Indigenous Knowledge and Technology

Module 2

1.This is an interesting site which shows the importance of indigenous knowledge in our society.

Below is an excerpt from the site

“What is Indigenous Knowledge (IK)?

Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is generally understood as knowledge which is unique to a given culture, society or community and which is deeply rooted in cultural traditions, values and belief systems. Indigenous knowledge is a complex system of knowledge which draws on hundreds of years of wisdom and experience. These knowledge systems are dynamic, changing with the addition of new information. Because it is based on experience, each culture, society or community will have a system of knowledge that is distinct from all others. The transmission of this knowledge from generation to generation can be through the use of traditions such as songs, stories, dreams and legends. Ecological methods, crafts, songs, foods, medicines, art, dance and music are all drawn from Indigenous knowledge” (Retrieved, November 7, 2012)


2.This site is about Indigenous Knowledge exchange. The site gives an overview of the program and the various topics that will be covered in the programs.


3. This site informs us of the link between Indigenous knowledge and society.

The site entitled; The role of the participatory web for indigenous knowledge, gives information on Indigenous Knowledge and Social media, IK and Technology, etc. (Retrieved November 7, 2012).

4. In my research I found this very interesting site, owned by 100% aboriginals who are using technology to enhance education in the community among youths, women, and the elders.  Invert media is an interactive web based program. The site has links to short films of a variety of work done by the group especially among the aboriginal youths in the communities. Below is a quote from the site

“Invert Media’s work is based on respect for indigenous knowledge.  Cultural and community sources of knowledge are recognized and meaningfully engaged.  Great care is taken to ensure that Indigenous knowledge frameworks are not watered down or compromised” (Retrieved, November 7, 2012).


5. This is a UNESCO site which shows how technology is used to preserve cultural traditions, languages, etc. The site is entitled Reinforcing the transmission of Mayangna culture, knowledge and language.



November 7, 2012   No Comments

Module 4 Postings

FIRST VOICES (Brentwood Bay, BC)

First Voices is a suite of web-based tools and services designed to support Aboriginal peoples engaged in language archiving, language teaching and culture revitalization.
 The First Voices language tutor is a free software that can be downloaded and local language archived in it, games and other language learning activities can be developed with the software. It support instructor and student tracking. The First Voices Language Archive contains about 60 different language communities at this time, some publicly accessible, some not.


The First Nations Interactive Holistic Lifelong Learning Model:

I really liked this interactive flash model for holistic learning. It is a good example of how technology can support the interconnected webs of relationships in First nations communities and in education.


A Victory for the Tsilhqot’in

Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot’in Fight for Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)
This is a fabulous film that shows the power that media can have to change the course of events when a community decides to take a stand. Blue Gold expresses the Tsilhqot’in peoples’ unanimous rejection of Taseko Mines Ltd.’s proposal to drain Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in order to stockpile mining waste.  They had help to make the film from R.A.V.E.N. and assistance with fundraising. This is an approach being taken more and more by small indigenous communities to reach the mainstream population – many of whom support the causes if they know about them.


Alanis Obomsawin

One of Canada’s most distinguished filmmakers, she has worked at the NFB for over 40 years. when I was researching aboriginal film I found out that she was the director of the incredible film that I saw years ago:Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance . She has made so many films and is passionate about speaking out for aboriginal people. She also received an Honourary Degree from UBC recently where she gave a speech honouring the NFB for supporting her work.


National Panel on First Nations Education: News Release – Equitable Funding, Language, Culture and Technology Key to Improving High School Graduation Rates

It looks like there is money being made available to make some concrete improvements in First Nations education.  Calls for improvement in funding, integrating culture and language into curriculum and ensuring equitable access for all First Nations students has been going on for a long time. “Closing the gap between educational achievement for youth in mainstream society and First Nations’ youth is the single biggest shot in the arm we can give Canada’s economy where demand for skilled and knowledge-based workers is likely to remain greater than our ability to produce them,” said Panel Chair Scott Haldane.


Hui, Stephen, First Nations Students need Internet Technology, advocates say, Georgia Straight, September 3, 2009.

Even if remote communities have technology often it is difficult at home and school to make good use of them because of the poor bandwidth. Remote communities all over Canada have been promised better bandwidth in these communities but most are still waiting. Technology would open access to online support for high school specialist courses in maths and sciences, technology skills, programs that can support digital music and art in areas where only four or five students makes it not economical to have a teacher in the community.














November 28, 2011   No Comments

Module 4: Respecting Cultural Knowledge

This page from the ANKN website features a set of guidelines for educators, elders, teachers, researchers, writers and illustrators.  The guidelines were compiled after meetings and workshops with participants such as members of the Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative, and the final document was ratified by representatives from the Native Educator Organizations.  The guide encourages educators and curriculum designers to incorporate indigenous knowledge into the classroom in ways that are beneficial to all, constructive, and respectful.

Significantly, ANKN recognizes Elders as authorities on cultural matters; yet, the guidelines are also geared to them.  Aside from the sharing of knowledge appropriate to the place, Elders have a responsibility to review contracts, release forms, and research transcripts, including papers that are to be made public.   They must also secure copyright for all cultural information that is documented.  These are important aspects of the Elders’ job description.  Not only does it ensure that accurate and appropriate information is shared, it protects this knowledge from commodification and misuse.

Guidelines for illustrators and writers specify that traditional names for places and objects must be retained as much as possible and authorship must be shared with individuals in the community who contributed to the creative work.  They must also ensure that sensitive information be made accessible as dictated by Elders.

This site is useful for research on place-based learning because it helps educators evaluate the source of the knowledge that they may acquire for their classes.  It is also enables them to recognize and validate prior knowledge that students bring to the learning environment.

November 27, 2011   No Comments

Siem Smun’eem – Indigenous Research Initiative
Siem Smun’eem – Indigenous Child Welfare Research Network. This organization is a group with membership coming from Universities, agencies and communities in British Columbia to create a unified vision of best practices in conducting research in Aboriginal communities. The mandate is to move research in the direction of local control and use. The site describes their goal, “to establish a Research Institute in the province of British Columbia to ensure our children and families are nurtured with stories, traditional teachings and practices relevant to our diverse territories, languages and teachings.” There are multiple links to relevant articles dealing with protocols and practices to conducting research within First Nations communities.


November 27, 2011   No Comments

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