This website is designed to be a resource on Canadian Inuit Culture for Canadian school-aged children and their teachers. The site contains cultural information as text, videos, and weblinks, it also contains downloadable worksheets for classroom use. Created by the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Center, this site was funded by the Canadian Heritage Gateway Fund.
The National Film Board (NFB) of Canada has a web page devoted to high school and upper elementary students and teachers called Aboriginal Perspectives. It has NFB aboriginal documentaries from 1940 – 2004 with critical commentaries on the issues presented. The site has several themes including:
- The Arts
- Cinema and Representation
- Colonialism and Racism
- History and Origins
- Indigenous Knowledge
- Sovereignty and Resistance
I viewed several of the excerpt clips under Cinema and Representation and found an interesting contrast in two clips about the Hudson Bay Company. In Caribou Hunters (1951) Manitoba Cree’s and Chipewan’s from the mainstream perspective, are shown happily trading with the Hudson’s Bay Company. The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of the Hudson’s Bay Company (1972), presents an honest view of how the Indians felt about the “value” they were getting from trading with the Bay. This is much different from the 1951 Caribou Hunter’s perspective.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MiNO2qpESE[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jskD2oz4Nko&feature=related[/youtube] The role of media awareness and the potential for critical comparison of culture was highlighted as I searched through First Nations Animations of traditional stories. I started by watching the Big Rock Story, an animated legend produced by the Campbell River Museum, which has an excellent First Nations Program and also a great many artifacts from the past centuries. The Big Rock still stands at the entry to Campbell River, but I was reminded of Ripple Rock and the Ripple Rock explosion. The stark contrast of the two stories seemed to underline the conflict between the aboriginal relationship to the natural world and the western capitalist technological imperative.
While searching for the book Keepers of the Earth, by Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac, I found this website for a fundraising organization created by First Nations people to support First Nations initiatives world-wide. While it seems to be in its infancy in terms of depth of resources, especially as it pertains to young children, which is what I’m looking for, it does present a great many articles, videos etc. on First Nations perspectives on climate and environmental issues. This would be a usseful resource for high school students especially since much of it is created by and for First Nations peoples. It also struck me that creating an online component to supportand update the classic text, Keepers of the Earth, that I have found useful in teaching both Science and Social Studies would be an excellent project.
Caduto, Michael J. and Joseph Bruchac (1997 ) Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activites for Children. Fulcrum Publishing.
Located on the Adams Lake Band reseve in the Sepwepemc Nation, BC, Chief Atahm School is a parent-run language immersion school and educational program. The program began in 1987 as a language nest modeled in the Maori style of “Te Kohanga Reo” by a group of parents hoping to stem the loss of the Sepwepemc language. Since that time, their program has grown into an internationally celebrated example of successful tribally controlled education. Their Vision Statement reflects a deep respect for the values and traditions of the Sepwepemc.
The school provides full immersion from nursery through grade three, partial immersion for grades four through nine, and adult language courses. As the success of their program has become evident through the students that progress through the school and the revitalization of the Sepwepemc language, they also provide yearly Teacher Training institutes and adaptable curriculum development tools. Building on a tradition of continuing refinement of their programming, Chief Atahm School holds an annual language conference that is well attended by language activists, teachers, and enthusiasts.
My research project will be focused on best practice and appropriate use of technology to promote understanding of Aboriginal issues in elementary schools. The grade 4/5 Social Studies curriculum is focused on Aboriginal and European contact and there are certainly a great many internet sites such as http://lone-eagles.com/na-ed.htm, a repository of useful K-12 lessons and links. Part of the question that I want to answer pertains to the validity of using technology to explore Aboriginal issues and how best to achieve the balance between virtual learning and real-life experiential learning. There are so many engaging resources available online but does that actually build understanding in the way contact and lessons with Elders would? I will also be interviewing Aboriginal educators in my district regarding their current use of technology in the classroom and in their programs. Ultimately, I hope to be able to learn from their experience and to share my own findings with them. It will take the form of a traditional paper but also with links and visuals to demonstrate my findings.