Tag Archives: youth

In the Same Boat

In the Same Boat is an article that describes a large canoe journey of over 250 paddlers.  These paddlers include law enforcement, Aboriginal youth and Aboriginal elders.  The week long journey is made in an attempt to break down the divide between Aboriginal youth and law enforcement.  Most of the article focusses on the difficulty of the journey and indicates that those involved have felt tensions leave during the journey.  Probably the most interesting part of this article is the reaction in the comment section.  Have a read and judge for yourself.  Many of the comments are highly critical of this initiative with the most interesting comment pointing out that these students need to be in school and be clean and sober and that these may not be the youth law enforcement needs to win over.

Nicola Valley Institute of Technology

The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology bills itself as “BC’s Aboriginal Public Post-Secondary Institute.”  With campuses in Merritt and Vancouver NVIT targets Aboriginal youth and adults alike.  The goal of NVIT is to become the school of choice for Aboriginal students because they believe they are best suited to educate Aboriginal students.  They hope to create Aboriginal leaders who can make a difference in their communities.  NVIT states that it involves elders in the direction of the university and keeps it Aboriginal focus.

Aboriginal Youth Ambassadors

The Aboriginal Youth Ambassadors site is the home site for a program targeting Aboriginal youth.  This website describes the training opportunities available through this program.  According this website the primary goal is to create young adults who will be the Aboriginal leaders of tomorrow who are capable of bridging native and non-native worlds.  The key themes of this program is for participants to discover their story (that is Aboriginal culture and history as it relates to themselves), build their story, and share their story.

First Nations Technology Council

The First Nations Technology Council is a section of the First Nations British Columbia website specifically focussing on the potential of technology in First Nation communities.  Although much of the site is dedicated to expanding technology, much of the time this is connectivity in the form of high speed internet, there are other technology related undertakings that are of interest.  The Youth Cafe area provides links to aboriginal youth and contains some interesting discussion related to ongoing projects.  This discussion includes youth working with elders to record Aboriginal culture and history as well as teach elders the use of technology.

There is much more info on this site relating to policy regarding implementation, community plans for technology implementation, technical support and application forms.  Overall this is a valuable site for Aboriginal communities who already have technology in place and even more valuable for those looking to implement technology into their communities.

SAY Magazine

SAY Magazine is a magazine targeting Aboriginal youth (there are Canadian and American versions available).  Their has a variety of resources including the latest content from the magazine, news, and links among other things.  There are also biographies of the SAY Ambassadors.  These are Aboriginal youth and adults who have seen success in various areas (i.e. musicians, actors, filmmakers etc.).  This website is created to empower Aboriginal youth and make them aware of opportunities for their future.  I noticed there seemed to be a large emphasis on postsecondary opportunities.  The links section was probably the most comprehensive I’ve seen in any Aboriginal site I have explored in this assignment.  These were broken into smaller categories (i.e. career, health, arts, sports, education, etc.) and included aboriginal and non-aboriginal links for Aboriginal youth.

Module 3- The state of Aboriginal learning in Canada: A holistic approach to measuring success


This website contains information on the current initiative of assessing Aboriginal students holistically.  The core focus of the site is the 2009 report whereby a set of criteria for successful Aboriginal learning was created.  Based on the findings of the Canadian Council of Learning, Aboriginal learning environments must be:

  • Holistic (focuses on the emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual elements of the individual while stresses the relationship with the Creator)
  • Lifelong (Skills that are learned at an early age will be used until old age and transferred to following generations)
  • Experiential (Learning activities enable students to make connections to their lived experiences while providing them with opportunities to participate in traditions such as storytelling, meditation, and cultural ceremonies.)
  • Aboriginal language and culture must be emphasized during all learning activities.
  • Spiritual based (Students must be presented opportunities to partake in spiritual experiences which serve as “the pathways of knowledge”.  Examples of such are ceremonies, vision quests, and dreams.)
  • Community based (Education must be supported at the community level by parents, elders, the Aboriginal community as a whole.)
  • Incorporates both Aboriginal and Western knowledge. (Activities and educational practices are rooted in the best practices)

Module 3- Tripartite Forum


This forum serves as a place to resolve common concerns between the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq community and governments both at the provincial and federal level.  Created in 1997, the main purpose of the union is to create a common vision and set of goals that will support the various communities in being “vibrant Mi’kmaw communities through partnership, commitment and respect”.

What makes this website and the included documents and resources valuable is the constant focus on the need for all agencies (both indigenous and non-indigenous) to work together, collaborate, and respect others at all times.  Below is an image taken from the website that describes how all of the various committees within the forum are connected.  In connection to module’s 3 focus on aboriginal youth, notice the role/focus of youth within the diagram.  The main goal associated with youth are to ensure their success by scaffolding them during their path of life-long learning.  In doing so, the forum hopes to involve youth in community decision making and governance as well as to encourage active healthy living.

Image taken from the Mi'kmaq-Nova Scotia-Canada Tripartite Forum 2006 Strategic Direction Document

Tripartite Forum : A partnership of: Mi’kmaq + Nova Scotia + Canada. Tripartite Forum : A partnership of: Mi’kmaq + Nova Scotia + Canada. Retrieved July 7, 2011, from http://www.tripartiteforum.com/

Module 3- Out of the depths

This book recounts the residential schooling experience held by those who attended the school in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.  It discusses not only the experiences, but how such experiences have shaped the Mi’Kmaq culture in present day.  It is an important piece of information for any Nova Scotian for it outlines the trials and tribulations of an entire people.   In addition, it also has connections to the role of present day Aboriginal youth as noted in both the Fraser River Project and March Point Trailer as an explanation of the current state of youth.

Knockwood, Isabelle . Out of the depths: The Experiences of Mi’kmaw Childrn at the Indian Residential School at Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing, 2001. Print.

Canada’s Indigenous Languages in Crisis

Many reports and studies over the last 10 years indicate that most of Canada’s Indigenous languages are declining and are at risk of extinction. Onowa McIvor in 2009 reported that at first European contact there were an estimated 450 aboriginal languages and dialects, now there are only about 60 languages still spoken. Statistics Canada reported in 2001 that North American Indians with the ability to converse in their native language fell from 20% in 1996 to 16% in 2001.

The Assembly of First Nations in 2007 reported that there are only 3 First Nations languages expected to survive: Cree, Objibway and Inuktitut and in 1998 declared a state of emergency on First Nations languages. They also developed a National First Nations Language Strategy and a National First Nations Language Implementation Plan.

The Northwest Territories has the most advanced Aboriginal language legislation and policies in Canada supported by the 1984 Official languages Act. In 1999 the NWT Literacy Council published “Languages of the Land” A resource manual for individuals and communities interested in Aboriginal language development. In 2010, the Government of the NWT published an Aboriginal Languages Plan to set out a framework for strengthening their nine aboriginal languages over the next decade.

British Columbia has 32 of Canada’s First Nations languages and about 59 dialects. At the time of colonization in BC 100% of the First Nations people were fluent in at least one language. This number has dropped dramatically since the late 1800’s to just 5% today. The First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council published a report on the Status of BC First Nations Languages in 2010 with a real need to act to save and preserve what is left.

One common theme throughout all of these reports is to find opportunities for youth to connect and communicate in their native language with fluent speakers and elders. This can be done through immersion camps, language nests and other intergenerational ties.

Dechinta: Bush University Centre

Dechinta is a new concept in education rooted in indigenous knowledge and values. It offers a land-based University credited education led by northern elders, leaders, experts and professors to engage youth in transformative curricula. It is located near Yellowknife NWT, is off the grid and accessible only by float plane, snowmobile or dog team.

A video is available describing the Dechinta experience. CBC North did a special news story on Dechinta on June 22, 2011 highlighting the first semester. Dechinta was recently in the news at it was one of the premier stops that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Will and Kate) made while visiting Yellowknife on July 5, 2011.