Module # 4 Indigenous Collective Memories and Technology

Module 4

Weblog # 1

http://www.deerlake.firstnation.ca/

This website is visually pleasing and offers information about the Deer Lake Reserve area, its history, governance, community etc.

Open to the public I decided to further explore the historical link to see how and if the Deer Lake community engaged in preserving their collective history and heritage. Beyond offering a short historical outline of the area, after further exploration I discovered a gallery of photos that represent a variety of social and ceremonial events, from Powwow’s to school and community activities and social events of all kinds.  What a great way to represent and share collective memories! The photos can be viewed or downloaded for storage or printing. Photos appear to have been viewed thousands of times, which demonstrates that the community has been using this website. What first appeared to be a static community web site turned out to be quite a dynamic one.   I decided to further explore the albums to see what I could learn through this form of self-representation.

 

Weblog # 2

So in order to really visit with this community and see how they share their collective memories I decided to look at the various events portrayed through this segment of their website.  I began with the children’s art gallery under the theme ‘Water is important’.  http://www.deerlake.firstnation.ca/?q=about/history

The drawings demonstrate the Indigenous way of knowing.  Children are likely learning about water and the physical and cultural importance it has for their people.  The messages in the drawings are powerful and speak of the need to preserve water, and the unity and relationship water has with the other elements found in nature. In the drawings, one can also see math elements, such as percentages and size comparisons, which demonstrates how Indigenous teaching within the schools bridges over with Western science. I can see how this format of representing student’s understanding can help promote and celebrate cultural beliefs.

Web site # 3

The next album visited is the one about a community Powwow held in the new school gym. http://www.deerlake.firstnation.ca/?q=gallery&g2_itemId=13608

It is extraordinary to see so many different people from the community partaking in the celebration.  This is certainly a great example of Indigenous people ‘reclaiming’ their culture and identity and capturing it for future generations to see. Seeing the youth taking part in this ceremony portrays how this community is reaching out to this younger generation to get them in touch with their cultural roots.

By further perusing the Red Deer Lake Nation Website I came upon another segment I had not discovered, that of a video taken of the 2009 Treaty # 5 commemoration.  This proved to be a great discovery.

Web Site # 4

http://knet.ca/deerlake/

The video was filmed by the Nishnwabe Aski Nation for them. The short film portrays the 100-year commemoration of the signing of the treaty # 5.  According to Grand Chief Stan Beardy, this was a significant day for it confirmed they are a nation, for only nations can make treaties. During the film various people are interviewed and it clearly shows that they are proud of this legally binding agreement.  It is in a way seen as a way to reconcile various levels of government.  It is interesting to see all the youth attending and listening to the various speeches given by elders – The filming of this event, captures how collective memories are shared through storytelling and transferred from youth to elders. An extensive photo gallery also provides a great historical overview of the last 100 years within the Red Deer Community.

http://knet.ca/deerlake/ – Interview segment

The Interviews were the most incredible and poignant testimonials and portrayal of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation. I felt that by watching these short ‘interviews’ with various individuals, I was actually visualizing how technology can be used to share Indigenous identity with others. The interview with Irene Rae is done in her language, and she is having a grand time talking with the microphone, perhaps for the first time.  She is sharing her collective memories.

The storytelling by James Deer Trap, who also talks in the traditional language, is translated for those who do not speak the traditional language.  This too portrays a way for this community to preserve collective memories, and capturing it on video and diffusing it online provides a bigger audience. This is a good example of the transmitting of history through storytelling.  Now his words are captured and stored for prosperity and can be revisited.

The short videos portrayed the influence of ‘Canadian’ heritage through ‘jig’ dancing, wrestling, and a historical humorous ‘skit’ to represent the essence of treaty # 5. In a sense, this is a modern version of  ‘storytelling’ with a hint of humor. All of these activities demonstrate a desire to move on with their lives.

The interview with Mrs Ruth Only was interesting, for the inclusion of this segment shows a gesture for the community to heal and move forward.

 

Site # 5

By going back to the main Website, I perused their ‘Health’ segment and found it was quite complete and showed a thriving community, but also a link to ‘Wawatay News’.  I was pleased to find one could access a live ‘Radio’ station. http://www.wawataynews.ca/radio

Wawatay Radio Network provides radio programming to more than 300,000 Aboriginal people in Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Treaty 3 area. WRN provides news that is at once regional, national, and international, and surprisingly in the Aboriginal languages of Northern Ontario: Ojibway, Oji-Cree, and Cree. It also provides an English version for those who don’t speak the ancestral languages. Another great way to celebrate and engage in collective memories of various local and community events.

On the website I also found podcasts addressing Indigenous children about health issues. Also featuring such shows as ‘Spirit in your Voice’, which share stories about survivors of residential schools, successful stories of healing.

November 26, 2012   No Comments

Module # 3 Posts – exploring how media supports Indigenous collective memories

Weblog Notes – Module 3

Site # 1

This time around I thought I would explore the different ways Indigenous people use media to cover one issue concerning the protection of their collective history. I chose to examine the village and Midden site of c̓əsnaʔəm of Marpople village and the Musqueam community.  The first means with which the Musqueam Community spreads the word about their plight is through Facebook where they have various news clips, photos and also a blog that describes their efforts to stop a condo development site from being built so that their ancestors are no longer desecrated. Here is a link to their Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/ProtectTheVillageAndMiddenSiteOfMarpoleVillage/info

 

By this means of communication they are able to get the public to react and support their cause through blogs and even a petition. There are quite a few supportive comments in their blogs, but it is unclear how many actually come from outside the community itself.

Site # 2

By continuing to explore this story and how the Musqueam community is using the Web and Internet to protect their 4,000 year old burial site, also know as the Eburne site, Manpole Midden or Great Fraser Midden, I found a 5-minuteYouTube video, here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbjl1mShtpo

I found that this video was powerful, the message is clear – the images are evocative.  The Musqueam community is really working together to save their historical site and they are willing to go all the way to protect their collective history.  I found this to be a very effective way to get the Musqueam message across.  Many people view YouTube and it can obviously help their cause.  I unfortunately saw no comments in the comment box, so I wonder who has viewed it . . . it has been posted since August 2012, so that gives it some time for others to view and comment on it.  The video is well made and I think could reach out to a wide public.

Site # 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aPOUgPsn1g&feature=related

This video entitled : The Musqueam Marpole Midden Vigil Interview, explains what the Musqueam community has done.  The steps that have been taken, from peaceful demonstrations, suggestions of swapping land to relocate the condo project, their efforts to talk to provincial and federal government, until their blockade on the bridge – which is sadly when the government decided to take note of the issue and begin talks.

The speaker makes a good case of  why saving this site is important to the Musqueam people and also of comparing the fact that digging up other Canadian graveyards is not allowed or done in Canada, why should it be different for them?

Site # 4

This site is an activist column where the petition to protect the Musqueam Marpole burial site can be found.  Up to date there are 1 347 signatures that support the petition. This web site offers more information on this issue and the Musqueam people’s struggle to protect this burial site since December 2011. It is amazing to me that despite the finding of ancestral bones, the building permit was not revoked and especially why it is so difficult for the government to act in good faith and accept the proposed swap.

At the bottom of the page there are 10 referers that link this site. I thought I would visit a few to see how a plight, such as preserving the Musqueam Marpole ancestral burial site could be linked with other similar plights, or find sympathizers to their cause elsewhere.

 

Site # 5

http://www.activism.com/en_CA/external/intercontinentalcry.org/urgent-action-needed-to-protect-ancient-marpole-village-and-burial-site-from-destruction/

Indigenous Media is a grassroots journal. This web site is an excellent example of using the Internet to connect with other Indigenous groups around the world. I explored several of the opinions, news and editorials that can be found on this web site; here are some of the titles covered:

–          Illegal miners in Venezuela

–          Blockaded dam in Malaysia

–          City council plan halted by tribal council (Gila River Indian Community)

–          The plight of the Bedouin of the Negev

–          Sacred Sites and Indigenous Peoples of the Altai

–          Brazil: Indigenous Peoples Demand Repeal of ‘Anti-Indian’ Decree

Each of these stories go into more depth and lead to further links and information on the subject.  This type of website offers all Indigenous communities who wish to do so, a platform for expressing their concerns about various subjects that affect their communities. I believe this type of media forum can serve to inform each other and the world about issues, and it can also be used to learn from each other.  Perhaps such a platform can also provide Indigenous communities with strength in number and offer them ideas and ways to protect their collective histories and ancestral ways.

Each web news segment also offers the opportunity to blog, and I read many comments supporting various causes.  It is interesting then that through this site the Musqueam people can get a worldwide audience to react to their plight. I found the story about the Musqueam Marpole ancestral burial site under “Canada”. It is here that I learned that after their struggle the Musqueam people won their fight and on September 27 the provincial government revoked the permits to build a 5 story condominium development at the Musqueam Marpole Village Site.

I believe that the Internet was an important tool for the Musqueam people in propagating their issue and in resolving the matter.  Thus I conclude that various forms of media: the Internet, blogs, videos, interviews etc. did serve to protect and disseminate their collective history. I also believe that other Indigenous groups can likely use this example as a guide for their own struggles and give them ideas about how to work with government entities to resolve issues.

October 30, 2012   No Comments

Module 2 Second set of postings – Marie-France Hétu

Web Log notes Module # 2

This week, I thought I would begin by exploring the Métis collective memories.

Here is the first source I explored:

http://metisnationdatabase.ualberta.ca/MNC/

 
The web-interfaced database: Métis National Council (MNC) Historical Online Database is   part of the Métis Archival Project (MAP)   efforts from the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta to   provide information extracted from archival documents that are felt relevant   to the historical Métis Nation. The information on this website is   essentially composed of digital photography and documents used to be   available at Library and Archives Canada or on microfilm. This website is a   collaborative effort between the Federal government and the Métis National   Council.

Thorough archival searches were   conducted by the Faculty of Native Studies to gather material relevant to   Métis history. This website provides the general public and Métis users with   access to their ancestor’s documents. I believe this web site is a good way   to store collective memories, as it could facilitate the process of   re-connection with cultural identity. Educators and learners alike could also   be interested in this website as an educational tool, as well as the general   public.

Source # 2

http://www.wendake.ca/secteurs-services

This website is in French.  It appears to be more of an informative   site than one that is very interactive.    It appears destined as much for Huron-Wendat people than for visitors.   The historical information provided is very basic and again almost given as   if a tourist is looking for information.    Most information is conveyed in the third person, and the collective   ‘we’ or ‘nous’ is not often used. There is one element that appears more   interactive and is likely updated, that is the news and job segments.   Although again both jobs and events appear open to everyone. The site is   attractive and professional, althoughsSome areas of the Website remain empty   (perhaps it is still under construction), while the word of the chief Konrad   Sioui dates back to May 2012. The most elaborate part of the website is the   services segment.  I was particularly   impressed with their environmental vision based on ancestral notions, where   the ‘we’ as the Huron-Wendake nation is quite evident.

It also appears that this small   community has put into place community programs that help individuals become   autonomous, supporting their endeavors in the following domains: education,   socialization and qualifications. The community offers an impressive amount   of full-time and part-time educational programs, from reorientation courses   to courses leading to various certificates and degrees. This community also   has its own primary school with a mission based on the child’s intellectual,   social and cultural needs according to Huron-Wendat nation beliefs.

I also came across a link to   “Yakwennra”.  This takes you to the   Huron-Wendat local newspaper, which is so elaborate with community news that   it deserves a separate blog.

Source # 3

http://www.wendake.ca/docs/yakwennra/yakwennra-été-2012.pdf?sfvrsn=0

 

Yakwennra is a quarterly community newspaper that   is a relatively new endeavor. The newspaper is filled with community events   touching various socio-cultural happenings within the community.  School events, historical events and future   events seem to take up as much importance, which I felt somewhat demonstrated   the circular time line. I was impressed with the quality of this paper, both   in print and photo.

It appears here that the   Huron-Wendat people have managed to use the Internet to celebrate their   culture, reflecting on the past, outlining ongoing events and events to take   place in the near future. Yes print is used to tell the stories instead of   storytelling, but truly the stories depicted in this newspaper reveal a   community that is very much rooted with their culture and proud of it!  Various projects also show an interesting   collaboration with other entities within the provincial and federal   government, namely concerning health services, and the relocation of   ancestral remains. I also found it interesting that the newspaper covered   news, events and projects about the entire community, from the very young, to   the working force, political figures, local community services, the police   and the elderly. This newspaper is clearly out to proudly show where they   come from, what they have accomplished and how they envision the future.

It appears that this endeavor is   funded by some form of advertising, and that everyone in the community   contributes to covering or furnishing the stories and photos.

Source # 4

I now wanted to explore First   Nations communities in Ontario and fell upon this site:

http://firstnation.ca/   and then looking under the communities tab I found a complete repertoire of   First Nations communities, I had no idea there were that many – what an eye   opener.

So I decided to visit the Amjiwnaang   First Nation community website at the following link:

http://www.aamjiwnaang.ca/

By their first page this site   clearly welcomes visitors. After perusal, it appears to mainly offer a   repertoire of community services within the community.  I was surprised to see in the right-hand   column advertising that promotes girls guides and boy scouts?  This is very much a ‘Western’ tradition and   it seems this community has adopted this tradition. The website indicates “Let us share with   you the uniqueness that this community has developed within itself and to the   communities that surround us.” Yet, Even   the news segment contains little more information than who the band council   members are.  There is a login format,   so perhaps the other aspects of the website are for community members only.   There appears to be a blog, for it indicates there are 24 guests online, yet   the actual forum is not accessible to me. Perhaps this is an example where   the website discussions are almost exclusively for members of the community.

Site # 5

There was however a link to the Aamjiwnaang   First Nation environment and health committee, which I decided to explore   next:

http://www.aamjiwnaangenvironment.ca/

The Environment Committee   of Aamjiwnaang’s goal is to preserve the environment for present and future   generations, as well as to protect and promote the health, safety and   education of their people.

This site is open to   visitors, I was particularly interested in the segment about their history.   This page offers information about their more recent history concerning their   struggle to make their environmental rights known concerning pollution from   big Sarnia chemical companies.

Within their news   archive they provide various news bulletins mainly related to health and   environment issues from 2006 till now.    This page offers video footage and many PDF articles and essays that   document the Aamjiwnaang’s actions and efforts over the years to make their   voice heard concerning health and environment issues.

This website very much   promotes social and political involvement within a program that seems to be   well embedded within the community framework.

 

 

October 14, 2012   No Comments

Indigenous People’s Collective Memories in Cyberspace – First set of Sources

Site # 1

http://www.law.ualberta.ca/research/aboriginalculturalheritage/

The website for the “Protection and Repatriation of First Nation Cultural Heritage” research project has valuable information concerning how First Nations use the Web to disseminate information about their culture, as well as advance a political agenda. It has four main objectives:

1)     To disseminate information concerning the legal regime

2)     To serve as a platform for respecting and understanding First Nations concept of law and property

3)     To help First Nations partners to collect and develop archival educational materials

4)     Analyze provincial and federal legislation and provide First Nations with reform recommendations

 

Although the actual research was completed in 2006, the site offers an overview of the research with links to the two volumes. This site is important as it raises awareness about law reform, but also provides a voice for First Nations.  This web site also offers many other important resources, such as news and events and other carefully selected links to North American Native and/or Aboriginal sites. I found some of the links had been modified, but using the titles I easily found the sites through Google.

Seeing how much information was available on this website, I will come back to explore other links, but I decided to first explore Aboriginal sources.

 

Site # 2

http://www.aboriginalcanada.gc.ca/

The Aboriginal Canadian Portal is a site run by the Canadian Federal Government in collaboration with the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, the Métis National Council, the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers. The topics covered are quite varied, but because of the nature of my research I was particularly interested in the language, culture and heritage segment, which proved to have a wealth of information on various Aboriginal organizations, as well as various articles that harbor collective memories.

Site # 3

https://www.itk.ca/publication/5000-years-inuit-history-and-heritage

This essay provides an overview of the last 5000 years of Inuit history.  The essay covers the culture and language, the early history of the Inuit ancestors from first contact with the Europeans to modern day Inuit.  The essay also incorporates the history and culture of the four regions of Inuit Nunangat. I was not able to determine who exactly wrote this document, but found that the information herein was well written and is suitable for a general readership. The document often refers to “We . . .”, thus was written from an Aboriginal perspective for an Aboriginal audience, proudly outlining their history and accomplishments over the years. This type of essay contains information that could be used in schools during history classes to diffuse information about Inuit.

Site # 4

https://www.itk.ca/

This Website represents the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which is the national Inuit organization in Canada. It represents the four Inuit regions,  Nunatsiavut (Labrador), Nunavik (northern Quebec), Nunavut, and the Inuvialuit Settlement Region in the Northwest Territories. On the site historical events from 903 until the present are documented.  The president’s blog appears to be a new addition to the site and is run by Inuit leader Terry Audla. This blog offers viewers a platform to voice their opinion. This website also offers podcasts on various issues and events concerning Aboriginal life. This web site is rich with text-based information, but particularly audio feeds.  I was particularly interested in the audio from a 2011 conference called “From Eskimo to Inuit in 40 Years”, which marks the work Inuit Tapirisat of Canada has done over the last 40 years. The site offers audio files of the seven panel discussion sessions held during the conference. The site also offers links to publications on Inuit issues.

Site # 5

http://www.inuitknowledge.ca/

This website offers the newly established Inuit Qaujisarvingat (kow-yee-sar-ving-at). I found it most interesting to discover that the goal of the Inuit Knowledge Centre, is to bridge the gap between Inuit knowledge and western science. I find their vision of building capacity among Inuit to respond to global interests in Arctic issues daring and avant-garde. This website offers Inuit a platform to impact and advance sustainable Arctic science and policy making within a Canadian and global context. I was impressed with the way the information was diffused, with a good balance of text-based, visual and audio. It even offers a game called Niquiit (under construction) destined for Inuit youth to teach them about the dangers of contaminants in the Arctic. The Website is well laid-out and menus simplified to help users navigate and get the information they seek. Overall it appeared to be a great community resource run by Inuit for Inuit.

September 23, 2012   No Comments

Indigenous Peoples’ Collective Memories in Cyberspace

Statement Connecting Research Interests and Weblog:

Indigenous People’s Collective Memories in Cyberspace

I had not thought about ‘Westerners’ owning history and power because they are the ones in control of media productions, whether it be documentary, film, photography etc. I am interested in exploring Media on Indigenous People’s terms, where the hierarchy of values attached to Western culture is replaced by indigenous expression to diffuse collective memories. I will explore how Cyberspace is used to diffuse these memories. Investigate and outline the pitfalls. Examine the role media plays, whether unconsciously or not, as a means of cultural preservation.

I am particularly interested in discovering if and how this form of media representation provides a bridge for young people and encourages them to get back in touch with their culture. Because Indigenous people incorporate vast populations all over the world, I have decided to concentrate my research on Indigenous people in North America (Canada), comparing how various Native groups use media to recuperate and diffuse collective memories.

At this early stage of my research, I will explore web sites and documentation that provide information about Indigenous peoples diffusing their collective memories in Cyberspace.  Then I will analyze and compare how media provides a space for collective memories, outlining benefits and challenges. I hope this research will help me arrive at some form of understanding and appreciation concerning the diffusion of Indigenous Peoples’ collective memories in Cyberspace.

 

 

 

September 22, 2012   No Comments