Ryb/Mod 3 Weblog

Savage Minds


The website supports two books dealing with the methodologies of Indigenous research, “Decolonizing Methodologies”, (Linda Smith) and” Researching is Ceremony” (Shawn Wilson)

The link to the Smith book is weak, but the link to the Wilson book is quite good.  It offers a general overview of the book, as well as a brief intro by Wilson, an Opaskawayak Cree from N. Manitoba.  There is also a 6-page pdf file of excerpts from the book to read through

The power of this website is not that it mentions one of the readings in Module 3, but that it really doesn’t stop at the two mentioned above.  There is brief mention of a few other books on the same subject, but keep going.  Scroll down to the comments at the bottom of the page and find 9 posts from various professionals, again listing numerous other sources.

 Of interest to me was a link to Dr. Eldon Yellowhorn, an archaeologist from Simon Fraser University.  Dr. Yellowhorn’s research in Native Studies has focused on examining the experience of aboriginal people in the modern world and their struggle to promote cultural diversity in a homogeneous society.  This lends some confirmation that an Indigenous person with a mainstream education can represent traditional indigenous communities.


The Urban Native Youth Association Webpage


This webpage is very well laid out and easy to navigate.  There are numerous links from this Metro Vancouver based youth center.  The center offers over 21 programs to urban native youth, along with a wide array of special programs and activities. 

I believe this site is a great example of what might be called “contemporary aboriginal youth” 

There is a Face book link beside a link to success stories.  The center sells t-shirts to raise money for programs whose artwork by members meshes traditional symbols and pattern with center advertising. A resource page offers basic health info along with an extensive cookbook on how to eat healthy meals on a small budget, all in pdf format.  A guide explaining the ins and outs of college and university is also presented, again in pdf format.

The news link takes you to accounts of the youth center’s successes, press releases, and newspaper article from across Western Canada addressing issues pertaining to aboriginal youth from sexual abuse to comments on Steven Harpers apology regarding residential schools.  There are places where you can help, volunteer, or get help finding work.  The youth center itself is beautiful, and the website shows it off proudly.  Click on the links button and gain access to over 40 additional websites about other youth and aboriginal organizations.


The National Indian Youth Leadership Project


This website is the flagship for the NIYLP, who for the past 25 years has set as their mission to nurture the potential of Native youth to be contributors to a more positive world through adventure-based learning and service to family, community, and nature.

Project Venture (PV) was designed to reconnect Native youth with nature through sequenced initiatives and outdoor activities.  From its modest beginnings promoting alternative activities to high risk native youth, NIYLP has grown to include the 1200 acre Sacred Learning Center in New Mexico, along with Walking in Beauty and Tacheeh projects aimed at transitioning adolescent girls and boys into adulthood.  Project Venture has grown to national and international status.  Check out the photo gallery about building Tortoise Amphitheatre and check out the smiles on the kid’s faces.  Watch the YouTube video as the youth describe the Project in their own words.  The website also offers opportunities for training in the Project Venture model, both initial and advanced.  This bodes well for the wellness of this project, now and in the future.

Red Hat, Where Are You Going?


Red Hat, Where Are You Going? Is a documentary video produced by Emile and Maarten Adriaan Van Rouveroy Van Nieuwaal and Burkinabe historian Some Magloire.

Red Hat Where Are you Going? is about the traditional chiefs, of former Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso, in West Africa) the naabas, who wear red hat as a symbol of their authority?

Of particular interest in this review of the movie is a lengthy exploration of the role of traditional chiefs throughout the colonization period of Burkina Faso.  Some of the chiefs aligned themselves with the colonial power, becoming educated in Western economics and leadership and now see themselves as far more capable leaders than their traditional counterparts.  They have adopted many western views especially exclusion of traditional “values” since they are a threat to their power.  The tradition chiefs see themselves as defenders of culture and are looking for inclusion in all areas of post-colonization life.  Much debate continues among them as to “how far back” their culture should be maintained, pre-colonial or post-colonial.  While still in flux, even the most traditional chiefs understand that they must adapt to the changing political climate in Burkina Faso, and indeed all of Africa, if they are too have any say in the future.

When posed with the question “Can a traditional person become educated and still remain traditional?” this article would suggest no.  When the indigenous leaders of Burkina Faso became educated in Western ways, they tended to see themselves as superior, and look down on their traditional cousins.  While this is clearly not a binary phenomenon, the balance between “traditions” and “modernity” has been extremely difficult to maintain, and conflict, rather than cooperation, is the norm rather than the exception.  True this is only one situation, but the power associated with western colonization is a force difficult to relinquish.




Aboriginal Place Names

The names we give to things are an important and revealing component of who we are, both as individuals and as a culture. One aspect of colonization is to change names, perhaps as a way to assert control over the indigenous territory, but more often than not names are changed because the new inhabitants cannot pronounce the original word(s).  In Canada, especially in Western Canada, we still use many of the aboriginal names given by the indigenous people in the area.  I present with minimal apology several websites that list current names or cities, rivers, lakes and provinces.  I believe we are extremely lucky to have and use the names associated with our collective indigenous past.  Enjoy.





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