The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 61/295: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007. This declaration affirms that “indigenous peoples are equal to all other peoples, while recognizing the right of all peoples to be different, to consider themselves different, and to be respected as such”. The resolution contains 46 articles.
On November 12, 2010, Canada endorsed this Declaration in Ottawa. John Duncan, the Minister of Indian and Northern Development at the time stated that endorsement of the declaration will “further reconcile and strengthen our relationship with Aboriginal peoples in Canada”.
On December 16, 2010, the United States announced they would lend its support to the declaration after opposing the original United Nations resolution in 2007. Canada, New Zealand and Australia also opposed the resolution at the time.
Although it was created over five years ago (that’s a lot of Internet time!) I found navigating around “Tshinanu / All of Us” to be an interesting “sandbox” exercise. With no instructions on how to use the website, it’s background or meaning; I began exploring the 26 modules at random and found a surprisingly engaging and user-friendly experience.
Digging deeper, I discovered the website is based on a television series developed to depict the “social, economic and cultural realities of Quebec Aboriginal communities.” The project brings together community members of all ages and many viewpoints to discuss meaningful issues, covering a range of topics from the politics to cooking to gender issues to coming of age. Each interactive module allows the watch an overview, meet people involved with the “theme,” participate in an interactive activity, share an opinion on the topic discover related resources, and more.
The design concept behind this website was based “on principles of interactivity, discovery and exchange well suited to First Nations philosophy.” Having stumbled upon the website at random, I have never seen the TV series that the clips/themes are taken from, nor was I expecting such a surprisingly pleasurable web-browsing experience!
My first weblog posting of Module 1 was a TedTalk and I will continue in a similar fashion for Module 2 in our discussions of indigeneity and stereotyping.
“Remote lands of indigenous peoples are not remote at all. They are homelands of somebody.” In his discussion on Endangered Cultures, Wade Davis covers a lot of ground – from language to landscapes, traditional knowledge holders and indigenous peoples who face unknown modernity. He talks Voodoo, not a black magic cult (that’s a stereotype,) but complex metaphysical worldview. He talks of rites of priesthood of the Kogi, which include a strict 18-year inculturation into the values of their society. He discusses the level of indigenous intuition and relation to landscapes in comparison with the emotional disconnect evident in a contemporary resource-based economy. He talks of Indigenous people that say plants “talk” to them and the impossibility of dissect their explanation of plant taxonomy from a scholarly standpoint.
Davis notes that even those who are aware of the endangered nature of many indigenous cultures still view these cultures as quaint and colorful, however reduced from the live-a-day world of western society. He argues that it is not technology or the change technology brings that threatens indigenous societies, it is an overpowering domination to mimic Westernized notions of how technology should be used, and how change should proceed, that is the root of the threat.
Nganyinytja – Aboriginal Elder of the Pitjantjatjara people of Central Australia.
This site was an interesting but frustrating find. I do love the title: “Much harm has come from forgetting the land..” It goes on to describe: “The Australian aboriginal people have lived in harmony with this huge and mainly desert continent for many thousands of years. They know the secrets of the land and they respect and care for it.” This site compares Western mainstream culture which they term “white government” and Indigenous peoples’ culture through specific Elders stories. Elder, Nganyinytja, stories and her contributions will be an great addition to my list of resources for future work. Others who are interested in learning about authentic Elder stories and traditions would also find this an interesting read but they may be discouraged to read further due to the organization of the information. Although this site includes interesting information, I was disappointed in the aesthetics and design of the site. The links are all at the bottom and not embedded in the text (perhaps on purpose to ensure you scroll through everything to the bottom). I would have liked to see more diversity in the topics and suggested links and sources included. I think it was meant to be a stand-alone piece of writing.
When creating curricula and educational lessons, it is pertinent that educators collaborate with Aboriginal elders, community leaders, and Aboriginal educators to gain perspective and insight to assure such educational endeavors are culturally sensitive and inclusive so that all students feel valued, safe, and supported within varied learning contexts. It is apparent from my initial research that educators from the East Coast of Canada do not have a great deal of resources available to them to help scaffold Aboriginal students within current curricula (although it is important to note that in rural areas that local resources may be created onsite and are not available online due to a lack of resources).
For the purpose of my weblog, I will focus on best practices, resources, and other aids that could help scaffold an East Coast educator of Aboriginal youth. Within my current school of 850 students, we have a population of 12 students who identify as Aboriginal descent. However, as a teacher who teaches primarily students who are not Aboriginal, I do believe it is pertinent that all educators and students are equipped with a multicultural perspective. As a result, I look forward to finding such resources, or perhaps creating new resources that could serve my students, colleges and fellow educators.
FNESC.ca is the website for the First Nations Educational Steering Committee. This committee is an independent society created with the goal of improving First Nations education in British Columbia (learners in the public system and in First Nation schools). This site looks to address all aspects of education relating to First Nation learners (i.e. post-secondary, Special Education, community programs, work experience, scholarships and bursaries, etc.). From this site links are provided to other Aboriginal based education sites as well as non-Aboriginal education sites. This site provides a rich resource to First Nations students and schools alike.
This site has really grabbed my interest! The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada has the daunting and important task of evaluating the health of the various species of wildlife in Canada. It is a very interesting approach to what has likely always been a very hard-science based practice. Scientists tracking the health of the species that we rely on in Canada likely realized very quickly that their data did not go back far enough to make informed decisions, but they also realized that for the health of some species, decisions had to be made!
Aboriginal traditional knowledge (ATK) is incorporated into their annual assessments. The website has information on what ATK is, and even states that the meaning of ATK varies depending on what region one is researching. The assessment process for determining the health of a species is listed and in that list is the protocol around using ATK. This protocol includes cultural sensitivity due to the spiritual nature of the information. The site is run by the Government of Canada and so this representation of ATK is in my opinion a grand tipping of the hat, so to speak, to First Nations cultures and their vast knowledge of the land.
Here’s a link to an online journal produced by the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of Bamberg in Germany.
Many of the posts are related to indigenous music. This particular link is to an edition called “Indigenous Peoples, Recording Techniques, and the Recording Industry” and the articles provide ethnographic information on a wide range of aboriginal musical initiatives from many countries – the Sami in Scandinavia to Fijian societies to North American aboriginals.
The website provides summaries of each article but full copies are not available on this site; some can be found on the web and others I was not able to track down. However, it is a great place to get ideas about ethnomusicology and to get exposure to aboriginal cultures that you may not have been familiar with before.
Here’s a link to an interesting website.
The Media Awareness Network is a non-profit Canadian entity that provides digital resources to support media literacy. The link I have included is to an article “The Development of Aboriginal Broadcasting in Canada”, which provides an overview of the history of Canadian Aboriginal programming.
While the article covers some of the same ground as the Faye Ginsburg article in the ETEC 521 readings, it focuses only on Canadian content and delivery, beginning in the early days of CBC’s shortwave radio programming in the 1950s through to the launch of the (very successful) Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) in 1999.
The website has an abundance of other material related to the portrayal of aboriginals in the media, under a broad section on Aboriginal People.
Aboriginal Canada Portal
The Aboriginal Canada Portal is the Government of Canada’s website to bring all aspects of aboriginal cultures together within a single webpage. The site provides information that is easy to navigate and understand. Within the site, you can access information and resources that are targeted to a particular aboriginal audience within Canada. From Elders to kids, there are multiple links for all ages. The portal provides information in multiple mediums, from journals and newsletters to multimedia links; the portal provides information to engage the viewer that is easy to navigate and locate. The website is a resource for individuals interested in learning more about aboriginal cultures and communities not only within Canada but abroad as well.