Indigenous Peoples’ Issues Resources Online

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources is a online web resource that concentrates information, news, articles, videos, and resources for those concerned about, and for, indigenous peoples around the world.  As the website reveals, as globalization affects indigenous peoples in all parts of the world with such consequences as water diversion and hydroelectric energy projects, militarization, global and national events, consolidation of natural resource access, the website attempts to rectify with a call for social justice through information technologies, using Google Maps and RSS feeds to update and alert us about indigenous news and resources.

Through cross-cultural communication, cooperation, and understanding – as well as easily accessible information and resources – the website maintains that it can be one of the keys to helping indigenous peoples maintain their language, culture, and identity.

As a History Buff, what I enjoy about this website is its “On This Day in Indigenous History”

On This Day on October 7, 1763 – the Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III following Great Britain’s acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years’ War. The purpose of the proclamation was to organize Great Britain’s new North American empire and to stabilize relations with Native North Americans through regulation of trade, settlement, and land purchases on the western frontier. The proclamation created a boundary line (often called the proclamation line) between the British colonies on the Atlantic coast and American Indian lands (called the Indian Reserve) west of the Appalachian Mountains. The proclamation line was not intended to be a permanent boundary between white and American Indian lands, but rather a temporary boundary which could be extended further west in an orderly, lawful manner. The Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada.

October 19, 2010   No Comments

Pygmies Web Resource

A website dedicated to the hunter-gatherer peoples living in Central African rainforests, commonly called Pygmies, this is an excellent resource about an often mysterious and little understood indigenous peoples of Africa.

Presenting hundreds of photos and other material collected during his fieldwork among the Baka of Cameroon and Gabon and among other pygmy groups in Central Africa, this website reveals life and traditional activities of these peoples, the Central African rainforest biodiversity, and the increasingly rapid disappearance of this world.

I think this is an important general resource for indigenous peoples research, especially in a time when migration to Africa has endangered its indigenous peoples, very similar in nature to indigenous peoples all over the world.  This website presents ethnographic descriptions serving as introduction to pygmy cultures and commentary on the photos.   Impressively, the technology translates into an excellent multimedia-rich experience that each internal page also includes sound or music recordings relative to the soundscape of the rainforest and pygmy camps.

The purpose of this web resource is to “ultimately provide an introduction to the cultures of pygmy peoples and to promote their protection, documenting their richness and showing some of the factors that increasingly threaten their survival.” In a way, the methodologies presented by this website almost reverses the colonial paradigms of “research” so prominent in the 19th and 20th centuries. Luis Devin, an ethnomusicologist, lives among the Pygmy in Central Africa, conducting anthropological and ethnomusicological fieldwork in Central Africa, studying in particular the music and rituals of the Baka and other pygmy groups.

What strikes me the most is that during an expedition in the rainforest of Cameroon, he took part into the male initiation rite that marks the transition to adulthood of the young Baka boys, a secret rite conducted by the Spirit of the Forest and by elderly members of the group. After a week of rituals he was accepted in a Baka patrilinear clan.   Since Baka male initiation is an almost completely secret rite (occurring in secret places of the African rainforest), Devin respected the Pygmy peoples, and only published only those images and sounds concerning the “public” ceremonies.  In fact, as he puts it, it is

“essential to respect the Baka traditions and cultural secrets. After all, they let me be part of a rite which has always been forbidden to foreigners. Even the other African peoples can seldom assist to these ceremonies. Besides, they did not want anything in exchange.”

October 19, 2010   No Comments

Canadian Museum of Civilization

Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) as a national institution responsible for preserving and promoting the heritage of Canada, and contributing to the collective memory and sense of identity of all Canadians. I think what impressed me is that the The Canadian Museum of Civilization has an online exhibition component as well that explores the thousands of objects, papers and other items in its collections representing Aboriginal heritage, immigration history and French Canadian culture. Yet, there seems to be quite a heavy component of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.

In particular, the First Peoples of Canada page is an interesting resource.    As a virtual exhibition that looks at different perspectives of the history of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples, “underlining their fight for cultural survival and indicating the wealth of their modern-day contributions,” the website draws on information and artifacts presented in the First Peoples Hall of the Canadian Museum of Civilization.   It doesn’t try to be a comprehensive presentation of the history of all the Native groups in Canada; instead, aspects of cultural identity are explored through four themes: (a) the diversity of Aboriginal cultural expression; (b) how the Aboriginal presence manifests itself within present-day Canada; (c) the adaptation of traditional lifestyles to different environments across Canada; and (d) the impact of the arrival and settlement of Europeans over the last 500 years.

I think this website provides an important “national” recognition of aboriginal peoples of Canada.   Certainly, there is still a colonial theme to the history presented, but it does try to balance this out with important historical artefacts from an Aboriginal peoples’ perspective.

October 19, 2010   No Comments

Introducing Izuma TV

This is a website which excited me a lot.  Perhaps the most interesting of the links I’ve provided so far. This particular video is a video very much in theme with “March Point.” IsumaTV is an independent interactive network of Inuit and Indigenous multimedia. IsumaTV uses the power and immediacy of the Web to bring people together to tell stories and support change.

In particular, the tools of this web portal allows Indigenous peoples to express reality in their own voices: views of the past, anxieties about the present and hopes for a more decent and honorable future.  The goal is simply to assist people to listen to one another, “to recognize and respect diverse ways of experiencing our world, and honor those differences as a human strength.”  As this module 3’s goal is decolonization and indigenous intellectual property rights, I think IsumaTV’s uses of new networking technology to build a new era of communication and exchange among Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and communities around the globe is one way to break down the brick and mortar approach of Western imperialist research methodologies of researchers “invading” territories of indigenous peoples’ and gathering and categorizing information for their own needs and leaving abruptly.

October 19, 2010   No Comments

CBC Aboriginal portal

In 2007, one of the focal points in CBC Television’s diversity plan was a web platform that tried to showcase stories and programs on Aboriginal life, issues, and artistic expression that have been produced by, or in association with CBC Television and Radio. As one of the CBC’s diversity strategies, the portal provides “better access to the volume of programming produced by the CBC which relates to Aboriginal life in Canada, creating a resource tool for schools, the larger community as a whole and Aboriginal communities in particular.”

What I found empowering about this website for Aboriginal peoples is the CBC’s intention to develop internships related to the site that will provide budding web developers with an opportunity to get to know the CBC, and its content. The website acts as connective fibre for other CBC initiatives that look to improve our capacity to connect with, and reflect Canada’s Aboriginal people. The portal was launched on June 21, 2007 and simply called “CBC Aboriginal.” The official website launch coincided with National Aboriginal Day on June 21st, 2007 and brought together CBC’s coverage of aboriginal issues on Television, Newsworld, Radio and

October 19, 2010   No Comments