Traditional Knowledge Revival Pathways

Looking for more information about place-based education, I came across this You Tube video describing the importance of securing traditional knowledge for the benefit of community and country. The 5 minute, 36 second video was created by Luke Stanford, narrated by Victor Steffensen and filmed in Australia.

Some of the themes discussed are:

  • The importance of showing a visual of what the elders are trying to explain
  • Understanding that different forms of language + body + verbal are all significant and must be preserved
  • That Aboriginal knowledge is  not recognized by the mainstream and therefore an even greater sense of urgency to preserve this knowledge
  • A sustainability theme where we’re not just saving this knowledge for Aboriginal people but for all – i.e. Aboriginal knowledge as a means to better understand global warming and other environmental issues
  • People are currently detached from the environment but in reality “Man is not different from nature, Man is nature”

October 18, 2010   No Comments

Living Well: Aboriginal Women, Cultural Identity and Wellness

This research project by an Aboriginal Women’s Health Research Committee, supported by Prairie Women’s Heath Centre of Excellence (PWHCE) was designed to advance the current understanding of the positive impact of cultural identity on the wellness of Aboriginal women in Manitoba. In addition, an additional objective was to extend understanding of the ways that Aboriginal women have sought to heal themselves and their families through cultural values, teachings and knowledge.

The study included a literature review of the current research followed by group discussions and individual interviews with the women in the study. The study concluded that the women in the study take care of their physical and emotional health by maintaining balance between all aspects of their lives, including the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The approach is very reminiscent of the medicine wheel approach to holistic health. The findings concluded that the women’s identities are inseparable from their family, history, community, place and spirituality, and understood in the context of their whole lives. The approach/findings were reminiscent of Lee Brown’s ideas around the emotional health and the whole person.


October 18, 2010   No Comments

Yellowknife Education District No. 1

As a means to better understand how culture-based education is being implemented, I researched the Northern community of Yellowknife to view their school district page. The district Website reports that Aboriginal students account for approximately 25% of enrolment in Yellowknife Education District No. 1 and that they are spread out across eight schools.

The school district lists their YK1 Strategic Direction as:  

To ensure that students and staff are engaged in, and value Aboriginal Language and Culture-Based Education.

The following strategic goals indicate how the strategic direction will be implemented:

  • To support staff to integrate culturally relevant learning opportunities into instructional programming
  • To build capacity to increase the human resource base for the instruction of Aboriginal Language and Culture-Based programs
  • To develop and support programs that promote the social and emotional well-being of Aboriginal students
  • To promote and support Aboriginal Language and Culture- Based Education for all students
  • To strengthen relationships with the Aboriginal community
  • To revise Board procedures for the delivery of Aboriginal Education

October 18, 2010   No Comments

MAEI and Club Amick

In my travels as an educational consultant, I have come across two non-profit organizations that focus on Aboriginal initiatives and helping kids.

The Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative was started by Paul Martin, former prime minister of Canada.  The goal of the organization is to support initiatives that improve elementary and secondary education for Aboriginal people.  They have a literacy project in effect at Kettle and Stony Point Hillside School and a math initiative at Walpole Island Elementary, both in Southwestern Ontario.  A Promising Practices website, along with an accounting and a youth leadership project round out their current project portfolio.

The second initiative concerns putting books into the hands of young Aboriginal students and allowing them to build a home library with the hopes of developing a love for literacy.  The students also receive newsletters addressed to them at their home address with activities and information.  The initiative was started by James Bartleman (former Lieutenant Governor of Ontario) and Michaelle Jean (former Governor General of Canada).

Club Amick Logo

October 18, 2010   No Comments

Aboriginal children : the healing power of cultural identity

After viewing the Lee Brown video, I was particularly interested in reading more about linkages between cultural identity and educational success. During my reading I came across a Public Health Agency of Canada Website entitled: Aboriginal Children: the healing power of cultural identity.

This site describes several aboriginal initiatives across Canada that are working to promote cultural identity in Aboriginal children, the devastating effects of past injustices such as residential schools, how communities are working together to help restore identity, and the importance of elders to the processes. The site concludes byoffering the following list of suggestions aimed to foster a child’s sense of identity:

  • Learn as much as you can about the specific culture of the child – its traditions, strengths and challenges. Aboriginal cultures are diverse (there are approximately 50 different Aboriginal cultural groups in Canada) and there is also diversity within each community.
  • Try to balance the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the child.
  • Support the child to learn and maintain his traditional language.
  • Provide regular opportunities for her to take part in traditional activities. Fish, gather berries, prepare and eat traditional foods together.
  • Provide regular opportunities for him to take part in community events. Attend ceremonial and ritual events.
  • Encourage meaningful interaction with Elders from her community. Children can learn respect and wisdom from Elders.
  • Support him to learn traditional stories and legends.
  • Provide her with books, videos, traditional games, dance and music that reinforce her traditional, family and daily life.
  • Speak frankly to him about discrimination.
  • Network with other Aboriginal parents, colleagues and Elders to share experiences and ideas.

October 18, 2010   No Comments

More on Dr. Lee Brown

I enjoyed the video of Lee Brown and decided to understand a little more about what he does.  I didn’t realize that UBC had the Institute for Aboriginal Health with all of its programs.  It may be because I am not from BC, so sorry if almost everyone else was aware of it.

Ditto for the First Nations House of Learning at UBC.

October 18, 2010   No Comments


One of our readings in this module discussed the role that public telecom played in the effects of media over time.  This is the Native American Public Telecommunications site. The site has a lot of audio, video and resources and currently even has an open call for filmmakers for video projects with significant Native involvement.  You can listen to live radio, watch documentaries, view contemporary Native performers’ work or join one of the discussion forums. among other things.

October 18, 2010   No Comments

Common curriculum for Aboriginal language and culture programs

As I was researching protocol and elders’ involvement in education, I came across this site that shares a common curriculum document for Aboriginal language and culture programs.  On page 4, there is a letter from the elders who were consulted in the project to the Associate Deputy Ministers involved in the project.  They were very appreciative of being asked for their input and by their words, seem proud of the final document.  They suggest a time for celebration and invite all to share in the joy.  The overall document discusses the framework that has been developed and shows the learning outcomes at each grade for the Laws of Sacred Life, Laws of Nature and Laws of Mutual Support.  I enjoyed reading through the document as it offers ways to infuse cultural education and knowledge into each grade.

October 18, 2010   No Comments

The Media Awareness Network

The Media Awareness network is a non-profit organization established to help adults teach young people about “how the media work, how the media may affect their lifestyle choices and the extent to which they, as consumers and citizens, are being well informed.”

There is a large section on the way Aboriginal people have been portrayed in the media. Links include common portrayals of Aboriginal people, Aboriginal people in the news, native names and imagery in sports, the impact of stereotyping on young people, the development of Aboriginal broadcasting in Canada, Aboriginal voices in the arts and media, and the importance of media education.

The information on the page should be very useful for anyone doing research into stereotyping. The links are very well developed and insightful. Links to related articles are included. The only thing I would add would be a list of references.

For example, the “Common Portrayals of Aboriginal People” page includes a section on history,
misrepresentation (romanticism, “The Indian Princess,” the warrior, the noble savage), historical inaccuracies, stereotyping by omission, and simplistic characterizations. There are also links to a related article on the site, four hosted elsewhere, as well as a National Film Board series.

October 18, 2010   No Comments