will Update)

October 11, 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

M1-WS 2: Center for World Indigenous Studies

The first three lines on the website read:

  • Access to indigenous peoples knowledge and ideas
  • Conflict resolution based on mutual consent
  • Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples

The site was established in 1994 and is the non-profit research and education organization’s online presence.  The organization offers education programs as well as internships and fellowships through their Fourth World Institute. Their web site offers access to multiple sources of information about indigenous issues such as online Fourth World Journal, the Fourth World Eye blog (eZine), a Forum for Global Exchange, the Chief George Manuel virtual library, a media center with video and audio media, photo galleries, etc.  The site has a much more modest collection of external links.  As this is an .org web site, donations are solicited.

September 28, 2009   No Comments

The Circle Unfolds Review (M1-1)

In researching aboriginal science and technology education I have found a variety of resources that have been very enlightening.  One of the most interesting is a book that assembles a number of research articles and reflections on the subject of First Nations education in Canada

The Circle Unfolds takes a critical look at First Nations education form a science and technology perspective.  It provides an accurate history of Aboriginal education in Canada and reflects on how best to restructure and transform Aboriginal education in terms of learning processes and teaching.

Some of the articles deal with specific issues related to some of the research proposals we have written such as “Non-Native Teachers Teaching in Native Communities” by Taylor “A Major Challenge for the Education System: Aboriginal Retention and Dropout” by Mackay and Myles and “Redefining Science education for Aboriginal Students” by MacIvor.

The collection is both broad and deep providing a great overview of many of the challanges First Nations Education has had in the past and explores how it might change in the future.

Most of the book is freely available through Google Books so I suggest checking out the contents to see if there is anything useful for your own research.

September 26, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 Entry #4

First Nations University of Canada

First Nations University of Canada (2003)  was formerly known as the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College which was founded in 1976. The university boasts programs which are designed to specifically address the needs of Aboriginal communities. Programs at the university include: Indian Communication Arts, School of Indian Social Work, Indian Fine Arts, Intercultural Leadership Program, Department of Indigenous Education, a multitude of programs related to the health sciences and many more.

The FNUC allows students of all nations to learn in an environment of First Nations cultures and values.Their mission statement ” To enhance the quality of life, and to preserve, protect and interpret the history, language, culture and artistic heritage of First Nations.”   


First Nations Veterans Memorial

September 21, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 Weblog Entry # 1

American Indian Science and Engineering Society.  

Founded 30 years ago to address the problem of underrepresentation of the American Indian in the fields of science and engineering. They offer financial, academic and cultural support to American Indians interested in pursuing careers in science and engineering.

The site offers links to programs, scholarships and  career opportunities. The AIESES membership includes students from high school through post graduate work. The site also includes a link to Member of the Month which I believe would serve as an effective source of positive role modelling and mentoring.

The AISES celebrates the accomplishments of the past 30 years and looks to the future. Now, more than ever, as we deal with issues of climate change, AISES believes that the global community stands to benefit from Native scientists and their traditional knowledge.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 – Weblog Entry #2 – Bruce Spencer

National Standards

Unlike many nations, Canada doesn’t have a national strategy for education. That’s because the federal government doesn’t have any jurisdiction over education; it handed those rights over to the provinces as part of the terms of Canadian Confederation. Hence, educational standards are set by the individual provinces/territories. As educators, many of us are probably already familiar with the various curriculum requirements for the province/territory where we live and work.

In recent years, some attempts have been made by various provincial/territorial governments to streamline certain core curriculums from across several geographic regions into one common protocol. This is probably as close as we’ll ever come to creating national standards.

 The Western and Northern Canadian Protocol Aboriginal Languages Project is one example of how cooperation between different provinces/territories can lead to the development of a common curriculum for all.

 Click here to download a pdf copy of the WNCP Framework

 Click here for an interactive map that will link you with Aboriginal Languages and Cultures Websites from across Western Canada.

 Visit the CMEC (Council of Ministers of Education Canada) for the latest developments about the status of education across Canada and from around the world.

 The Government of Canada’s Aboriginal Canada Portal website has a variety of information related to Aboriginal Language, Heritage and Culture. The webpage has a Topics Menu with plenty of topics and links to other interesting websites.

September 20, 2009   No Comments