Elder Florence Kelly’s Advice

For my final post in the ETEC 521 blog, I wanted to share some words I found while doing research for my paper. This is Elder Florence Kelly’s Advice to the Newly Elected Executive of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Council, March 21, 2009, as cited in Jacqueline Skytt’s “A White Woman Learns the Way” in the Alberta Teacher’s Association magazine.

  • Be kind. The children need kindness and love. This is how they will get better.
  • Be patient. This is a long road. There are many struggles. The children need you to be in it for the long term.
  • Be humble. My grandmother taught me this. Never boast about your good deeds. This takes away from the goodness you are trying to do.
  • Be honest. Our children have been lied to many times. They need people to be truthful with them

Words to live by, First Nations or not.

December 2, 2012   No Comments

Another perspective on First Nations connection to the land”Chief Rose Laboucan to Enbridge Joint Review Panel

I’m not sure if anyone will ever really understand our connection to the land. The land is us; we are the land. We could once take all our food supplies from the land. The healthy food I’m talking about, the meat, the fish, the vegetables, the fruit.

I believe today many of our communities are in crisis. In 1970 when I worked for Health Canada, we had one diabetic in our community; one. Now we have close to 100, and they range from five years old on up.

Many of our people cannot afford to buy their groceries in a grocery store, the real food I’m talking about, on the outside aisle. That’s where the real food is. You walk into any store and you’ll picture that, the vegetables, the meat, produce, everything is on the outside aisles. The processed foods are in the middle aisles. That’s where my people shop.

So the once enhanced lifestyle that they had for health reasons were taken from the land. And I really believe that is very sad when we, as First Nation people, we’re taught to hunt, to fish, to trap and to gather.

JOINT REVIEW PANEL FOR THE ENBRIDGE NORTHERN GATEWAY PROJECT , Hearing Order OH-4-2011 , Edmonton, Alberta , January 31, 2012 , International Reporting Inc.

Available online at oral presentation by Chief Rose Laboucan

November 26, 2012   No Comments

Canadian Journal of Native Education

Many (most? Everyone EXCEPT me?) of you are probably aware that this journal existed, but I was not. The Canadian Journal of Native Education is published twice yearly: in spring/summer a theme issue is compiled at the First Nations House of Learning at the University of British Columbia; and in fall/winter a general edition is compiled by the First Nations Graduate Education Program at the University of Alberta.

Aricles I am looking forward to checking out include:

  • Doige, L. A. (1999). Beyond cultural differences and similarities: student teachers encounter Aboriginal children’s literature. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 24(4), 383-395.
  • Goulet, G. (2001). Two Teachers of Aboriginal Students: Effective Practice in Sociohistorical Realities. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 25(1), 68 -82.
  • Kirkness, V. (1998). Our Peoples’ Education: Cut the Shackles; Cut the Crap; Cut the
    Mustard. Canadian Journal of Native Education, 22(1), 10-15.

Get more information about Canadian Journal of Native Education

November 24, 2012   No Comments

Supporting Aboriginal Student Success: Self-Esteem and Identity

Dr. Pamela Rose Toulouse of Laurentian Universiy, has authored Supporting Aboriginal Student Success: Self-Esteem and Identity, A Living Teachings Approach. This paper explores the seven good life teachings of the Ojibwe people. Respect, Love, Bravery, Wisdom, Humility, Honesty, and Truth. Through the use of these teachings and the related principles behind them, Dr. Toulouse explores the implications for education, and implications for classroom practice, as well as some suggested applications.

This document lends itself well to my research topic of developing a best practices approach to fostering success for Aboriginal students in my class.

See the whole document

November 24, 2012   1 Comment

Using Computers to preserve Aboriginal culture

An innovative project here in Northern BC is the generation of a computer database full of stories, culture, language, interviews, songs, photographs, and many other pieces of information. This project was initiated by the Tsay Keh Dene, Kwadacha and Takla First Nations, adjacent to the Lheidli T’enneh and the McLeod Lake First Nations. What began as an attempt to chronicle the geographical history of one Nation has become a larger undertaking.

These three nations formed a coalition, and contacted Prince George high-tech frim GeoSparks proprieter Will Cadell, who developed a program called Landsongs.

Check out the article in The Prince George Citizen

November 20, 2012   No Comments

First Nations students need Internet technology,

Module 3, post #5

In a 2009 article by Stephen Hui, Denise Williams of the Cowichan Tribes discusses the First Nations Education Steering Committee and the need for broadband – “It’s the infrastructure that’s going to strengthen the entire social fabric of the community,” and it can help broaden opportunities on the often remote and isolated reserves. “We have all these small communities and small, remote schools, and the issue is that we need math teachers, we need physics teachers, science teachers,” Williams is the Youth initiative officer for the steering committee. “Their scope of what’s possible is limited to where they are,” Williams said. “What technology can do in a school with the Internet is open the whole world.”


November 5, 2012   No Comments


The December 2011 report of the Standing Senate committee on Aboriginal Peoples is entitled REFORMING FIRST NATIONS EDUCATION: FROM CRISIS TO HOPE This reflects the theme from “Decolonizing Methodologies” author Linda Smith and her discussion of how spaces of marginalization have become spaces of hope. This 80 page Senate document is also available online at www.parl.gc.ca and www.senate-senat.ca It is a document that explores historical periods of First nations education, and also examines the current situation. It discusses the need for further infrastructure, funding, and reform, and issues recommendations for a new framework for first Nations Education in Canada.
This document/website is one that I have encountered as I prepare to work on my paper looking at how best to benefit First Nations students in my classroom.

November 1, 2012   No Comments

Resources for Teachers: Aboriginal Canada Portal


This is a Government of Canada site with a number of different links connected through it (hence: portal) From Aboriginal Math resources, to literature, resource guides and Native dancing. There is a section on just lesson plans, including tidbits on Louis Riel, Inuit sculpture and Inukshuk, short Metis plays, and Wellness handbooks. Extensive menus and sidebar tabs lead to many related resources and sites. While it is a Government sponsored site and political bias is always an issue we face, there is also a lot of useful material that can be used and implemented if we are looking to upgrade the First Nations and Canadian content in High School English and Social Studies (and drama, art….) classes.

October 31, 2012   No Comments

De-colonizing education in Prince George : Nusdeh Yoh

I have posted a number of times about the aboriginal choice school in Prince George. The newspaper today featured an extended article about the renaming of the school – a long arduous process taking into account myriad stakeholders and language conventions. This changes from “The aboriginal choice school” or “Carney Hill Elementary” to Nusdeh Yoh (“house of the future”) in the langauge of the Lheidli T’enneh, on whose traditional lands the school is situated. The article talks about the curriculum covered in the school, and is a crystal clear example of reclaiming and advancing traditional values, an an environment that is not resonant of the Henry Ford assembly line model of education that the rest of us cleave unto.

From the article:
“Our students come from all over the place — we have Carrier, Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Gitxsan, Kispiox, Tl’azt’en, we’ve had some Objibwe students, and some from areas I can’t pronounce,” laughed Gillis.

“These kids know more about language than I ever had the opportunity to learn when I was younger, and it was my mom’s first language,” said Gillis, part of the Saik’uz First Nation south of Vanderhoof… My mom never taught it to me back when I was younger because they didn’t see the value of retaining it. It’s exciting to see the kids learning it now.”

October 25, 2012   No Comments

“Decolonizing Methodologies” and Blessed Saint Kateri.

OCT.21,2012, St. Peter’s Basillica, Vatican
In “Decolonizing Methodologies” author Linda Smith discusses how spaces of marginalization have become spaces of hope and resistance. One such space of hope from the past, from 300 years past, is the story of Kateri Tekawitha of the Kahnawake First Nation in Quebec. The imposition of the Catholic faith on the indigenous peoples of North America is a very difficult and painful subject for both First Nations peoples and the Catholic Church. This marginalization of the religious and spiritual beliefs of the First Nations peoples is perhaps one of the most contentious issues facing the Church today. 15th century Pope Alexander VI called for “barbarous nations” to be overthrown and reduced for the propagation of the Christian empire.
As a practicing Catholic, I am ashamed of some of the histories of my church; but we are a long way from those days, both in the measure of years, and in the tenets and beliefs held by today’s Catholic.
Whether or not one is Catholic, the story of a 4 year old surviving when the rest of her family died from a smallpox epidemic is intriguing. Several other miracles have been placed at her feet, and the canonization of Saint Kateri is very significant. It represents a very real connection to faith that may not have been present before for many First Nations peoples. It is ironic that the indigenous peoples of Canada did not ask for the Catholic religion, and yet we have a First Nations girl in the pantheon of Catholic Saints. It is a very real example of creating a space of hope and resistance out of a marginalized position. The petition for her canonization was filed in 1884; “The Lily of the Mohawks” was beatified by Pope John Paul in 1980, and canonized today by Pope Benedict.

• http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/21/14591532-kateri-tekakwitha-named-first-native-american-saint-in-vatican-ceremony?lite
• http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/ict_sbc/kateri-tekawitha-beatification-in-the-context-of-spiritual-conquest
• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kateri_Tekawitha

October 21, 2012   No Comments