The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation

The First Peoples’ Cultural Foundation
The site was created with the recognition that First Peoples’ languages are in peril. With that acknowledgment, there are two stated purposes.

One part of the site is the First Voices language archives the documentation of languages. Rather than simply recording and flash freezing (Littlebear, 1996) the languages, the purpose here is to use the recorded language as a learning tool. This program has been running since 2003 with funding from the province of British Columbia and the Department of Canadian Heritage. So far they have archived less than 5% of the potential languages.

The other main section is the Aboriginal Languages Initiative. Summarized on the page:
The Aboriginal Languages Initiative (ALI) is a federal program funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage. The ALI provides funding support for community and regionally-based projects directed at maintaining, revitalizing and promoting First Nations languages. ALI funds are distributed to provincial and territorial delivery organizations.
This section has an application system for interested groups to request participation.

The site gives hope that there is enough interest to possibly save some languages that are on the verge of extinction.

Littlebear, R. (1996). Preface. In G. Cantoni (Ed.), Stabilizing indigenous languages. Flagstaff: Northern Arizona University, Center for Excellence in Education.

November 22, 2010   No Comments

Native American Radio
Koahnic Broadcast Corporation (KBC) operates out of Alaska and is a First Nations radio network. The programming, which is sometimes shared with NPR is centred on Indigenous news and issues. Live streaming is available. The website and the programming seem to be only in English. However, there is a word of the day section on the site that highlights a word from one of the Indigenous languages spoken by the listening audience.

I listened to the stream of a program called Native American Calling for a while and the interview was very interesting. The subject of the interview was an Alaskan musician who was asked the story of how he chose his profession. The answer was told in the form of a beautiful story about a relative who was the last fluent speaker of his language in the family. This struck a chord with me after doing research for my analytical paper. Callers also brought up the issue of language revitalization. There is a real urgency voiced about saving languages. . . even if it is being stated in English.

The news section comes mostly from wire sources. The first story about Indigenous people was not until the middle of the page.

I also learned that it’s warmer in Anchorage than it is in Lethbridge.

November 19, 2010   No Comments

The Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal)

The Indigenous Studies Portal (iPortal)

Developed by the University of Saskatchewan library, iPortal has a over 30 categories of links related to Indigenous issues. According to the “About” page, the site hosts over 21,000 records.

As an example, the link to Languages has further links for Algonquian, Cree, Athabaskan, Dene & Na-Dene, Eskaleut – Inuktitut Aleut Copper, Iroquoia, Language Legislation, Michif, Mixed Languages, Oratory Skills & Practises, Origins & Movement, Preservation, Salishan, Siouan, Systems: Writing, Signing, Toponymics, Tsimshian, Wakashan. Each of these links refers to a page of selected articles. I wish I had come across this earlier in the process of writing my analytical paper.

This is a terrific resource! The only problem for our use is that the University of British Columbia is not one of the recognized institutions. This makes it a little more difficult to find linked resources. Luckily, the site also provides an easy Google Scholar search that can be used to find the resources outside of the educational framework.

November 19, 2010   No Comments

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)

International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
The IWGIA was formed in the 1960s to address the issue of human rights of Indigenous peoples. There are a lot of resources and publications regarding topics like climate change, self-determination, racism, sustainable development, political participation, international and national policies and international and national policies.

It’s interesting that the organization, which is based in Europe and funded in part by the European Union, has country profiles for nations in Africa, Asia, the Arctic, and Latin America, but not for North America, Australia, or New Zealand. Perhaps this is due to the lack of support these countries have given to United Nations Indigenous efforts. Even so the resources and links are quite well developed.

November 18, 2010   No Comments

The United Nations and Decolonization

The United Nations and Decolonization
The site is the that of the United Nations department currently meeting to discuss decolonization.

Resources include links to history, Declaration on Granting of Independence, Special Committee of 24, International Trusteeship System, Trusteeship Council, and Documents.

A pdf brochure might be useful in some social studies contexts.

November 16, 2010   No Comments

City Voices, City Visions

I thought of this after reading Miguel’s post on the main discussion forum. When I was doing ETEC532, I wrote my major paper about the benefits of using digital video productions in the classroom. One of the oldest, and most closely investigated programs was City Voices, City Visions from Buffalo, New York. The program started as a way to motivate inner city youths who were at high risk to drop out of school. It has been a great success, not only in motivating student retention, but in creating authentic learning.
Like I said, Miguel’s post made me think about how this kind of a program, where a central organization trains teachers on how to use digital video in the classroom, could be used in a First Nations setting. The benefits such as improved self esteem have been seen in the two course videos, the Fraser River Journey and the March Point trailer. I have used digital video projects over the last few semesters in my classroom and have found them to be extremely enlightening and awesome tools for student constructive learning. This is a little bit outside of the box, but it is something that is relevant.

November 5, 2010   No Comments

Genesis Group

At first, I was a bit concerned that this was a corporate site. My worry was that although it seemed promising, there was a motive of profit here. After a bit of digging, the Genesis Group is part of the The Northern Learning Institute, which is is owned by the Nunasi Corporation, which is owned by all the Inuit of Nunavut who are enrolled under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. That all seems above the board… I think.

The page identifies what the group considers the “best practices in the area of Aboriginal Technology & learning across Canada.”

These include web page development, online schools, and a “talking dictionary” project.

November 4, 2010   1 Comment

Digital Video Pilot Project – Vancouver Island

The Saanich Indian School board on Vancouver island has created a pilot project to incorporate technology into the learning process. This includes something near and dear to my heart, the production of digital videos.

The program is geared towards students in grade 12 and has several goals, including

    working with a First Nations topic,
    being involved with the community,
    having community value, including use in social studies classes from grade 4 to 9,
    receive credit for technology courses

    An example of a film is archived at:

November 4, 2010   2 Comments

Database of best practices on indigenous knowledge

Database of best practices on indigenous knowledge

The site is part of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It is a database of articles that highlight indigenous knowledge.

The majority of the articles is from Africa. There are only two from North America, both from Canada. One of these discusses environmental issues surrounding Hudson’s Bay. From the article:

Indigenous knowledge is at the core of the practice and its value is immense. It was both the premise for and basis of the study: an historic, empowering and rewarding experience for many of the IK contributors. It was historic in that the IK contributors were cognisant of putting their orally communicated traditional ecological knowledge into writing for the first time in history. It was empowering in that they shared this mission with peers from many communities sharing the same environmental outlook, and they believed it would make a difference in the way decisions affecting the environment and communities of the Hudson Bay bioregion would be made.

It would be nice to see more articles from North America. Perhaps the lack of American participation is a reflection of the attitudes of government.

October 26, 2010   No Comments

United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Environment Programme

The site is similar to the World Bank site discussed in Module three in that it explores using indigenous knowledge as a source to deal with problems being faced in the world today. The UN, partnered with the University of Swaziland, and Climate Prediction and Applications Centre have teamed up to create the site.

The purpose of the site is stated as:

“The website aims to ensure that
* This IK and its various applications are documented before it is lost forever.
* This information is made accessible to as many people as possible.
* Awareness of the importance of this knowledge is created amongst governments and policy makers so that they may begin to incorporate it in policy creation and various development programs.
* Custodians of this knowledge may have a forum through which they can share it with others. “

This site has links to a number of different knowledge areas, including nature conservation, natural disaster management, traditional medical practices, and poverty alleviation. While it focuses on Africa, this could be a model for applying indigenous knowledge around the world. The site also offers 118 page pdf file that contains a wealth of information. (
Book Cover

Perhaps the most useful aspect of the site is a searchable database of knowledge.
Database example

October 23, 2010   No Comments