Weblog #3 – Post #3 – Virtual Museum of Metis History and Culture

Storytelling is important in Metis culture as a means to pass information from the Elders to the youth of society.  This Virtual Museum provides archived collections of Metis history, interviews, conferences, transcripts, learning resources, artistic expressions, and multimedia files honouring Metis music, dance, and storytelling.

November 15, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3 – Post #2 – Aboriginal Storytelling

This Aboriginal Storytelling site provides detail about the importance of storytelling – as something more than entertainment.  Storytelling is a means to communicate culture, ceremonies, and spirituality.  Storytelling acts as a bridge to teach an audience a way of life – the history and culture of indigenous peoples.  Specifically, this site focuses on the Aboriginal people of Saskatchewan and provides useful information and links to other relevant sites.



November 15, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3 – Post 1 – Storytelling

When I first began contemplating a final topic, I was torn between pursuing my interests in the environmental and indigenous issues surfacing in Alberta and the way in which we are finding balance between the Language Arts curriculum and meeting the cultural needs of indigenous peoples.  I have been equally balancing my pursuit of resources up to this point.  I am officially making the choice today to take a look at the relationship and interaction between indigenous storytelling and the Language Arts curriculum.  Oral storytelling plays a fundamental role in culture, and I want to look into how we can address that within the confines of the Language Arts curriculum and how technology can help us tell stories.

Here is a Learn Alberta resource, Walking Together – First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Perspectives in Curriculum.


Of particular importance to my topic is the information presented on oral traditions – the background information behind oral storytelling, and a few case studies as to how teachers can incorporate technology in the classroom to facilitate storytelling tradition.


November 15, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #2: Post #5

Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC)

This site offers information garnered on the Summit on Aboriginal Education, where education ministers and leaders from Aboriginal organizations met to improve Aboriginal education.

The summit focused on:
1. raising public awareness of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit education and the need to eliminate gaps between learners.
2. building support for partnerships with Aboriginal organizations.
3. identifying areas for action to meet the goals of Learn Canada 2020 
4. engaging federal government in Aboriginal education issues to implement policy change.
5. building networks for future collaboration.

Aboriginal Education Action Plan
Aboriginal Education Best Practices
Summit on Aboriginal Education Report 


October 21, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #2: Post #4

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

AANDC envisions a future in which indigenous communities are healthy, self-sufficient, and prosperous – ” a Canada where people make their own decisions, manage their own affairs and make strong contributions to the country as a whole.”

This site provides a wealth of resources, including (but not limited to):
– Arts, Culture, and Heritage
– Acts, Agreements, and Land Claims
– Education
– Environment and Natural Resources
– Social Programs

October 21, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #2: Post #3

I have been thinking about the connection between mass media and indigenous peoples – at the production level, on the screen and behind the scenes, in programming, and in air time.  How is indigenous culture represented on the Canadian screen?

CBC Aboriginal  
Links to the CBC programs and features relating to Canada’s aboriginal communities.

Cultural Diversity on TV and Radio
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) site outlining Canada’s Broadcasting Act and the upholding of cultural diversity on screen and on air – by ensuring equal rights are given based on gender, linguistics, culture and race are represented. Consideration is given to programming by and for specific groups, as well as reflecting diversity in all broadcast services.
Policies Described:

  • Native Broadcasting Policy
  • Ethnic Broadcasting Policy
  • increased licensing of ethnic and third-language stations
  • expanded availability of non-Canadian, third-language services

Emerging Filmmaker Programs
The National Film Board of Canada offers several initiatives to support new and emerging filmmakers from every part of the country.

imageNATIVE Film Festival
Founded in 1998 in Toronto, imageNATIVE is considered to be the most important Indigenous film and media festival in the world, annually showcasing, promoting, and celebrating both emerging and established Indigenous filmmakers and artists.  “imagineNATIVE is committed to dispelling stereotypical notions of Indigenous peoples through diverse media presentations from within our communities, thereby contributing to a greater understanding by audiences of Indigenous artistic expression.

The Aboriginal Voice: NFB and Aboriginal Filmmaking Through the Years (Gil Cardinal)
Gil Cardinal, an Edmonton-based Métis filmmaker and producer,  shares the history of the NFB and Aboriginal filmmaking in a playlist of NFB films from 1968 to present day.  A comprehensive body of films is shared to outline the NFB initiatives involved in sharing the Aboriginal Voice. http://www.nfb.ca/playlists/gil-cardinal/aboriginal-voice-national-film-board-/


October 21, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #2: Post #2

Four Directions Teaching

Indigenous language and culture is at risk of being lost, and non-aboriginal society “generally fails to see why aboriginal cultural revitalization matters, at best supporting aboriginal approaches superficially, and valuing success only as defined from non-aboriginal views.”

Four Directions brings together elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq.  Together, they share teachings about their history and culture. The site uses animated graphics to visualize each of the oral teachings. The site provides biographies, transcripts, and learning resources.

Four Directions – English Version

Four Directions and the Full Circle Project of Toronto works to address how indigenous knowledge can be shared with urban youth in a respectful manner.

The Full Circle Project PDF Includes:

1. Vision (Roots)
2. Elements (Sap)
3.  Foundations (Tree Core)
4.  Secondary Structure (Outer Bark)
5.  Natural Development (Branches)
6. Human Gifts (Leaves)
7.  Measurement (Seeds)


“It is not important to preserve our traditions, it is important to allow our traditions
to preserve us.”
~ Gael High Pine, “The Great Spirit in the Modern World,” Akwesasne Notes, 1973

October 21, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #2: Post #1

I was searching for more understanding of the complex issue of protecting individual and collective cultural rights.  I came across this great site:

Canada’s World: Indigenous Rights

The site provides detail into the issue of cultural rights – and the need to represent and promote human rights in relation to the history, language, and cultural transitions of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.  Although Canada is perceived as a strong advocate of human rights, we don’t have the same positive reputation for Indigenous rights.  There is a close connection between Indigenous rights and environmental sustainability, protection of cultural diversity, and global issues.

Included on the site is detailed background to the topic, historical timelines, and teaching resources including an Indigenous Rights discussion guide.  The discussion guide includes information on the rights movement, the current state of Indigenous people in Canada, and challenges and opportunities to be addressed.

Discussion Guide

October 21, 2012   No Comments

Metis Harvesting Rights in Alberta

Continuing my search for information related to the environmental issues surfacing in Alberta, I have stumbled upon an interesting case regarding harvesting rights of the Metis.  Harvesting refers to the rights of the Metis, First Nations, and Inuit to collect foods by fishing, hunting, and farming.

Metis Nation of Alberta Harvesting Policy

Garry Hirsekorn was found guilty of two counts under the Alberta Wildlife Act and fined $700 after killing a mule deer in southern Alberta.  It is argued that his case was a planned action by the Metis to bring attention to the harvesting rights established (Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution) by the Alberta government.  The court proceedings started in April 2009, and the ruling was

Fish and Wildlife was aware of the planned hunt, but it is argued that the hunt was used for political purposes and not for traditional purposes.  Furthermore, it is argued that there is no historical Metis community in southern Alberta, therefore Hirsekorn is guilty of illegal hunting.

News Article for Hirsekorn’s Verdict

The decision has been appealed (in August 2012), but there are 25 other Metis charged with illegal hunting and are currently awaiting trial.

Hirsekorn’s Appeal

This case refers frequently to  the case of Steve and Roddy Powley, who killed a moose in October of 1993.  They identified the moose with a Metis card, specifying it was intended to be food for the winter.  Despite this identification, Ontario Conservation Officers charged the Powleys for hunting without a license and unlawful possession of a moose.  The judge ruled that the Powleys have a right to hunt, based upon Section 35 of the Constitution Act (1982).  Charges were dismissed, but the Crown appealed.  In February of 2001, the Court of Appeal upheld the early decision, but the Crown appealed to the Supreme Court.  In September of 2003, the Supreme Court supported the initial verdict as well, and supports the Metis right to harvest year-round.

The Powley Test 


September 23, 2012   No Comments

Alberta’s Environmental Issues

I am toying with two potential areas of research, one of which is the complexities presented when trying to find balance between modern environmental issues and indigenous traditions.  After reading about the struggles that surface during traditional whale hunting practices, I began to wonder what issues are present in good old, land locked, Alberta.

The issues surfacing are a bit different.  Instead of traditional practices conflicting with modern animal rights issues, Albertans are facing conflict related to the oil industry – Northern Alberta is “ground zero” for the Tar Sands Gigaproject, in which more than 20 companies are currently operating.  The Mikisew Cree First National, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Fort McKay Cree Nation, Beaker Lake Cree First Nation Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, and the Metis are facing destruction of land, ecosystems, cultural heritage and community health.

Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign

When I was feeling overwhelmed by the negative impact of the Tar Sands, I checked out the other side of the issue, visiting the Alberta Government’s web site.  Alberta’s First Nations Consultation Policy on Land Management and Resource Development is working to balance resource development and Treaty rights, using feedback from First Nations, “providing a voice for Aboriginal people in the province’s regional land use planning”.

Alberta’s Oil Sands (Government Web Site)

Other Sites I found:

Turtle Island Native Network

Rights of Mother Earth: Restoring Indigenous Life Ways of Responsibility and Respect

Tar Sands Action

September 22, 2012   No Comments