Category Archives: Overview

Traditional Knowledge & Intellectual Property

This link is to a new book “Traditional Knowledge & Intellectual Property – Law and Practice”, author – Johanna Gibson, published July 19, 2011.

“This is the first comprehensive and practical legal text to examine the protection of, access to, and commercialisation of traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions. The topics covered include ownership, benefit-sharing, disclosure of origin, creation of intellectual property rights, coherence and consistency with international intellectual property regimes.”

Final Connections

Since this is my last MET Course and I’m finishing 590 at the same time I am thoroughly involved in reflecting.   I thought I would revisit the blog, one last time.  This was only the second time, I’ve been involved with a blog and one of the key benefits seems to me, that there is room for exchange and discussion.  In this case that was limited.  It is, however, an excellent compilation of resources.   It certainly was a good idea to create a focus statement at the beginning to direct our internet exploration.  The sites built the foundation for my exploration into education and technology in my local district.  Even though my area is affluent and full of opportunity, connectivity limits many First Nations people from accessing many of these sites, especially those that are highly interactive.  I’ve bookmarked the sites, and those of colleagues, so that they’ll be at hand.  Since my school has good bandwidth and connectivity, it would be best to showcase the sites there and not expect students to be “digital explorers,”  at home.  Certainly the course, including the blog, discussions in Vista (which were insightful and spirited) and  the final project, has allowed me to look at First Nations issues through a different  and sharper lens.

Finding Dawn

Finding Dawn is a documentary highlights the struggles of Aboriginal women in Canada and the hardships many of these women face of a daily basis.

Reflecting on a recent Globe and Mail article “The National Shame of Aboriginal Incarceration,” and the disheartening statistic that one in three incarcerated women in Canada is of Aboriginal descent, the patterns of violence and abuse in this film are often, sadly, unsurprising. Finding Dawn is an attempt at putting a face on the (estimated) 500 Aboriginal women that have disappeared within the last 30 years (by many accounts, this estimate is far too low). This travesty has been highlighted many times over the years by many organizations, including Amnesty International,  the United Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and numerous others.

Struggles continue in the efforts to bring justice to this situation. Just a few days ago, two Aboriginal groups in British Columbia declared their boycott of the Missing Women Inquiry as inadequate resources are being offered by the government.

(Please note is an extra post, beyond the 5 required for Module 4, but seeing as it’s written it may as well be contributed)

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:

Paradigms Podcast

In a recent twitter feed, @Indigeneity, this podcast was mentioned from Paradigm.  The host of the podcast interviews Susan Davis from the Whitehorse, NWT,  discusses various policies and practices of the Canadian Government towards First Nations people.  I was fairly taken back with her examples of the recent racism incidents that have occurred towards aboriginal peoples in the last few years.   She shares examples of the Whitehorse RCMP, Vancouver PD, and the Winnipeg PD, and the tragic and terrible incidents of mistreatment of first nation people in confinement, which resulted in deaths in all three cases spoken of.  It is rather disturbing to hear that this disgusting behaviour is still occurring within our society.  These examples of the torture/mistreatment of aboriginals can’t be justified as an isolated case, it appears that it’s happening coast to coast in Canada.  How can this be occurring? Why aren’t these tragic and terrible incidents being broadcasted more nationally, is the nation afraid of the what others are going to perceive us as a nation as a whole? If individuals are dying due to the injustices of the people whom we see as the protectors and providers of all peoples regardless of race, gender, etc, than we as Canadians are doing something wrong here.  NGO’S and Amnesty International can only do so much, but what ever happened to the basic principles of treating others with respect and dignity that we as a individual should be doing?


Canadian Community Access Program

Community Access Program

In the last decade, numerous efforts have been made to improve the situation for the Aboriginal Canadians, in an attempt to bridge the digital divide. 1994 saw the inception of the Canadian Community Access Program (CAP) with early efforts primarily focused on rural communities where Internet access was less available.  CAP, in conjunction with provincial governments and local agencies, worked to bridge the gap in “public locations like schools, libraries and community centres and acted as “on-ramps” to the Information Highway, providing computer support and training” (Industry Canada, 2011).  In 2011, the Canadian Government agreed to continue supporting the efforts of CAP within local, regional, and national networks and bridge the significant technology infrastructure.  Action plans, such as CAP, provide the pertinent funding needed to keep the attempts moving in the forward to interject many of the unique challenges that Aboriginal Canadians face.

Industry Canada. (2011). Community Access Program (CAP). Ottawa: Government of

Canada. Retrieved July 18, 2011 from



Sunchild E-learning Community

Sunchild E-Learning Community

While researching possible resources for my project, I was curious to discover that there are very few (4 that I found) e-learning communities that were specifically created for students and adults within the Aboriginal communities. I was astonished that there were so few!  The following is an excerpt from my paper, focusing on the Digital Divide and Bridging the Gap.

“Bridging digital and educational divides has enabled simultaneous growth in the technological and educational skills within the Canadian Aboriginal population. Many Canadian Aboriginals reside in rural; often remote areas of the nation. Web-based educational instruction offers an opportunity for individual success by bridging the gap within the learning environment.  A Calgary Alberta based e-learning facility, Sunchild e-learning Community, is an example of an online K-12 learning program for Aboriginal Canadians.  The Sunchild e-learning community provides an educational learning experience that stresses accountability and interaction amongst its participants, whether within the classroom setting or remotely.  Teachers motivate and keep “students involved through synchronous voice exchanges, chat line discussions and the monitoring of student assignments” (Sunchild website testimonial, 2011). With the availability of e-learning programs such as Sunchild, participants do not have to leave their community rather, the program is delivered to them.”

Radio Mapuche

Radio Mapuche is a site where we can find podcasts about different topics related to the current situation between Chilean state and Mapuche people. Radio Mapuche presents different interviews to Mapuche people and academics that analyze the current situation of this culture, news and music. The podcasts are presented in different languages (e.g. German, English, and Spanish). The issues presented in the podcasts are linked to Mapuche demands for self-determination and protection of their rights.


Cross Cultural Solutions

A National Panel has been set up to investigate ways of improving education for Aboriginal students on reserves. Minister John Duncan and Chief Shawn Atleo have declared that their will be a joint panel on education.  Graduation rates on reserves are significantly lower than that of the general population so it’s the panel’s task to figure out why.  One reason, of course, would be the lack of funding as is indicated in this article in the Times Colonist.   The Federal government needs to ensure that band schools have adequate funding but in times of fiscal retraint, it’s hard to see that happening.  Funding is always a challenge for schools that are in remote communities requiring busses or boats.  Connectivity infrastructure will likely be more costly and there will be many other expenses that would not be incurred in an urban area.  Any lack of funding from the Federal or Provincial levels of government will unfairly impact these less urban communities, likely affecting First Nations students disproportionately.  Schools are a great place to develop cross-cultural understanding.  Underfunding undermines that potential.


ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival is an international festival that celebrates the latest works by indigenous peoples on the forefront of innovation in film, video, radio, and new media. Each year in the fall, the festival presents some of the most compelling and distinctive Indigenous works from around the world. The festival attracts and connects film makers, media artisists, and other industry professionals. The works accept reflect the diversity of the worlds Indigenous nations.

ImagineNATIVE is committed to dispelling stereotypical notions of Indigenous peoples through diverse media presentations from within our communities, thereby contributing to a greater understanding by audiences of Indigenous artistic expression. A youth workshop is offered for Aboriginal youth to learn the basics of machine cinema. There are many other activities that youth can be involved in such as the ImagineNATIVE Youth Video Contest.

This website is interesting for those who would like to learn more about Indigenous film and art. There is an extensive archive that contains many videos and images from past events and festivals.