Category — Module 1

Endangered Cultures

Wade Davis’ TED talk on endangered cultures.

Wade Davis, one of National Geographic’s Explorers in Residence, is an anthropologist and ethnobotanist advocating for indigenous cultures around the world. Out of the 6 000 languages that once existed, less than half are still taught to children placing them on an endangered list that supersedes the extinction rate within the biosphere. Without language, cultural identity is difficult to embrace. He contends that preserving the Earth’s cultural diversity, which he labels as the ethnosphere, requires the Western world to acknowledging the importance of indigenous cultures and indigenous ways of knowing before more cultures and their languages become extinct.

October 7, 2011   No Comments

Indigenous Knowledge and Pedagogy

Indigenous Knowledge & Pedagogy in First Nations Education: A Literature Review with Recommendations (Dr. Marie Battiste, 2002)

In response to the Government of Canada’s evolving commitment to work with First Nations to improve Aboriginal educational opportunities, Dr. Marie Battiste unveils a framework that extends beyond a program of steps to be implemented to illustrate the shift in perspective that will be required to move past the Eurocentric assumptions and prejudices that have undermined Aboriginal education and have been indifferent towards Indigenous knowledge. The task of breaking through the colonial mindset that continues to view Indigenous ways of knowing as inferior because it cannot be effectively categorized and analysed using Eurocentric logic involves acknowledging the value of Indigenous knowledge and re-examining the widespread acceptance that Eurocentric knowledge commands the most value. Battiste calls on the Canadian government to recognize that Aboriginal education is distinct and accept that they have a responsibility to protect Aboriginal knowledge, languages, and heritage.

Aboriginal learning and identity continue to be affected by curriculum and authoritative behaviour in Canadian schools that propagate a Eurocentric perspective of learning and thinking which have isolated Aboriginal people from educational opportunities that build individual and community wholeness. In the pursuit of balancing our educational system, indigenous ways of knowing must be valued and respected. Embracing the inclusion of indigenous knowledge in our schools moves beyond teaching indigenous heritage and creates transformative educational opportunities that seek to overcome the mistrust and deprivation that still emanate from colonization.





October 7, 2011   No Comments

Five Module 1 Links

1. David Bouchard,  (Author, Educator, Presenter)

“An acclaimed author of children’s books”.  Many of David’s books could be used as mentor texts to introduce the theme of First Nations people and provide background knowledge to the students.   David is Metis and admits he grew up not knowing of his heritage.  He has produced more than fifty books for readers of all ages.  In 2010, David was named to the Order of Canada.

2. Dr. Daniel Paul – Author, We Were Not the Savages – First Nation History

Mi’kmaq Elder, Dr. Daniel Paul has created a comprehensive website of information to help readers develop a better understanding of the history, hopes, and aspirations of First Nations People.   Dr. Paul was named to the Order of Canada in 2005.  He is an advocate for social justice and the eradication of racial discrimination.  He is an author and journalist who has received numerous awards.

3. Aboriginal Peoples Channel – National Film Board of Canada

28 films (from clips, to documentaries) providing an in-depth look at important issues in Aboriginal communities.   The videos within the NFB website have been licensed for use in all publicly funded Ontario schools.  The license grants performance rights for use in classrooms, libraries, and auditoriums.  Teachers and students can view 24/7.  I plan to review specific films for inclusion in my research.

4. Aboriginal Perspectives – Teachers’ Toolkit – Teaching Resources and Strategies for Elementary and Secondary Classrooms,  Ontario Ministry of Education, 2009

The Teacher’s Toolkit has been developed to provide Ontario teachers with the support they need to bring Aboriginal perspectives to life in the classroom.   The kit consists of two parts:  great ideas for teaching and learning and practical teaching strategies.  Part 1 helps teachers bring First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures and perspectives into the classroom.   Part 2 provides teachers with professionally developed teaching strategies created by experts from across Ontario.

5. Theytus Books 

Theytus Books is First Nation owned and operated and a leading North American publisher of indigenous voices.   K-12 resources include a diverse collection of books.   Goodbye Buffalo Bay by Larry Loyie is the story of Lawrence who has just made it through his final year of residential school.    Despite his best efforts, he finds himself in a few predicaments.   When he returns home, he is not yet a man but no longer a boy.  He struggles to find acceptance in a community that seems to have forgotten him.



September 28, 2011   No Comments

Connections to Reseach

My research interests currently lie in two areas  (I believe I will require a narrower focus).

1) resources for teachers/students at the intermediate (gr.7-8)  level to support indigenous education.  Online resources, websites, multimedia, video will be explored along with the use of mentor texts.  A focus may be on the residential school system in Ontario.

2) interactive resources/online resources which could be used for aboriginal students in Ontario to earn or recover credits.

An Aboriginal Education Strategy was launched in Ontario in 2007 with specific initiatives to support the learning and achievement of Aboriginal elementary and secondary students.   Part of the strategy  includes initiatives to increase knowledge and awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories, cultures and perspectives among all students.

Within the strategy, initiatives include:

  • Supporting eight Alternative Secondary School Programs to address the learning and cultural needs of urban Aboriginal youth.  The programs are run through Native Friendship Centres and help students complete their secondary school diploma.
  • Developing and implementing curriculum resources for teachers to reach Aboriginal students and to teach all students about First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures, traditions and histories.
  • Developing effective strategies to engage First Nation, Métis and Inuit students living in large urban centres and meet their learning needs through the Urban Aboriginal Education Project. Three pilot projects are currently underway in Toronto, Barrie and Thunder Bay.
  • Providing support to school boards to develop policies for voluntary, confidential Aboriginal student self-identification. This will help school boards gather reliable data to support Aboriginal student achievement. More than 80 school boards and school authorities have adopted or are developing policies.
  • Helping colleges, universities and Aboriginal institutions develop programs and new curriculum and provide services to ensure that more Aboriginal students participate and graduate.



September 28, 2011   No Comments

Module 1 Posts and Reflections

British Columbia Education Enhancement Agreements

The government’s website on enhancement agreements. Provides an A-Z on what the purposes of the agreements are, who the stakeholders are and how they are implemented in individual communities. The site also lists the school districts with enhancement agreements and links to the documents. I was appreciative of the fact that the site went the extra step to publicly acknowledge how the education services of the province of BC have failed the First Peoples in the province. There are also further links to the Shared Learnings: Integrating BC Aboriginal Content K-10 document encompassing almost 200 pages of lesson ideas, history and cultural approaches

Indigenous Education Institute

The Indigenous Education Research page promotes research and education into Indigenous Science, Teaching, Learning and Technology. The organization explains that its primary motive is which encompasses the preservation of ancient knowledge and promotion of contemporary application of such knowledge. It has links to many other publications from Indigenous groups who are utilizing “cultural immersion” approach to science and other topics. The IEI participates in developing resources with post-secondary organizations such as the University of Berkley and the national science foundation

World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium

World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium. The WINHEC states in its charter its main objective of pursuing the “educational rights of Indigenous people” and the goal of self determination by directing higher education. A huge “meetings of the minds” bulletin board with links to their research publications and journals. Also includes information/tools to introduce technology to elders in a culturally sensitive manner to allow communities to digitally capture oral history and perspectives. The site also links to the WINHEC journal which encompasses broad research mainly in the area of education for First Peoples.

Redwire Magazine

Digital site for the magazine publication redwire and related media from its readers/contributors. An interesting look at how youth are harnessing the power of technology to connect with and share with other FN youth. Has a native youth artist collection of media and writing. I had subscribed to the magazine for years for my classroom and had found the magazine to be less professionally produced then other magazines. However, it does an amazing job of providing a voice for young urban and rural Indigenous youth; their concerns, challenges and views.

First Nations Pedagogy

First nations experiential learning/authentic learning with a constructivist approach slant. The site explains the Indigenous views towards education and the value that is placed on the inherent ability of each learner. The pages delve deeply into how the rich traditional pedagogy amongst First Peoples embraced a strong experiential approach. Videos and resources, as well as simple approaches to incorporating an experiential approach to teaching are reviewed. The authors further create a very strong argument for this approach for all learners showcasing research and implementation techniques. They cite a variety of works including the research document of Dr. Marie Battiste

September 26, 2011   No Comments

Healthy Aboriginal Network

Healthy Aboriginal Network creates comic books that are designed to promote literacy, health and wellness. Their goal is to make aboriginal social issues ‘cool’. Some of their comics are placed on their YouTube channel to test the story and concept before publishing the comic. CTV BC | First Story also mentioned Healthy Aboriginal Network in the Second part (3 of 4) of their episode titled “Garden, Comics, Vanishing”.

September 26, 2011   No Comments

Sunchild E-Learning

Sunchild E-Learning delivers online classes to Aboriginal students. Just like traditional classes, students at Sunchild are expected to attend class at a certain time. The Sunchild students log into their computer to attend class. They can speak to their teacher through a headset or text message them if they have any questions.

September 26, 2011   No Comments

Aboriginal Education: The Past and Present

February 15th, 2009: “Your Voice” has as special on “Aboriginal Education: The Past and Present” on TVOParents. Some of
the topics discussed in the video are about the residential school legacy and how it affects the youth of today, schools on and off the reserve, and the effect of non-aboriginal teachers teaching aboriginal studies has on aboriginal students.

September 26, 2011   No Comments

Best Practices

The Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) lists the best practices in Aboriginal education from an initiative to a procedure that produces an outstanding result. These best practices “contribute to positive Aboriginal learning experiences, improved student well-being, increased success for Aboriginal students, and improved labour-market linkages for Aboriginal people.”

September 26, 2011   No Comments

Making the Classroom a Healthy Place

While watching the interview of Dr. Lee Brown, I was intrigued with his concept of making the classroom a healthy place by creating an emotionally competent person. His thesis “Making the Classroom a Healthy Place: The Development of Affective Competency in Aboriginal Pedagogy” goes into detail regarding the inclusion of proven educational methods in modern classroom environments.

September 26, 2011   No Comments