Aboriginal Digital Stories for Non-Aboriginals

When I first read some of the suggested project topics, I thought my last choice would be residential schools. The topic appears to have reached saturation in the popular media. What could I say or do that has not already been said or done? I’ve since read some newspaper articles that have caused me to reconsider.  It became apparent to me that I was familiar with the topic (on the surface), but knew nothing of the devastating effects. I’m likely not alone. It seems that technology avails the opportunity through digital storytelling to help others like me gain a better understanding of how much this epoch altered the lives and traditions of so many people.

Spanish (ON) Residential School (Image Source:http://4.bp.blogspot.com/DSC00731a.jpg)

McLaughlan and Oliver (2000), identified two type of stories: those to be told within the culture and those to be told outside the culture. Since I’m not aboriginal, I can never expect to tell or comprehend a story as they might. What I can do is broaden my understanding and hope to share some perspectives with others like me (I assume there are lots of us). In addition, I might also be able to enhance my teaching abilities to be more inclusive and thoughtful of other cultures.

What I will look for in my project are opportunities, using digital media, to tell important stories about residential schooling to non-aboriginals by emphasizing  metaphors, imagery, values, and concepts that are not too foreign to us. Perhaps then we can come to terms ourselves with the plight and predicament of those who endured so much loss.

My inquiry will be focused on First Nations communities living on Manitoulin Island and the North Shore of Lake Huron.


McLoughan, c. & Oliver, R. (2000). Designing learning environments for cultural exclusivity. Australian Journal of Educational Technology, 16(1), 58-72.

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