A Single Story – TED.com – mod4 post 3

Watch this video
Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story
Chimamanda Adichie speaks of her personal search for her culture. She points to how media defines a culture with a single story… a single story that narrowly defines cultures. For Chimamanda, a single story does not define a culture. She warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
Aboriginals also need to tell their stories. They need to find global voices so they don’t become one story… the story the media creates.

If you haven’t experienced TED.com then you really must visit. It several videos with diverse topics presented by our leaders/innovators.

Learn more about TED.com

November 23, 2009   No Comments

The Black Book

bbd_vert_logo The quote on the home page of the The Black Book site reads, “It’s taken sixty thousand years, but finally the portal to Indigenous media and the arts in Australia is here.”    This is one of many sites that features Indigenous communities in Australia using the Internet and multimedia to share their traditions, stories, and arts to inform local communities and the broader global audience.   The Black Book has two main sections: the directory and the library.  The Directory includes over 2700 listings of  Indigenous organizations that work in the arts, media and cultural areas.  The library contains over 2000 pieces of artistic work including work from the 1890s to now. The work is categorized into publications, music, screen productions, documentaries, plays, features, and albums sections. The site also serves as an up to date information portal about events in the country, jobs and training, and leading Indigenous artists.  The Black Book site was inspired by the The Brown Pages, a similar site created by the Maori community.

The Inspiration page on the site links viewers to the following “trailblazers”

Oodgeroo Noonuccal
Bob Maza
Russel Page
Emily Kame Kngwarreye
Michael Riley
Kevin Smith
Pauline McLeod

The Black Book logo [Online Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 18, 2009, from The Black Book website. http://www.blackbook.afc.gov.au/default.asp

November 21, 2009   No Comments

Module 3, Post 3

Indigenous Cultures of Peru


Apulaya describes itself as the “Center for Andean Culture” and offers courses in music, art, workshops in Andean anthropology, and cultural vacation opportunities. This is a commercial venture aimed at a tourist audience and focuses on different aspects of Andean culture including religion, craft, people, places, and art. An interesting offering is the opportunity to create your own mini-documentary that will contribute to another documentary they title the “Tourist’s Myth and Reality.”(http://www.apulaya.com/en/camera-action-in-an-indigenous-community.php)

With a short session on Andean philosophy and a session on film making I am quite curious to see the results of this kind of “venture.” Will these tourists coming into a single community with limited understanding of anthropology or ethics with regards to anthropological studies benefit or hinder the community? This seems to me to be obviously more of a commercial than a cultural venture and I wounder whether this could possibly serve to further colonize an Indigenous people or does it offer another “space of resistance and hope” as Smith would suggest. I guess we will have to wait and watch for the documentary.

Smith, Linda, Introduction to Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, London: Zed Books Ltd, 1-18

November 1, 2009   No Comments

Module 3, Post 2

Indigenous Media Institute (IMI)


I was curious about schools or programs specifically focusing on developing media programs for Aboriginal/Indigenous youth. I found this recent program (earliest intake of students was July 2009 and currently accepting for January 2010). It is a six month program designed to get students into an entry level graphic design position. Is is currently listed as a private post secondary but at the moment is not accepting tuition, only students paid for by the Province of Alberta or the Government of Canada.

They are located in Edmonton, Alberta and has been created with a curriculum partnership with GURU Digital Arts College and currently offers their curriculum as a starting point and is working on expanding their own curriculum. Our school district has found great success in partnerships in trades and technology with local colleges and this may be another area to look at. Northern Lights College had spoken about a media dual credit opportunity but was delayed due to some reorganization. Perhaps a renewed focus on an Indigenous media program may help restart the discussion!

November 1, 2009   No Comments

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

Media Stereotyping: Common Portrayals of Aboriginal People (M2, #4)


This site, created by the Media Awareness Network, focuses on how Aboriginal people have been misrepresented in the media for over a century. It then goes on to explain how, in the 1980s and 1990s, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) made an effort to improve the portrayals of Aboriginal people in its television dramas such as The Beachcombers and North of 60.

Common stereotyping traps include:

  • Romanticization (indian princess, native warrior, noble savage)
  • Historical Inaccuracies
  • Stereotyping by Omission
  • Simplistic Characterization

I was especially interested in learning more about “stereotyping by omission”, as I hadn’t really considered to what extent this has/does occur. The statement that Aboriginals are “the only population to be portrayed far more often in historical context than as contemporary people” is quite disconcerting. In Canada, the National Film Board tried to counter this cultural amnesia by producing a  four-part drama series entitled Daughters of the Country (1986) — created to “re-open the history books” and document the evolution of the Métis people through the lives of four strong women.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Media Awareness Network (M2-5)


The Media Awareness Network (MNet), is a Canadian-based non-profit organization that promotes critical media literacy education and digital literacy.  This website is likely one of the most comprehensive collections of media and digital literacy resources on the web, and is a “must see” for any K-12 teacher.  Because MNet is a Canadian organization, a quick search within the parameters of province, grade level and subject area will yield lesson plans and other resources which are custom made for Canadian K-12 education.  The MNet database is so vast that it is often best to do a keyword search in order to find something suitable for the topic that you want to work with.

A basic search using “aboriginal” as the key word yields several useful, current and engaging resources.  Lesson plans and resource suggestions for all grade levels and a variety of subject areas are present, many of which deal with the issue of stereotypical representation of aboriginal culture in the media and racism.  In addition, there are also some lessons that deal with aboriginal history in the arts media.  These lesson plans are highly engaging, categorized in age-appropriate groupings, and relate directly to many provincial learning outcomes Canada-wide. The following is a selection of available aboriginal media resources available from MNet:

Media Portrayals of Aboriginal People—Introduction

Native Names and Imagery in Sports

Aboriginal People in the News

The Development of Aboriginal Broadcasting in Canada

These lessons are a great way to share a bit about aboriginal culture in a classroom setting, and are sure to spark some great discussions!

October 19, 2009   No Comments

First Perspective: National Aboriginal News (M2-3)


First Perspective is a website devoted to Canada-wide aboriginal news issues.  In addition to a listing of recent headlines affecting Aboriginal Canadians and Aboriginal issues world-wide, the site also offers a listing of news releases, employment opportunities, Aboriginal event listings, and links to regular Aboriginal journalistic columns such as Under the Northern Sky.  Several advertisements also are present on the page, all related to Aboriginal events and issues.

One ad that caught my eye was a small one in the corner of the main page.  There is a First Nations art image in black and red with a caption that reads, “Learn More about B.C. Hydro Careers”.  Clicking on the image takes you to a pdf full page ad, targeting prospective aboriginal employees.

I could not get a sense of how well-used this resource is, but it appears to be updated regularly and the news feed is current.  This could be a great site to introduce students to, especially at the secondary level.  First Perspective is a great example of the use of internet technology to connect aboriginal people in Canada.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Indigenous Perspectives on Globalization: Self-Determination Through Autonomous Media Creation (M2, #3)


This is a thought-provoking article examining, among other issues, how Indigenous cultures have been resisting the forces of globalization while also asserting their autonomy and right to self-determination for over five centuries.

The article goes on to discuss how it’s important for Indigenous peoples to be in control of media representations of themselves so that dominant stereotypes about their communities are no longer perpetuated. Needless, to say this is a challenge for any culture outside the mainstream, Indigenous or otherwise.

Despite many challenges, the range and creativity of Indigenous media production in Canada and around the world is now quite substantial. With large, successful Indigenous-led film festivals, such as The ImagineNATIVE Aboriginal Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto firmly established, it’s anticipated that this positive momentum will continue.

October 19, 2009   No Comments

Center for Media Literacy


The Center for Media Literacy is dedicating to promoting media literacy education as a framework for incorporating the following skills into media studies:  accessing, analyzing, evaluating, creating and participating with media content.

Critical Viewing and Critical Thinking Skills article found on this site is applicable to Indigenous media.

As Indigenous people use media more and more to revitalize and document their history and culture, it is important that when viewing these media products that are about or are produced by Indigenous  people, that they are viewed with a critical eye.   “Critical Viewing and Critical Thinking Skills” written by David Considine’s, is posted on the Center for Media Literacy site.  Considine states that deconstructing media representations means that one has to let go of “seeing is believing” or “what you see is what you get”.   He also stressed the need to understand what we see. In his article, he outlines 5 elements for reading media which can help people view media products  more critically.

Other links on this website that are of interest:

What is Critical Viewing?

Where Media Literacy Fits in the World of Education

Teaching Media Literacy: Yo! Are you Hip to This?

Center for Media logo [Online Image]. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2009, from CML website. http://www.medialit.org/default.html

October 12, 2009   1 Comment

Media and Digital Tech Empowering Indigenous Survival (M1, #4)


I really like how this website contains numerous hyperlinks, making it easy to learn about several projects that use technology to empower the cultural survival of Indigenous people.

It is inspiring to see that technology is being used to fulfill the needs of individual Indigenous people and/or groups, rather than pushing for assimilation to a “mainstream” model of technology.

This article increased my awareness of initiatives that are being undertaken to ensure that Indigenous people benefit from the use of various technologies and media.

September 28, 2009   No Comments