Posts from — November 2010

Native Networks

Native Networks is a project by The Film and Video Center of the National Museum of the American Indian. The website aims to showcase some of the multimedia currently being produced by Native Americans, as well as provide support and connections to native “media makers.”

The site contains a comprehensive list of videos shown by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. While videos are not necessarily available for download on the site, each listing contains the title, year, and a brief description, which still serves as a valuable resource. The listing can be found here: Users can either browse the entire list, or sort by title, director, region or tribe.

The site also features “close-ups” with figures who are currently contributing to Native American film. After a brief introduction to each person, users can click for a full interview. The close-up feature can be found here:

The site also contains links to a number of integrated social media tools, including a Facebook page, and Twitter, Myspace, and YouTube accounts.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

National Inuit Youth Council

While the website does not contain a ton of content, this national organization appears to be doing some excellent work. The National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC) formed in 1994 and remains committed to language/culture, education/training, and suicide prevention. According to the site, over half of the Inuit population are considered youth, so these are timely and relevant goals.

The site contains a list of available opportunities, including the popular Katimavik program (now with a northern-specific curriculum) and Impossible2Possible, an adventure based leadership program. The list can be found here: Additionally, it runs a blog-style home page with latest news, and an annual Youth Summit (

More information may be available to members once logged in, but in either case, the organization and its website provide another perspective on issues facing indigenous youth in Canada.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Urban Native Youth Association

British Columbia’s Urban Native Youth Association was formed to assist aboriginal youth as more and more left reserves and started living in the cities. Recreation programs are offered for youth, as well as personal support, residential programs for youth struggling with drug or alcohol dependency, and plans for a native youth centre in the downtown east side of Vancouver once enough capital is raised.

A number of resources and publications have been created ( for youth or people who work with aboriginal youth. These include health, nutrition and GLBTQ information written from an aboriginal perspective. This site is applicable specifically to youth and issues in British Columbia.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Honouring Life Network

The Honouring Life Network is a project by the National Aboriginal Health Organization. Its purpose is to prevent suicide amongst aboriginal youth and support those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The site is divided into three sections: an area for youth, an area for youth workers, and an area with resources.

The site includes a FAQ and statistics section on suicide, personal stories from people affected by suicide, and resources for youth considering suicide as well as youth workers. A up-to-date listing of organizations able to help in each province ( as well as a crisis information page ( are among the services the site offers.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Path of the Elders

Path of the Elders is both a visually interesting site and one that contains a variety of information. At first glance, I thought I had stumbled upon the latest Disney-Pixar project, but upon closer inspection I discovered the site was actually an interesting source for information on a particular treaty in Ontario. It tells the story of the Mushkegowuk and Anishinaabe Peoples of North-Eastern and North-Western Ontario (and the signing of Treaty #9). The site features a number of multimedia options, as well as an interactive game.

• Knowledge Quest Interactive Game:
• Videos:
• Audio:
• Photos:

A teacher’s page exists where educators can download Teachers Guides that have been prepared for every grade between grade 4 and 10 In addition, it features a variety of Web 2.0 sharing tools, such as links to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Digg and

As I mentioned earlier, the visually appealing design of this site really sets it apart from many other sites, which might help to engage more students as they learn course content. It’s worth checking out just to see the unique, innovative design.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Public Ethics Radio – Episode 13: Sarah Holcombe on Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights

This Public Ethics Radio clip examines questions around Australian Indigenous knowledge management, intellectual property rights, and research ethics. The guest speaker is social anthropologist Sarah Holcombe who is a research fellow at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the Australian National University. The audio clip is 32 minutes long.

Visit Dr. Holcombe’s website:

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Protocols for Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of Iwi

This web site lists several Protocols for Cultural and Intellectual Property Rights of the Maori Iwi (traditional tribes), based on the Mataatua Declaration of Indigenous Rights. Included are eight recommendations to Iwi, 5 recommendations to states, national and international agencies, and 9 points describing biodiversity and customary environment management property rights.

Note: I was curious about the term Mataatua. Here’s what Wikipedia had listed for it:

Mataatua was one of the great voyaging canoes by which Polynesians migrated to New Zealand. Māori traditions say that the Mataatua was initially sent from Hawaiki to bring supplies of kūmara to Māori settlements in New Zealand. The Mataatua was captained by Toroa, accompanied by his brother, Puhi; his sister, Muriwai; his son, Ruaihona; and daughter, Wairaka.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Under CAFTA, Indigenous heritage becomes intellectual property for the United States

Throughout this course, I’ve found discussion around the issue of intellectual property particularly interesting. Living in British Columbia, it would be difficult to miss the ongoing debate around the local fisheries with regard to who owns what, and how far Indigenous people’s rights extend when it comes to rules around harvesting marine resources.

For these reasons, I found the Cancer Plants web page describing foreign ownership of the right to exploit a region’s abundant and diverse tropical flora, very provocative. According to this page, under the intellectual-property provisions of CAFTA, the US has forced legislation in member countries that potentially legalizes patenting the biological resources of the region to the benefit of pharmaceutical and agro-industrial companies. Indigenous communities and environmentalists call these practices biopiracy while international pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers call them bioprospecting. Whatever the term used, the ethical, environmental, and commercial implications of this practice could be enormous.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Ryb/Module 4 Weblog

A Look Through Indigenous Eyes

A very powerful occount written by Cristina Quisbert about the Discriminations and Racism in her native Bolivia.  Christina gives a brief history of the Domination of the 36 Indigenous Peoples over the last 5 centuries by Spanish Rule.  Her quote “losers should be under the power of winners” resonates the feeling of helplessness the Bolivian “Indians” have been feeling for quite some time, where a white face automatically lent itself to an air of superiority over anyone “ Indigenous Looking”

The article goes on to chronicle the stride Indigenous People have taken since Bolivia became a republic in 1825, with marginal inclusion in the Government, first by males, and finally by females. Despite continued open racism in many areas of Bolivia, on December 18, 2005 Evo Morales Ayma was elected the first Indigenous President.  The fight for equality continues among indigenous people throughout the world.   Felicitación Christina.

The Ecology of Hinduism

In the Hindu faith, ecology of the mind is a necessary prerequisite to the ecology of the natural world.  One cannot exist without the other.  A central belief in God extends to preservation of the human mind which in turn is nourished by food, a cycle of ecology of respect and preservation of all forms of life in earth.  We cannot cut off the branch on which we sit.  We must contribute to the maintenance of the cycle of life. The sacredness of the cow is attributed to the milk to nourish our bodies, and the manure to nourish our land.

These themes run parallel to the ecology of indigenous people.  Indigenous knowledge, becoming favourable to western ideologies, is the nourishment and protection of the land, through firsthand knowledge and generations of learning.  Indigenous people teach the ecology of nature through stories, language, and traditions.  This ecology of the mind is essential for the protection of the natural resources needed to sustain and nourish their people.

This balance of mind and nature has long been the footpath followed by indigenous people around the world.  ‘We are disturbing the balance because of our greed for material enjoyment and our craze for power’, a sentiment of both Hinduism and Indigenous People.

Rethinking Contemporary Indigenous Rights

This is a very intense discourse by Jeff Corntassel in which he references many of the shortcomings of previous attempts of self-determination by indigenous people throughout the world.  Jeff is able to give historical references to self-determination claims that do not work and that have negative consequences for indigenous people in the future. 

As well as pointing out past and current problems, Jeff makes some suggestions to rectify the situation, most notably through the political venue of the United Nations.  At one point he seems to want to bring up the notion of forceful resistance, but cleverly steers away from that politically charged notion.


Revitalizing Canada’s Indigenous Languages

Language is one of the cornerstones of culture.  With the exception of the Inuit “Inuktitut” still spoken fluently by 2/3 of Canada’s Inuit people, the rest of Canada’s indigenous languages are at or near extinction levels.  This website chronicles some of the projects, both past and present that have been put in place to try to stabilize and/or revive some of the indigenous languages.  There are a number of links throughout the site, linking to specific projects dealing with language revitalization. 

The Yawenda Project is an attempt to revitalize the Wendake language which researchers say has not been spoken for over a century.  “Nesting” is a preschool program where students are paired with elders to enable these young individuals to grow up bilingual.  Both of these programs have experienced a fair amount of success, but economic factors have slowed progress recently.

Worth a look, especially the Wendake Link.

The Aboriginal People of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas — or Wanniya-laeto  “forest-dwellers” as they call themselves — preserve a direct line of descent from the island’s original Neolithic community dating from at least 16,000 BC and probably far earlier.  This very comprehensive website offers numerous links to most aspects of Veddas culture and history.

Robert Knox was one of the first westerners to give an account of Wanniya-laeto culture in 1681 when the island was known as Ceylon.  His chronicles and a host of others that followed are laid out so the reader can “easily” follow how western colonization has altered and interacted with these indigenous people for over four centuries. 

Early photographs, maps, conflicts, and treaties are all part of the history and wreckage undergone by the Wanniya-laeto people since western historians and anthropologists have entered into this unique island culture.

November 28, 2010   No Comments

Stories of Our Elders

Stories of Our Elders is a website dedicated to telling both the experiential and mythological/ traditional stories of the Cree and Ojibway people. The site takes a very innovative approach to archiving 22 stories in written, digital audio, and digital video formats all provided in both English and Cree or Ojibway. There’s also a small but interesting set of historical photographs related to the stories and storytellers and a map with detailed information about the tribes involved.

 In addition to providing a very interesting set of stories told by a variety of respected elders and community members, the site also offers users tips on moving forward with similar projects. They specifically address difficulties related to embedding syllabic fonts, which would be useful for anybody working on a multilingual web project, as well as tips for acquiring funding to pursue these types of projects.

November 25, 2010   No Comments