Walking Together for a Better Future

Walking Together for a Better Future (Linda Kaser & Judy Halbert, 2011)

The recent introduction of Aboriginal Enhancement Agreements as part of the process of developing shared responsibility for Aboriginal Education has helped districts and community members realize the importance of working together to best meed the needs of Aboriginal learners in BC. Although signing these documents make them official, many questions have remained as to how to ensure the actions agreed to are implemented.

In 2008, the Director of the provincial Aboriginal Education Enhancement Branch approached the Network of Performance Based Schools (NPBS) to see if they were interested in developing a partnership focusing on how signed enhancement agreements could be best put into practice. This led to the development of the Aboriginal Enhancement Network of Schools (AENS) which has set about to help school districts and their Aboriginal communities in the development of cross-cultural understanding and Indigenous ways of knowing that encourage new perspectives on best practices for learning.



November 25, 2011   No Comments

Path of the Elders

On the Path of the Elders

On the Path of Elders is an interactive animated game aimed for a Grade 4 – 10 audience that explores the treaty process in north-western and north-eastern Ontario from an Aboriginal perspective. The story of the Mushkegowuk and Anishinaabe Peoples is shared through elder accounts and historical documents that provide alternate interpretations of  the how the signing of Treaty No. Nine (the James Bay Treaty) transpired in the area known as Nishnawbe Aski Nation. While providing an opportunity to document elder knowledge as a means of revitalizing this distinct Aboriginal language and culture, the game format also appeals to a younger generation of learners that are missing vital cultural information as a result of the Canadian governments attempts to assimilate Aboriginal people into Non-Aboriginal society and/or the lack of attention Aboriginal history has been given in schools. This is a resource that stands to benefit Canadian youth in the process of decolonization so that a better understanding of Aboriginal treatment in Canada can be achieved.

The site also includes teacher guides broken down by grade and a gallery of primary and secondary resources to substantiate the story behind the game.

November 7, 2011   No Comments

Native Issues

CBC Archives: Native Issues

This collection of CBC Archives includes 30 radio clips and 36 television clips under 12 topics focusing on Aboriginal peoples. Broadcasts span several decades, from 1955 to present times. Topics range from celebrating Aboriginal heritage to social and economic issues to Aboriginal rights and political activism. Each presentation offers background history and facts to better understand its context, and the site includes connections for teachers to additional educational material and resources to extend awareness and understanding of the topics.

November 3, 2011   No Comments

Stolen Children: Truth & Reconciliation

Stolen Children: Truth & Reconciliation

Sponsored by CBC, Stolen Children: Truth & Reconciliation is rich collection of resources that help provide a historical account of residential schools and their lasting impact on Aboriginal people. It also documented the efforts of the The Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), which was established by the Canadian government as an independent body to oversee the safe disclosure of individual experiences by former residential school students in a culturally respectful manner as part of the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Their mandate also includes helping reconcile the relationship between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Canadians by raising awareness around the impact of the residential school sytem and its lasting effects that continue to affect people and communities today, although it’s a part of history that many Canadian’s continue to be fully aware of.

The site includes current news coverage as well as CBC Digital Archive videos to help illustrate a timeline of Aboriginal education policies in Canada. The sharp contrast in early propaganda produced to encourage residential school attendance to the 2008 apology by the Canadian government provide an eye-opening view to begin processing a more comprehensive understanding of the need for social and restorative justice.

November 1, 2011   No Comments

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

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

America’s Native Prisoner’s of War

Aaron Huey: America’s Native Prisoners of War (TED Talk)

Aaron Huey set out to photograph poverty in the United States to put a face on this social issue. It led him to the Lakota people, historically known as Sioux, living on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. The deplorable conditions he found people living in there prompted him to shift his focus more specifically towards understanding how their urgent need for social justice can be predominately ignored by the majority of the population. As a result of his photographs and developing relationships with the people at Pine Ridge, he felt compelled to investigate the link between their current situation and the historical events and government decisions that have directly or indirectly involved the Lakota nation. Our first step towards a remedy, he suggests, is acknowledging the timeline of impact and tumultuous relationship between indigenous people and dominant culture that was built on misunderstanding and misrepresentation that seems to give permission to others to ignore the destitute conditions he has been photographing at Pine Ridge over the last five years.

October 17, 2011   No Comments

The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of The Hudson’s Bay Company

The Other Side of the Ledger: An Indian View of The Hudson’s Bay Company – 70 minutes

Filmed in 1972 through the National Film Board of Canada for their Aboriginal Perspectives film collection, directors Martin Defalco and Willie Dunn investigate an Aboriginal perspective of how Canada’s indigenous people have been impacted by colonialism, how land was acquired by the Crown, the commodification of Aboriginal culture by the Hudson Bay Company and popular culture, how the treaty process emerged, and reasons why a cycle of dependency through poverty was created. The resulting loss of voice in decisions affecting themselves and loss of pride in their culture continue to affect Aboriginal people today. Narrator George Manuel, who was president of the National Indian Brotherhood at the time, also demystifies the level of compensation awarded to Aboriginal people who were registered inhabitants of a reserve.

A 3:00 excerpt is also available and can be a sufficient classroom resource to support teaching.



October 15, 2011   No Comments

I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind

I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind – 4:41

Written and directed by Canadian author and broadcaster Thomas King, I’m Not The Indian You Had in Mind challenges the stereotypical image of Aboriginal people in the media. Drawing on examples from western films, commercialized artifacts, and pervasive language, we begin to see the influence these images have had on the world’s perception of what it means to be Indian and how First Nations people today are working to break down the barriers that have arisen through this Eurocentric prejudice.



October 10, 2011   No Comments

2010 Report on the Status of BC First Nations Languages

2010 Report on the Status of BC First Nations Languages

Language is at the core of our identity, members of a family and nations; it provides the underpinnings of our relationship to culture, the land, spirituality, and the intellectual life of a nation.

According to this report by the First People’s Council, a provincial Crown corporation focused on the status of First Nations language, arts and culture as well as support for First Nations communities trying to recover and sustain their heritage, 60% of First Nations languages in Canada are indigenous to British Columbia. Out of the 32 distinct languages and 59 dialects in BC, all are considered to be endangered with 8 being severely endangered, 22 nearly extinct and 3 already extinct.

Fluent First Nations language speakers comprise only 5.1% of the population in 204 BC First Nations community and that minority percentage continues to dwindle. 52% the of these speakers are over the age of 65. The sharp decline in language learning over the last 100 years can be largely attributed to the aggressive assimilation policies enacted by the government and carried out in residential schools.

With the looming threat of First Nations languages potentially becoming extinct, the urgency for revitalization projects has come to the forefront. While language learning within schools is not yet sufficient to effect substantial change, it is gaining momentum as First Nations communities in BC know that language is an invaluable source of indigenous knowledge and cultural identity that can contribute greatly to an individual’s and community’s healing process. The numbers of language learners is steadily increasing as new resources are developed. The First People’s Councils also calls on First Nations communities to welcome collaboration with each other  to maximize the use of available resources and the Canadian government to commit to protecting Aboriginal language and culture through legislation so language revitalization and sustainability become a reality for BC’s First Nations languages.

Fact Sheet
video: Saving First Nations Languages

October 10, 2011   No Comments