Posts from — October 2011

Statement Connecting Weblog Posts to Research Interests

Originally, my research interests on the topic of technology and indegeneity centered around language loss and its effect on cultural identity; however, as I compile my resources, my thoughts instinctively lead me to envision how I can incorporate this information into classroom experiences for my students. Moreover, a recurrent theme has emerged in many of the articles that share an indigenous perspective regarding the future prospects of reconciling the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians and it has caught my attention because I believe I am in a privileged position as a teacher to effect change. Misperception radiates from Eurocentric assumptions and has clouded the consciousness of a nation to the point that Canadians are left largely unaware of Aboriginal history and remain indifferent towards indigenous knowledge. The research path that has progressed from this theme leads me towards developing elementary curriculum to illuminate historical and contemporary Aboriginal perspectives that challenge Eurocentric thinking, and the need for a more balanced understanding of the impact colonialism has had on Aboriginal rights and identity as Canada’s indigenous people. I am mindful that my use of technology in this capacity must evoke student’s critical curiosity to build media literacy and initiate a new comprehension of what has been previously determined as fact (Freire, 1997) without unintentionally perpetuating the silent curriculum that our educational system was founded on or encouraging the Eurocentric social and political economy Canada has become accustomed to.


Freire, P. (1997) Pedagogy of the Heart. New York: Continuum.


October 31, 2011   No Comments

Module 3: Media

Excerpt: Storytellers in Motion Episode 12: The Maori Voice Part One:

Excerpt: Storytellers in Motion Episode 13: The Maori Voice Part Two:

The series looks at storytellers in Canada and other countries. These two episodes look at the huge resurgence in Maori film and how it has preserved language and culture, as against predictions that their languages would be gone by now.  Part Two follows Barry Barclay, a very well known Maori film maker, to England and he talks bout some of the challenges he has faced. There are other resources of interest around his latest documentary Kiapara Affair which documents struggle of a small community to stop commercial overfishing in their harbour. This article documents political interference in the final cut of the documentary:

The Kaipara Affair, New Zealand, 2005. Director: Barry Barclay



Storytellers in Motion: ImagineNATIVE 2008 – Discussing the issues in mainstream media from the aboriginal perspective, and the rational for starting ImagineNATIVE:

ISUMA: I am looking at examples of the way media can be used to give students an interactive experience with language and culture. Isuma, in addition to video resources has many excellent teaching resources – this is one example of an interactive resource developed around their film The Journals of Knud Rasmussen:

in Teacher Resources area:


Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy in First Nations Education A Literature Review with Recommendations.  Battiste, Marie (2002) This article details features of traditional knowledge and links these considerations to learning styles and instructional methods. These recommendations went forward to INAC, where they were applied I have not found yet.  Retrieved from:

October 30, 2011   No Comments

Nanisiniq Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or The IQ Adventure!

This is the website of Nanisiniq Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, or The IQ Adventure! an interactive sea voyage of Nunavut, a collaboration between the people of Nunavut, the government of Nunavut and several university partners.

It is a journey, studded with images of art and artifacts, as well as interactions with Inuit stories and elders. It is a self-representation of Inuit culture in a virtual space, designed to educate. The site appears to have a non-native audience in mind, but could also be used within the community.

For a detailed discussion of the site and its implications see:

Cynthia J. Alexander et. al. (2009). Inuit cyberspace: The struggle for access for inuit qaujimajatuqangit. Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d’études canadiennes 43(2), 220-249. Retrieved January 22, 2011, from Project MUSE database.

“The case study’s focus on environmental stewardship reveals how online representations of ancient knowledge systems can inspire postcolonial patterns of engagement between humans, and between humans and the environment. ” (Alexander et. al., 2009)


October 30, 2011   No Comments

Imagining Indians


Further to my quest for finding aboriginal spaces in cyberspace I have come across This is a paper doll timeline project created in 2000 by an aboriginal artist skawennati tricia fragnito. It traces some of aboriginal history from 1490 to 2490 through journal entries and outfits for the paper doll.

Does this project create an educational space for an aboriginal artist to self-represent her perspective of the image and history of indigenous peoples in North America? Artists have historically represented both the dominant cultural practices of the time, but also have acted as activists and produced works that subverted mainstream culture. Can a presence in a virtual environment have the same effect? I have asked for an interview with the artist to ask her opinion, but from what I have seen there is a movement among many aboriginal artists, world wide, to create spaces to connect them to each other, but also to put forward their telling of the past and their vision of the present and future.

This is then, an educational space. Where aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples can meet and exchange information, and this information can be created by indigenous peoples. This does give contemporary FN peoples an opportunity to control the message. To me this is a very good reason for FN communities to educate themselves and their youth about electronic technology. You have to understand the medium in order to re-purpose it for your own ends.

image from

Powow outfit circa 2273 from

October 30, 2011   No Comments

First Nations Students – All Students!

Thank you to our cohort colleague, Jasmeet for sharing with me Learning styles of American Indian/Alaska Native Students: A Review of the Literature and Implications for Practice.  This article published in the Journal of American Indian Education included an impressive list of resources worthy of further investigation. Also significant to this article was the urging that a study of FN learning styles was not intended to further stereotype FN people but to encourage educators to develop sufficient knowledge of, understanding of, and relationship with their students to be able to better support their learning.

“In order to provide a viable educational environment for American Indian/Alaska Native students, teachers should try to identify the learning styles of their students, match their teaching styles to students’ learning styles for difficult tasks (Lippitt, 1993), and broaden “deficit thinking” learning styles through easier tasks and drills. All students, regardless of ethnicity, stand to benefit from an understanding of different cultural values.” (Pewewardy, 2002 p. 34)

Would that educators followed these wise words for all students. Our current British Columbian school system is not designed, organized, employed to meet the needs of our FN students. Is it designed to meet the needs of any of our students? This article calls for personalization of learning for all students.

“This research indicates that curriculum or educational models that select one body of information to be presented to all students at a set time and at some forced rate cannot possibly accommodate all learners.” (Pewewardy, 2002 p.) Anywhere, anytime learning? Sound familiar?

Personalized Learning in British Columbia This just out on Friday Oct. 27 .

Pewewardy, C. (2002). Learning styles of american indian/alaska native students:a review of the literature and implications for practice. Journal of American indian Education, 41(3), Retrieved from

October 29, 2011   No Comments

CyberPowWow – Unnatural Resources

This 2004 digital and Real Life event was a gathering of artist and curators designed to explore the unnatural resources of cyberspace. Were there the same distinctions in thinking about pixles, data, bandwidth and networks between Native and Non-Native thinking as there are about the ‘real’ world?

Can events like this that are situated both in cyberspace and the real world participate in the debate over the place of technology in First Nations education? Can it make explicit the distinctions in the values and needs of the communities in a way that would help First Nations youth avoid the many potential pitfalls of engaging in a technological world?

October 23, 2011   No Comments

Native Representations in Video Games

This is a video that looks at historical representations of Aboriginal people in digital  video games. Not very favourable, but as the director says:

“When it comes right down to it, I’d much rather focus my efforts on putting out new representations in games rather than revisiting old ones. This is my final nod to the past as I look ahead to the future of Native representations in digital games.” Elizabeth Lameman

Using games in education, especially video games and online games, is not new in education. There even exists a World of Warcraft for Education Wiki. What is different in this sentiment is the desire for self-determined images, representations, and expressions of culture. Re-purposing western, mainstream, gaming technology for and by Aboriginal people including youth.

October 23, 2011   No Comments

Bridging the gap of culture and education between non-indigenous and Indigenous groups with technology

Indigenous people hope for a better life may be seen in other aspirations other than through education itself. While education is a necessity it does not seem to offer much hope as their forefathers in spite of their learning experiences, though limited it may have been, never experienced success without numerous hardships and struggle, to level of perceived success. Limitations and challenging factors such as finance, access to basic needs and limited exposure to other non-indigenous cultures have no doubt kept indigenous groups from aspiring for educational achievement in more modern forms, which may be secondary to escaping hardship through hardwork and dedication to cultural practices and oral traditions passed down through many generations.

Technology for the indigenous group is seen as being “out there”  and not crucial for survival as viewed by non-indigenous groups. Technology is not culturally relevant and therefore is not absorbed into the culture as readily as with with non-indigenous groups. The reliance on technology is viewed more on its ability to record and transmit culture and not on its ability to improve the way of life of the people or enhance their learning experiences. The hope of this assignment then will be to bridge the gap of culture and education between the two groups showing how technology can be used to both enhance cultural and learning experiences.

October 20, 2011   No Comments

Did You Know?

Aboriginal People’s Television Network (APTN): Did You Know?

This four part series comprises an episode of APTN produced documentary television show The Sharing Circle from its 16th season. The Sharing Circle investigates current Aboriginal issues while providing insight into Indigenous ways of knowing and spiritual practice. In this episode, Did You Know?, the relationship between Aboriginal people and Canada is investigated through people’s interpretation of historical facts that have significantly impacted Aboriginal life, but still remain largely unknown by the general population.  It highlights the lack of knowledge Canadians have about their own history and sheds light on the origin of some of the issues that continue to affect the political, economical, and social landscape for Aboriginal people today.

October 20, 2011   No Comments

Aboriginal Students – Off Reserve

As I have stated before, the area that encompasses my school district has no reserve, no band school, no officially recognized territory. The numbers of students of aboriginal ancestry attending our schools is steadily increasing. The numbers of students of aboriginal ancestry graduating from our schools is low.

I decided this week to investigate education of aboriginal students off reserve. From my last posts and the direction that these posts will be taking it must be obvious by now that I am unsure as to my focus for research.

I stumbled upon a 2004 report by the C.D. Howe institute titled, Aboriginal Off Reserve – Education:Time for Action. The report focuses on British Columbia and uses Foundation Skills Assessment results to compare achievement of aboriginal and non aboriginal students. Also provided in the report are proposed reforms for Aboriginal primary and secondary education.

This publication was followed in 2008 by Understanding the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Gap in Student Performance.

Richards, J., & Vining, A. C.D. Howe Institute, (2004). Aboriginal off reserve education:time for action. Retrieved from

Richards, J., Hove, J., & Afolabi, K. C.D. Howe Institute, (2008). Understanding the aboriginal/non aboriginal gap in student performance:lesson from british columbia. Retrieved from

October 18, 2011   No Comments