Category — Module 3

Preserving Indigenous knowledge with the use of Technology

Module 3

On reading Learning Module 3 and venturing on the site, I saw where Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is being used in many African countries with positive results. I wanted to know how IK is applied here in North America and what the reactions of Indigenous people are. So I decided to do research on IK here in Canada. Below are some of the sites I found.

1.The site below is the Aboriginal Education Research center which offers a variety of information on the development and achievements on IK in Canada.

Educational Decolonization is a key activity of the Aboriginal Education Research Centre. Through the development of innovative research projects with diverse partners, AERC is exploring many facets of Aboriginal education as it develops vibrant ethical dialogic processes and results that contribute to increased success for Aboriginal learners” ( Retrieved November 7, 2012).

Below are the objectives and achievements of the AERC.


The Aboriginal Education Research Centre (AERC) at the University of Saskatchewan emerged as a response to the College of Education’s desire to create and coordinate research activity concerning First Nations, Métis and Inuit education. Established as the number one developmental priority in the College of Education’s 2003-2007 Integrated Plan, AERC seeks to achieve the following goals:

•Research and study the needs of Aboriginal student populations, successful pedagogy and practices, and experimental methods to assist in shaping future policy and directions of provincial and band schools;

•Improve the educational capacity of schools to retain and meet the needs of Aboriginal students, while improving the knowledge and sensitivity of other students and school staff to Aboriginal Peoples;

•Develop supportive partnerships with Aboriginal communities, Elders, institutions and organizations;

•Build local and Canadian capacity to value and learn from the knowledge and educational practices of diverse Aboriginal Peoples;

•Mobilize knowledge and practices among educational institutions through dialogues, conferences, publications and electronic resources on Aboriginal education;

•Develop research activities as decolonizing sites to improve Indigenous education across disciplines, across Canada and internationally;

•Dialogue with Aboriginal communities to develop collaborative protocols and practices for ethical research, learning and teaching;

•Support and enrich graduate students and faculty in scholarly interests and research in Aboriginal education;

•Create local, provincial, national and international partnerships with other pre-eminent universities and groups.

AERC offers synergistic activity around Aboriginal education through respectful dialogues with representatives of diverse Aboriginal organizations and communities.  Collaborative partnerships include scholars, students, Elders, and others who wish to address transformative educational theory, policies, practices and praxis. AERC activities are intended to improve education experiences of Aboriginal Peoples, as well as broaden research capacity in the College of Education. ( Retrieved November 7, 2012)

2.The site below is organized solely by first Nation people for the enhancement of education among First Nation community.

Below are the objectives of the Consortium:

The First Nations Adult Higher Education Consortium (FNAHEC) is composed of ten Indigenous colleges and institutional members in the provinces of Alberta and Manitoba. FNAHEC is founded on the premise that it is First Nations people’s own infrastructures and mechanisms that will comprehensively address the development needs of constituent First Nations through the promotion and enhancement of respective cultures.

Since the founding of FNAHEC, members have collectively or individually established linkages and partnerships with Aboriginal groups and various other agencies and institutions (both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal) that focus on Aboriginal learning. FNAHEC has also reached out to establish relationships and affiliations at the international level, for example with the American Indian Higher Education Consortium and with the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium and its Board of Affirmation (Accreditation).

Members of FNAHEC have been directly involved in education conferences and other major Aboriginal events. For example, FNAHEC hosted the 6th World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) in 2002, which was attended by 3,500 people from 26 countries. These various initiatives have contributed to the design and implementation of programs, courses and services to address some of the remaining gaps identified.

Members of FNAHEC have also taken the civic responsibility to offer a wide range of workshops and seminars which address the needs of all learners, including Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners. It is important to FNAHEC that the initiatives of the Aboriginal Learning Knowledge Centre mesh with those of FNAHEC as a vehicle for knowledge exchange, when promoting standards of excellence and also when contributing to the effective resolution of Aboriginal learning issues. As such, the Knowledge Centre’s strategic plan reflects the objectives toward which FNAHEC strives. ( Retrieved November 7, 2012


3. I found this site from the Government of Canada out lining the differences between  western knowledge and indigenous knowledge. The site also has a very interesting graph showing the factors influencing traditional knowledge and western knowledge.  The site also has various links such as:

■Why Protect Traditional Knowledge?

■How to Protect Traditional Knowledge

■Limitations of the Intellectual Property Rights Regime in Protecting Traditional Knowledge

■International Initiatives to Protect Traditional Knowledge (Retrieved November 7, 2012)


4. This is another very interesting site from the Heritage department of Canada giving information on Indigenous Knowledge. It also has many links to information on the endeavors of indigenous people in using their traditional knowledge and sharing with the western society. Below is an excerpt from the site:


“However, Indigenous Knowledge is not confined to knowledge of the physical sciences. It is spiritual as well as ecological and embraces ways of knowing that are sometimes characterized as cultural or artistic. Viewing Indigenous Knowledge through categories such as art, science or culture, however, tends to fragment its inherent unity. As Greg Young-Ing describes it, the Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous peoples;

…encompasses a broad range of Indigenous knowledge ranging from: ancient stories, songs and dances; traditional architecture and agricultural; biodiversity related and medicinal, herbal and plant knowledge; ancient motifs, crests and other artistic designs; various artistic mediums, styles, forms and techniques; spiritual and religious institutions and their symbols; and various other forms of Indigenous knowledge” (Retrieved November 12, 2012).


5. The site below informs visitors to the meaning of Indigenous knowledge. I believe it is from an aboriginal perspective. The site provides excerpts of short films of indigenous people, their religious ceremonies, arts and craft, etc.

November 7, 2012   No Comments

Five Module 3 Posts

 1) First Nations House, St. George Campus, University of Toronto where Aboriginal students can seek culturally appropriate services.  It is home of the Aboriginal U of T students, but also provides a link to Toronto’s aboriginal community, allowing others in the university to learn and network.

2) First Nations House Magazine, provides a “glimpse of the richness that the Aboriginal community has to offer at university and society at large”.   It appears 5 issues were created and magazine covers are provided, as well as, the test of a  few feature articles, “Identifying in Film: Exploring Indigenous filmmakers about exploring identity through their work”, “Take a Number Please: A First Year Student dishes on being identified by her Indian status”, “My Degree and Me: a personal narrative of a graduating student”.

3) Aboriginal Education at Universities and Colleges Portal   Our discussions led me to want to know more about programs of study geared to FN students in  Ontario universities and colleges.    I explored the various programs offered for teacher education, undergraduate, graduate work.   Further exploration in to the various  sites and programs provided greater insight regarding research.

4)  Educate Youth in Communities: Thunder Bay mayor, Keith Hobbs. Northern Ontario’s First Nations Voice.   An article examining the  practice of sending Aboriginal teens from across northwestern Ontario to Thunder Bay for high school as they are put in a vulnerable position.   Schooling in northern communities to grade 12. Online education was not mentioned.

5) Fighting Racism with Facts on Crime  An article from  Aboriginal leaders in Thunder Bay are criticizing the media’s role in creating a “climate of fear” underlined with racism in the city, following the high profile given to the latest death of a young Native man and recent media reports of Thunder Bay being the “murder capital” of Canada.  This comment at the end of the article was very interesting ….”  much of the growth of the Aboriginal population in Thunder Bay is due to Native people coming into the city for education opportunities, either in high school or post-secondary education.  What’s the best way to get people away from crime? Give them an education.”

** Nov. 28 – I returned to link #5 to find that the article is no longer available.  Here is a link to all education stories from Wawatay News Online.






November 11, 2011   No Comments

Asking Questions – The Purpose of ETEC 521?

This weekend, I spent some time perusing the BC Ministry of Education Website – ABORIGINAL EDUCATION. All looks well on the website. Numbers of  pictures suitably containing FN students, attractive art work and a spattering of indigenous language. What ETEC 521 has done for (to) me is developed the need for me to question. Who constructed this web page? Who chose the information gathered?  There certainly is a plethora of data, Enhancement Agreements, Resources, Research,  . . .Is the data gathering system/tool culturally neutral? Who chose the research? I should not be so cynical. Maybe there are lots of FN people constructing the website and choosing carefully and responsibly the information contained on the website.

I am not sure if I got too much in the way of fodder for my paper – but I am now going to receive updates should the website change and I am now on the Abnet list serve.

November 8, 2011   No Comments

Web 2.0 for Aboriginal cultural survival: A new Australian outback movement

It is the view of some Aboriginals that the younger generation have grown up in a wider society that fails to recognise the significance of their knowledge and maintaining their indigenous identity which has led to the apparent abandonment of Aboriginal culture in preference for a more dominant Western one.  Against this background, the Walkatjurra Cultural Centre, an Aboriginal organisation has taken on the mantle to explore how cost-effective web 2.0 initiatives can be used to revitalise indigenous culture and enhance community development.  In addition, this article highlights the outcomes of a community-based youth empowerment project involving university researchers and Aboriginal community members that was designed to help bridge the intergenerational knowledge divide.

November 7, 2011   No Comments

First Nations and the Digital Divide

The main purpose of this article is to outline initiatives that are employed to narrow the divide between remote First Nations communities and their access to new communication technologies. It also highlights several Community Access Program (CAP) sites such as the Tsawwassen First Nations Elders site, Tsawwassen First Nations Youth site, and the Kiwassa Neighborhood House that are integral in providing access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs), to those who face barriers to access.

The article offers examples of ways that aboriginal youth have adapted ICTs into their life which includes using digital media to  craft stories told by elders into films; children as young as ten years old have been learning how to use graphic design programs and build websites; younger members of communities are helping elders to record community history and access valuable information over the Internet, among others ways.


November 7, 2011   No Comments

Indigenous Knowledge and Resource Management in Northern Australia. Making collective memory with computers

This article highlights discoveries made from a research project that was conducted to obtain information on ways that many Indigenous people in northern Australia use digital technologies in promoting the interests of their traditional groupings, their clan lands, histories, connections and places. In addition, the article examined the ways that Indigenous peoples use possibilities the technologies offered in producing seeming definitive representations to achieve political ends when dealing with representatives of mainstream Australia.

November 7, 2011   No Comments

“Aboriginal Culture in the Digital Age” Aboriginal Voice Cultural Working Group Paper

This paper gives readers a general view on the implications that information and communication technologies has on aboriginals’ ways of living, thinking and knowing.  To inform the research, three major topics that directly affect Aboriginal peoples were examined.  These include the importance of culture and identity, the widespread reality of ICT and the transformative impact it is having on our everyday economic, social and cultural life and the preservation and protection of Aboriginal languages, ecology and heritage.

November 7, 2011   No Comments

The use of information and communication technology for the preservation of Aboriginal culture: the Badimaya people of Western Australia

This article provides a discussion on the uses of ICT in key areas fundamental to the continuing presence of the Badimaya culture.  ICT initiatives explored includes:

Geographical Information Systems- the Portal Framework

A vector-based map in a geographic information system (GIS) that was used to show where different generations of the Badimaya lived and what languages are spoken today by their descendants.

Multimedia Clips- Content Management

This was used to preserve the Badimaya language that many feared would be eventually lost with time.

Digital Document Archives- Knowledge Management

This technology was used to preserve many aspects of the the Badimaya culture. For example, surviving documents could be digitally scanned and made available for access.

November 7, 2011   No Comments

Module 3: AWABA database

The University of Newcastle, Australia maintains an online database of artifacts and documents relating to Aboriginal culture from the Newcastle-Lake Macquarie region.  The database categorizes the materials under the headings of culture, history, images, people, and places.  Unfortunately, much of the database’s contents were researched, written, and codified by non-Indigenous researchers and originate from the late 19th and 20th-centuries when research was practiced along the lines criticized by Smith.  The reproductions of paints, for instance, depicts Aborigines scantily clothed in sometimes primitive stances (feet apart, arms in the air) surrounded by a peaceful and placid—a romantic—view of nature.


The University of Newcastle.  A database of historical materials relating to the Aborigines of the Newcastle-Lake Macquarie Region.  Retrieved from

November 7, 2011   No Comments

Module 3: Indigenous Research Methodology?

This is a manifesto of the Umulliko Research Team which seeks to conduct research on Indigenous cultures in ways that places and keeps Indigenous voices at the center of the research in the process of advancing decolonization.  The writers echo Smith (1999) when they point out that research is a Western construct and practice that retells the story of colonization and hegemony.  This particular research team seeks to find ways to centralize the voices of those who have been silenced these many centuries.

Although this is a short manifesto, it is useful to research on place-based learning because it outlines some of the issues regarding research that has been done to date.   Much of this research has been used to implement policy including educational ones, which have succeeded in further alienating Indigenous cultures.

Smith, L. (1999).  Introduction.  In Decolonizing methodologies:  Research and Indigenous peoples.  London:  Zed Books, Ltd, 1-18.

The University of Newcastle, Australia.  Indigenous research methodology.  Retrieved from

November 7, 2011   No Comments