In our discussion this module about stereotypes and critical media anaylsis, I came upon the organization BluePrintForLife which runs the program “Social Work through Hip Hop.” Through the medium of hiphop, this program facilitates social work development and healthy indigenous communities in the Arctic North. Projects are designed with specific communities in mind, but generally deal with issues such as anger, violence, sexual abuse, addictions, positive outlets.
Elders, adults, and youth are encouraged to participate side by side in fun events such as throat-boxing (Inuit throat boxing combined with beatboxing) as well as complex discussions of anger, violence, sexual abuse and addictions.This program addresses the multigenerational healing of communities – take the Elder DJ component for example; a way in which Elders can model positive risk taking along with opening dialogue through sharing a laugh.
While there have no doubt been many instances of pejorative depictions of Aboriginal peoples on television and in film, there are increasingly common examples of inclusive and supportive depictions as well. Take TigaTalk, for example. Launched in 2008 on APTN, TigaTalk is a children’s television show (preschool level) that uses puppets, cartoon, and live-action stories to explore First Nations culture. This show is also attempting to address preschooler’s mastery of linguistic skills (in Aboriginal languages as well as English. TigaTalk also has an iOS App developed with licensed speech and language pathologists, providing a fun way for children to develop speech sounds through playful voice-controlled games that can improve speech clarity, articulation, and instill confidence.
Library and Archives Canada has a searchable database of historical government and private works, both published and non-published, for you to explore. Looking at the “archives” section will bring up photos and and documents often viewable online. The institution was brought together through federal legislation in 2004, tying together the National Library of Canada and the National Archives of Canada. They are mandated to provide a wealth of information and memory accessible to all Canadians. As one would expect, their collection is broad and could be of interest to many avenues of research. They do have a specific section on Aboriginal Peoples including databases, research aids, and virtual exhibitions.
"MIKAN 3200866: Man with boy (probably Allakariallak/Nanook and Phillipoosie)"
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.