Author Archives: lisamallen

First Nations University of Canada

The First Nations University of Canada has three campuses un central Canada. They were “established in 1976 as the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College (SIFC) through a federated partnership with the University of Regina. The University offers Post-secondary education in a culturally supportive First Nations environment”

Link to the University’s website:

“Native Children in Care Surpass Residential School Era”

This article, published yesterday on, titled, “Native Children in Care Surpass Residential School Era” discusses the long term effects the residential schools have had on Native communities and the Canadian Child Welfare Program. The article mentions what we have all been discussing in the online vista boards, that the residential schools have severely damaged first nations communities – not just the people who were victims of the schools.

What’s interesting is that the article states that the residential school period was 1940 -50. Which is not entirely true – the last residential school closed down in 1996 (according to wikipedia)!

What is Canadian Culture?

So what is Canadian Culture?

This article/ interview from the Globe and Mail, titled, “Canadian Culture: A category?” sums it up nicely:

“So that’s Canadian culture; it doesn’t exist, it’s regional, and it’s multicultural or any combination of the three. In many ways it’s all of those things. It is a complex culture, shaped by all the cultures that form it. Maybe it’s this complexity that causes it to defy definition. Or maybe its complexity is its definition. Canadian culture means a different thing to everyone. Maybe that’s what it truly is; it’s whatever you see it to be.”

Task Force in Australian Aboriginal Communities

Aboriginal Life in Australia – Tropic of Capricorn – BBC Travel

This Youtube video is taken from a longer BBC travel video titled “Aboriginal Life in Australia – Tropic of Capricorn”.

The video discusses an army task force that is going into the Australian Aboriginal communities, banning alcohol consumption and pornography and even forcing the people in these communities to spend their resources in certain ways.

My impression is that this is the Western community imposing western ideals and values on the Australian Aboriginal communities. Is this right? What are your thoughts? Is it OK so long as it is in the name of reducing poverty?

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Last year, I took a course on intercultural communications in the workplace and found it really interesting. We did a lot of self-reflection on out cultural values in the class. One tool we used was Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions.

Summary here:

Hofstede outlines five dimensions of culture:

1.) Power / Distance

2.) Individualism

3.) Masculinity

4.) Uncertainty / Avoidance

5.) Long term orientation

I appreciate tools that help me reflect on my behaviour, and culture. Tools such as these are very helpful when it comes to self-discovery (and improving your communication your multicultural colleagues).

First Nations Technology Council

The First Nations Technology Council of BC is a comprehensive website that provides many resources and support for First Nations communities to incorporate and integrate technology into their lives.

In this course we have had many discussions about how technology can be beneficial to First Nations communities if that technology is selected, used and decided upon by the First Nations community that opts to use it.

This site is almost like a one-stop shop for everything related to Technology and First Nations. There are a series of links to blogs, a Youth Cafe and a link to the Council’s Youtube channel, among many other useful technical, historical and social resources.

This site reflects how BC First Nations communities are organizing themselves and determining where technology fits in to their respective communities.

UBC First Nations Programs

Interested in First Nations traditional learning methods and all the First Nations engagement literature I have seen here at UBC in Vancouver, I searched First Nations programs at UBC and came up with this list of programs at UBC that are “Aboriginal-specific or Aboriginal-focused”:

I find the First Nations Forestry Initiative particularly interesting since it aims to include traditional knowledge into the forestry curriculum. Additionally, the roster of faculty for this program is dominated by people of First Nations decent.

Collaboration: Working Together

I have come across a few initiatives and projects on the web through various searches and find it admirable that there are initiatives out there (many publicly funded) that are grounded in collaborative efforts between Western and First Nations methods.

For example, the Canadian Boreal Initiative’s mandate is to “support effective land use planning exercises using science and traditional ecological knowledge and participating with governments and Aboriginal people.”

Initiatives like these are critical for society as a whole. Collaboration is both effective and inclusive. Working together to solve serious issues should be performed wherever possible.

Longhouse Media – NativeLens Youtube Channel

Youtube channel “nativelens” has a series of videos posted about and by First Nation’s youth. As we have discussed on the discussion boards, it is important for First Nations youth to have a voice and use technology (in this case, Youtube) for their own purposes and on their own accord.

This Youtube channel seems to be very popular, with 257 subscribers and over 110,000 uploaded views. The Youtube channel is supported by Longhouse Media who’s mission is to “catalyze Indigenous people and communities to use media as a tool for self-expression, cultural preservation, and social change.”

“Paddlers Gathered in Tofino for Pulling Together”

A recent article published on titled, “Paddlers gathered in Tofino for Pulling Together” is strikingly similar to the recent Fraser River Journey video we watched for Module 3.

The article talks about this Pulling Together project, which is hosted by First Nations communities and is aimed at breaking down the barriers between First Nations people and the law enforcement.

The idea here is that by including police and other law enforcers on the paddling journey, both groups will have the opportunity to learn more about each other and gather more respect for the values behind First Nations culture.

These projects are so critical as they build relationships and understanding. The One Laptop Per Child initiative would benefit from more exploratory projects such as this – learning about the culture before imposing something on that community.