Posts from — October 2010

Decolonizing Mi’kmaw education through cultural practical knowledge

Written in the McGill Journal of Education, Fall 2002 by Jeff Orr, John Jerome Paul, Sharon Paul;col1

This article discusses how three educators from a Mi’kmaw background in Nova Scotia are trying to decolonize the European school system by bringing awareness and indigeonous knowledge to the students.  Decolonization through Aboriginal ‘cultural practical knowledge’ which is dessiminated through the school system is the focus of this story. These women are attempting to highlight aboriginal knowledge and bring attention to the decolonizaton movement.

“Many educators agree that [the] honoring of Aboriginal cultural knowledge is one of the most significant ways schools can be more responsive to Aboriginal students’ needs”

October 31, 2010   No Comments

Intellectual and Cultural Property Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Asia

By Michael A. Bengwayan  for the Minority Rights Group International (MRG).

This book examines the threat that indigenous people in Asia face on a daily basis – loss of land, resources and reserves. Another threat is to their collective knowledge. Multinational companies are commercializing their cultural practices and images for resale and the tourism industry. This document discusses the protection of indigenous rights at the UN/international level. This article identifies the gaps between international discussions and the local/regional level issues. It highlights the struggles of Asian people in protecting their intellectual property rights. It provides clear case examples from all over Asia.

October 31, 2010   No Comments

Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property: A Handbook on Issues and Options for Traditional Knowledge Holders in Protecting their Intellectual Property and Maintaining Biological Diversity

Authors: Stephen A. Hansen and Justin W. VanFleet for the  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Human Rights Program

This book examines the definition of intellectual property rights and traditional knowledge. It reviews the protection rights of knowledge holders and delves into registries, patents, informed consent and case examples. This book provides a good guideline for any researcher who is about to undertake studies amongst aboriginal peoples.

October 31, 2010   No Comments

Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Intellectual Property Rights: an Enabling Tool for Development with Identity

This paper reviews how indigenous knowledge can be used to document imperative information, like botanical records, without loosing community ownership of the knowledge.“In 2003-2004, an ethnobotanical documentation project was conducted in the Subanencommunity in Lakewood, Zamboanga del Sur, western Mindanao in the Philippines”. The indigenous peoples recognized that their knowledge was at risk for being lost. This paper describes how delicate information was handled with cultural sensitivity. There was a multi-disciplinary approach which included the local indigenous tribal experts. This paper is a good example of collaboration with the local indigenous peoples.

October 31, 2010   No Comments

Minwaashin’s Blog

The Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre

The Role of Art in Decolonization and Healing from History

I thought this blog brought about an interesting concept – that of art helping to educate and heal . This little article tells how a dozen aboriginal artists made the trek to Paris to open an art Paris/Ojibwa exhibit. The author tells how the artist “…has deconstructed history in order to bring integrity, honour and healing from what he terms, “the ravenous gaze of pending disappearance.”. The author explains how history has been ‘rewritten’ an an effort to bring about public awareness and recovery. A large part of decolonization is public awareness and personal knowledge – which this exhibit will offer to everyone.

For further picutres on this exhibit please see

October 31, 2010   No Comments

The Freire Project

The Freire Project The Paulo and Nita Freire International Project for Critical Pedagogy

If there is something that I have learned from this course, it is that things need to change in the classroom in order for Aboriginal students to succeed. Many of us may have learned a little about Paulo Freire and his philophies of teaching. For those who appreciate his ideas or would like to learn more, this site offers valuable resources. Besides a space to communicate with other like minded individuals, there is also FREE access to the International Journal of Critical Pedagogy and it appears to be a journal that would benefit from the contributions of  caring, thoughtful, hardworking, and interesting  teachers like the ones I have met in this course. There is also a link to the Open Journal Systems for access to other no-cost journals.

October 31, 2010   No Comments

Indian Country Today

It’s important to keep up to date on current Indigenous issues and events and Indian Country Today is a great resource with which to to do that.  The major focus is on national (American) stories in the U.S., however, there is coverage of global issues as well.  The top Canadian story: “Government kills abalone project” in Bamfield, B.C.

I feel sometimes I get overwhelmed with the seemingly limitless amount of information on the web, so having a resource like this one to trust to keep track of things as they happen is somehow a relief.

October 30, 2010   No Comments

Listening to Our Past

“Listening to Our Past” is a collaborative effort about Inuit Culture in Nunavut involving the Qikiqtani Inuit Association,  Nunavut Arctic College, Association des Francophone du Nunavut, and Heritage Canada. There is a lot of information presented in a format that I think would be appealing to students – plenty of interesting pictures.  Why is this important? Because teachers can create a group name for students to log in individually and complete questionnaires. An excellent learning resource.

Be sure to flip the pictures (bottom, right hand side) – I had been to the site a couple of times before realizing this!

October 30, 2010   No Comments


So, it is over this year (October 20-24, 2010) and it was in Toronto, however, the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival is annual. In fact it just celebrated its 11th year.  AND there is still lots to look at and discover on their website. Check out the short clip on the Best Dramatic Feature festival winner “Boy” – guaranteed to make you want to see the film!

October 30, 2010   No Comments

Biopiracy & the ETC Group

“Biopiracy refers to the appropriation of the knowledge and genetic resources of farming and indigenous communities by individuals or institutions who seek exclusive monopoly control (patents or intellectual property) over these resources and knowledge. ETC Group believes that intellectual property is predatory on the rights and knowledge of farming communities and indigenous peoples.”

Since I am directly involved in dishing out pharmaceuticals and training others up to do so, biopiracy is a concern that strikes home with me. I have taught the origin of aspirin (from willow tree bark) in the classroom for years and found it curious how some textbooks would cite indigenous knowledge as being the reason for its discovery, while others did not. Hmm. And what about Lakota arthritis therapy, who is profiting from that exactly?  The ETC Group fights for issues related to Erosion, Technology, and Concentration (e.g. corporate) thus the shortform. There are many issues to focus on but there is also global representation on the board – Canada, U.S., Mexico, Africa, South America, Phillipines and U.K. – to help tackle them.

“What we do: We address the socioeconomic and ecological issues surrounding new technologies that could have an impact on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. We investigate ecological erosion (including the erosion of cultures and human rights); the development of new technologies (especially agricultural but also new technologies that work with genomics and matter); and we monitor global governance issues including corporate concentration and trade in technologies. We operate at the global political level. We work closely with partner civil society organizations (CSOs) and social movements, especially in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

October 30, 2010   No Comments