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

Native Networks

The Native Networks website is related to the National Museum of the American Indian. The Museum is part of the Smithsonian institute.

Native Networks, in their words, “. . . is dedicated to presenting and disseminating information about the work of Native Americans in media.
. . . Native Networks Website has four goals:
To provide a representation of current work in the field of Native American media including film, video, radio, television and new media.
To provide information to the public about the outstanding media productions which have been presented in the museum’s programs.
To provide the FVC and NMAI a way to maintain regular and frequent contact with the community of Native American independent media producers.
To provide a space for Native media makers to exchange ideas and to gather professional information.”

The site tends to view all First Nations people as a homogeneous group. There are no distinctions made for specific tribes, or even between north and south American Native peoples.

Resources include information about the Native American Film and Video Festival, plus links to other media related sites involving radio, film, video, other film festivals, and distributors.

October 13, 2010   No Comments

The Oka Crisis

This past summer of 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the Oka Crisis.

Through video, media archives and  print material we continue today to learn from this event and the stories that people share about it. This crisis received extensive media attention across Canada and around the world. I recommend the movie Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (The Oka Crisis) (National Film Board, 1993) which can be viewed at

It is an excellent recounting of the events, also giving the historical context. It is a feature-length, multi-award winning documentary by Native American filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin. It is set in the thick of the armed confrontation between Native American Mohawks and Canadian government forces during the 1990 two-and-a-half month standoff in the Mohawk village of Kanehsatake near the village of Oka in Quebec. There was one fatality in the crisis, Corporal Lemay.

For CBC archival information see:

Twenty years after the death of Corporal Lemay, his sister Francine came forward with the story of her journey of learning, healing and reconciliation and with the publication of her French translation of the book At The Woods Edge: An Anthology of the History of the People of Kanehsatake. Francine Lemay initiated this translation project recognizing that even 20 years after the Oka event, the Francophone community around her lacked information and understanding of the Mohawk people’s history and culture.


October 13, 2010   No Comments

Participatory video

Participatory Video is an experiential learning tool for individuals and groups to grow in self-confidence and trust, and to build skills to act for change. Participatory Video methods value local knowledge, build bridges between communities and decision-makers, and enable people to develop greater control over the decisions affecting their lives.

On this site, many of the communities involved are indigenous communities. The viewer can choose to view videos by issues (includes indigenous rights) or by category (e.g. advocacy, training). These are videos made by community members for themselves. Often indigenous languages are used with English subtitles.

October 12, 2010   No Comments

Indigenous Peoples Issues & Resources

Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources describes itself as a worldwide network of “concerned social scientists, activists, scholars, laypeople, indigenous people, and others who all share a combined goal: to provide resources, news, articles, and information on current issues affecting indigenous and tribal peoples around the world.”

Founded in 2007 by Peter N. Jones, Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources has been fighting continuously for the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples.

There are links to weekly news, regions of the world, issues, resources, and books. I have gone to resources – Indigenous Peoples Videos, Movies, and Audio Recordings and found about 340 on the range of issues. The videos I have viewed have been informative.

October 12, 2010   No Comments

Kiviaq vs. Canada

The most recent grade eleven program of study created for social studies in Alberta deals with the concept of nationalism. Like other high school level social studies courses, the new curriculum includes a much greater focus on First Nations issues than what had been included in the past.

Quoting from the program of studies:
“Students will . . . evaluate the importance of reconciling contending nationalist loyalties (Canadian nationalism, First Nations and Métis nationalism, ethnic nationalism in Canada, civic nationalism in Canada, Québécois nationalism, Inuit perspectives on nationalism)”

A great resource that I have found is the movie Kiviaq vs. Canada. The film is a documentary from filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk. The subject of the film, Kiviaq is an Inuit man who was moved to Edmonton as a boy. He discusses his life and in the process gives great insight into the concept of nationalist loyalty, marginalization, and assimilation. Kiviaq was given the name David Ward by his father, and grew up boxing, playing football (ironically for a period for the Edmonton Eskimos), and working as an alderman and radio host. Later in life, he went back to school and became a lawyer. The film also examines his legal battles to be recognized by his Inuit name, and the challenges to have the Inuit receive similar funding as other First Nations people in Canada. The McGraw-Hill Ryerson textbooks for Social Studies 20-1 and 20-2 each have a short section dedicated to the story.

In the context of ETEC 521, the film is a great example of Aboriginal film makers using the media to illuminate an issue. This is not presented as a movie about Inuit issues. The issues become clear through an examination of the subject, Kiviaq.

September 30, 2010   No Comments