Module 4: Reaching Geographically Isolated Aborigines

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework seeks to reach Aboriginal students in Wales who are often excluded from traditional (Western) educational opportunities.  The organization has designed and executed various elearning programs to help students earn Level I and II Land Conservation certification.  The rationale for the project seems very mainstream, and could be the rationale for any elearning program:  to reach students who are geographically separated from the learning institution.  Although the organization has many experienced teachers involved with the project, there is no mention of Elders or even tribes members in the decision-making process.  Neither is there much discussion of the teaching methodologies used, aside from mentioning that the courses use a great deal of storytelling.  A report on the project states that students were engaged by having them design learning objects that could be used by future students.  The quality of the students’ work, however, made it unsuitable for future learners.

The project seems to have several issues.  It does not use the expertise of Elders from the tribes, and we are not sure if the teachers use a place-based method of teaching that takes an holistic approach to land conservation.  We can’t be sure, for instance, whether the students’ prior knowledge about places and natural phenomenon is validated or whether it is ignored for a Western concept of place.  One cannot be too sure whether the organization relies heavily on storytelling.  Storytelling might be a dominant way of transmitting knowledge, but it isn’t the only way within Indigenous communities.  If the organization is indeed relying heavily on storytelling, then this could be a Western stereotype at work in an educational context.  I mention this site because it contrasts with what we’ve been learning about Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing.




November 27, 2011   No Comments

Information Technology and Indigenous People

Information Technology and Indigenous People


Information Technology and Indigenous People is a book by Laurel Evelyn Dyson, Max A. N. Hendriks and Stephen Grant.  All three are from the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia.

One particular section that I found worthwhile is Section II on Technology in Education.  In this section it talks about how Indigenous people are using CD-ROMs to preserve the rich cultural history of story-telling.  Technology is providing them the opportunity to not only preserve this part of their history and culture but also preserve it the voice of their elders.  Preserving the stories on CD-ROM will allow future generations to share and hear the stories (in some cases) from those of a generation(s) past.


November 7, 2011   No Comments

Idaa Trail Multimedia Journey
An interactive, multimedia resource that allows visitors to engage in a virtual exploration of traditional trails traveled by First Peoples in the Northwest Territories. There are teacher resources available, and the experience is available using a storytelling approach. This journey stops along the route at important cultural sites, taking the time to point out their significance. Local elders were involved in the creation of this resource.


November 6, 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

Traditional and Contemporary Literature

Since the focus of my study is to examine how technology can bring cultural experience to students, in this module I focused on stories – both traditional and contemporary. Since the traditional stories are oral, I looked for websites with animated stories. As most contemporary stories will be written, I have tried to find sites that will help locate aboriginal literature.

1. Dust echoes
This site is a visual treat which provide visitors a very rich interactive experience of learning from the Aboriginal Dream Stories from Australia. The stories are illustrated using traditional native art with traditional music in the background. The site explains the origin of the stories and show where they originated on the Australian map. It provides study guides, quizzes. These quizzes do not have a simple yes or no answers but an explanation to support deeper reasoning.
The most interesting aspect on the site is an opportunity to create a mash up with the existing video. It also provides classroom resources for teachers. These resources are very detailed, not just about the activities, but with contextual information about the music and story. The site ensures that the teachers have in-depth understanding of what they will teach.

2. Stories of the Dreaming
This page is on the Australian Museum site. It explains the significance of such stories in the life of the Indigenous Australians. It explains how the Dream Stories do not belong to one individual but to a group or nation of people as these stories have been handed down through the generations. It explains that the elders are the ‘custodian’ of the stories of that people and that permission to re-tell the ‘Stories of the Dreaming’ can only be given by the custodian/s of each story, in consultation with their community. In the movie gallery there are movies of stories categorized according to the area of origin. The most meaningful aspect is that each story is accompanied by an explanation made by an elder from that nation. This makes the stories more meaningful and relevant to the viewers. There is also a written transcript about the story.

3. Bunyip
This site uses the aboriginal myth of Bunyip to create an environment for the students to explore aboriginal stories and math, science, technology from the aboriginal perspective. In true fashion of oral tradition, Bunyip has continued to be a part of the Aboriginal and mainstream culture in the present day. The site beautifully shows this presence of Bunyip in the present and traditional culture. The reading level is not very high which makes the site more accessible to children of all age groups.

4. First Nations Canadian Literature
This site showcases a lot of traditional and contemporary literature from the Canadian First Nations. The books are classified according to origin- Metis. Inuit, Pacific Northwest, but there is also a general section and sections for novels and graphic novel. When you click on the book, the site provides a brief synopsis of the book and the date of publication. The books range from picture books to chapter books for young adults.

5. Canadian Literature: A quarterly of Criticism and Review
This site provides a dynamic list of Canadian publishers who publish both mainstream and Aboriginal Literature. It links to 15 publishers that publish in First Nations category. These links lead you to the publishers’ site where lots of work of Aboriginal authors is showcased. There are publishers like Totem Pole Books, Kegedonce Press, Oolichan, Pemmican Publication Inc. who exclusively print only FN material. Some also provide space for readers to interact through blogs.

October 12, 2011   No Comments

Red River College’s HAWK Camp for Aboriginal Youth

Red River College’s H.A.W.K. Camp for Aboriginal Youth

H.A.W.K. Camp Slideshow

For the past two summers, Red River College has offered its Hands-On Activity Week for Kids (H.A.W.K.) which is a camp geared towards Aboriginal Youth aged 11-13.  The week-long camp introduces Aboriginal Youth to the Construction Trades, Electronics, Mechanical Engineering Technology/Manufacturing, Aviation and Civil Engineering.  Many students are getting their first introductions to these fields of study.  Besides the hands-on experiences with the trades and technologies, camp-goers also took part in many team building activities, story-telling and drumming, all aimed at bolstering each individual.  The camp is free of charge and is available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Participants also receive a free t-shirt as well as lunch and snacks each day.

~ Ryan

September 22, 2011   No Comments

Traditional stories graphic novel
Description: Online graphic novel collection featuring a pair of Anishinabek brothers and their adventures set in 1750s colonized North America. The goal of the series is to combine traditional teachings with modern presentation methods in an engaging way for youth.
Both main characters are based on ideas from traditional teachings. The stories tend to focus on interactions between the family and neighboring communities, and focus on peaceful resolutions of problems that arise. The graphic novels are available online, and for order. There are links to some basic information about the teachings on which the stories are based, information about the authors, and some general interest links for Aboriginal youth. An interesting example of the use of newer digital tools to reinterpret traditional stories.

September 21, 2011   No Comments