Category — Module 1

A FN Community Center for all?

Weblog #2: Entry #3

The Esquimalt Nation is presently building a Community Centre, which will be on the corner of Admiral’s Road and Thomas Way (see map below). The community plan is based on ‘Natural Laws’ which inform the ‘Cycle of Life’. A quick overview of these laws are linked on the site for those, like myself, who are unfamiliar. Of particular interest to me, as it relates to my research topic, is how will this community center enhance and support all of the surrounding communities. My impression is that this site will be intended for us by all and not just the FN communities but press on such details have not yet been released.

October 14, 2012   No Comments

Adding an Indigenous Perspective to the Science Curriculum

The overarching theme of my weblog additions, as well as my research proposal for the final paper is Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), and how this type of knowledge can be used in today’s contemporary classrooms (specifically in science classes). This research focus would be on the methods of collecting research for use in science classrooms that has an indigenous perspective. In many science classrooms, teachers mainly stick to the traditional scientific method that they were taught in school. I would like to challenge other teachers to seek out resources that include the indigenous perspective specifically when it comes to the study of ecology in science classrooms.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge is part of an indigenous tribal decision making process. The use of educational technology and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology is important for students in that the student can use this technology as a guide and to help them store data and information while they are learning. TEK and GIS can be used in resource management decisions.

In conclusion, the study of ecology is like a journey through some of the most interesting and amazing creations that are on this Earth. It is the study of how systems of biology are all connected and rely on one another. TEK is a way of adding an indigenous perspective in the science classroom by examining ecology through a different lens than what modern science has to offer.

Some texts and sources of information that would be of importance to this research include:

The Aboriginal Mapping unit

The Arctic Studies Centre

Tukilil: A Window to the Great North

Parlee, B. L., K. Geertsema, and A. Willier. 2012. Social-ecological thresholds in a changing boreal landscape: insights from                 Cree knowledge of the Lesser Slave Lake region of Alberta, Canada. Ecology and Society 17(2): 20.

October 8, 2012   No Comments

Module 1 Links: We Do Have Something to Offer With Respect to the Curriculum

For module one, I focused on Lee Brown’s discussions about the Indigenous healing process and how emotional awareness should be included in ever school lesson along with cognitive development. These are the links I found to be of importance to me as I completed module one:

I came across this website as I was researching the Tribes Community Course for teachers. It is a course that touches on aspects of Indigenous theories of knowledge and suggests that oral communication or oral story telling plays an important role in the classroom. In this course, teachers are also taught that dividing the class of students up in small groups called Tribes will help to make the classroom environment more conducive to learning. The website contains videos of how the Tribes classroom would look like if the theory is applied in the classroom effectively. There are also samples of lesson plans that would accompany any tribes program which are useful for helping to add an Indigenous perspective in the classroom.

The Tribes philosophy is all about:

  • Feeling included and appreciated
  • Showing respect for all people
  • Having students be engaged and involved in their own learning
  • Having a positive attitude towards learning and an outcome of success for all students

I was shocked to hear the statistics of the dropout rates of students in Saskatchewan. They can reach as high at 95%, and this would result in a whole generation of students missing out on a formal education. This blog and news article speak about First Nations and Mètis youth as many of these youths from across Saskatchewan came to Saskatoon for the three-day FSIN Youth Assembly. In Lee Brown’s discuss, he ended on a positive note, stating that “we have much to offer”. These types of assemblies for youth are a way to engage youths in a positive dialogue about the issues that matter the most to them. It is also a way of providing hope for youths who may be struggling by not just creating a long list of problems but also discussing solutions to these problems that are possible.

This inspiration video and song/composition was put on YouTube by Leland & Lorie Bell to support the awareness of Attawapiskat. I have a personal connection toAttawapiskat, as a friend from teacher’s college is now teaching there. He has been updating a blog and posting pictures of his classroom activities, as well as community activities. There has been a lot of news coverage around Attwapiskat of late, as MP Charlie Angus has been heavily involved in efforts to seek aid for the peoples of Attawapiskat so that they can obtain adequate shelter and homes. Many people across Canada, and abroad have been showing their support for the people who live in Attawapiskat. This relates to Lee Brown’s commentary in that the integration of healing as well as emotional awareness should be present in those schools in Attawapiskat. The 400 years of anger and fear felt because of colonization, as well as the reintroduction of those thoughts and feelings as a result of the Government of Canada’s efforts in making apologetic notions through a ceremony for reconciliation, are the same types of emotions felt by children going to school in Attawapiskat as well. Their schools have been relocated due to pollution and unsafe living conditions. Their new school is a system of portables, which can be broken into easily. The community has been engaged in efforts to raise funds for new schools, and one student took it upon herself to raise global awareness for her passion towards obtaining a new school in Attawapiskat as well.

Again, relating to the idea that Indigenous peoples in Canada have much to offer not just their own communities, but the country as well as on a global scale, this article was put forth by the Government of Ontario to recognize the efforts of six aboriginal youth who have won Bartleman Awards. These awards recognize the creating writing talents of these people, and show that the tradition of storytelling is alive and well in communities in Canada and that we are grateful for the talents of these passionate and creative youths.

This link is important in that it gives a depiction of an indigenous medicine wheel. Personally, when I first saw this medicine wheel I did not understand it. Upon reading the article I was enlightened by the knowledge that this medicine wheel contains. I began to realize that healing centres are an important aspect to indigenous cultures in that they are a healthy alternative to more modern forms of medicine. For example, a healing centre in British Columbia helped to heal 9000 people over a period of about 30-35 years. It is a holistic way of thinking about medicine, in that addictions are related to emotions that have not been expressed and communicating with the person seeking healing is very important to the process of healing.


October 8, 2012   No Comments

Connecting Weblog to Research Interests: The Western Communities

Weblog #1: Entry #5

Thus far, my thoughts and feelings around indigenity and technology have meandered liked a tributary heading toward a large body of water. At times ideas rush forward in class 3 rapids while most other times the body of thought is happy to move downstream in careful, ponderous reflection. Being interested in the factors that have lead to the community of which I am a part of, I decided to take a closer look at the Western Communities, made up of View Royal, Langford and Colwood, approximately 15 min North of Victoria, BC. More specifically, I plan to focus on how the Western dominant culture has at times worked with, clashed or merged with the three Nations in the immediate area. My sense is that the dominant culture, although it may have initially bullied its way into determining what our community has come to look and be defined as, has been tempered by the communities, beliefs and values of the T’Souke, Songhees and Esquimalt Nations to produce a uniquely hybrid sense of community. I am eager to discover how technology has played and continues to play a role in this hypothesized relationship.

October 1, 2012   No Comments

Esquimalt Nation’s Concept of Community

Weblog #1: Entry #4

While viewing the Esquimalt Nation’s Community Building site I happened upon the statement:

“At the core of the plan are the Natural Laws, which guide the Cycle of Life. These, in turn, inform the Plan, which will consist of a series of goals, objectives and policies covering topics of importance to the community.”

I’m interested in the Natural Laws and the Cycle of Life as defined by the Esquimalt Nation. These two factors will clearly have a role in the emerging community and must therefore have an impact on the larger Western Communities. It’s just a hypothesis at this stage so I’ll look to refine my ideas as I progress.



October 1, 2012   No Comments

Songhees Nation

Weblog #1: Entry#3

The more surfing/research I do the more I realize that I have so little knowledge about the communities around me. Just looking at the Songhees Nation website you get the sense of just how organized and structured a Band can be. There are departments and systems in place to help foster a growing community.

Another point of interest to me was the clear link and partnership with two post secondary institutions, UVic and Camosun College, which were linked directly on the Songhees’ Community Development Page:

September 30, 2012   No Comments

Western Communities: T’Sou-ke Nation

Weblog #1: Entry #2

So I decided to start with the T’Sou-ke Nation as a jumping off point by which to frame my research into how indigenous and the Western dominant community have worked together to create a larger community. Check out the Solar-Power Project on the T’Sou-ke Nation Website – apparently the largest solar power project in BC. Here is a prime example of FN sustainability and environmental awareness blending with Western Science.


September 30, 2012   No Comments

The Role of the Sooke and Songhees Nations in Building the Western Communities

Weblog #1: Entry #1

Hey everyone,

At this stage, my ideas seem pretty specific to me but let me know if I’m either too specific or not. I presently teach in SD 62: Sooke which is just outside of Victoria BC. The area has a rich and involved history meshing First Nations, Spanish, English and Russian cultures, a a clear result of European exploration here on the West Coast of Canada. Next semester, I’m scheduled to teach what I believe to be is a locally developed course called, English 10: First Peoples. Based on my meetings thus far it seems to be focused on delivering the English 10 Curriculum while focusing on First Nations Culture, Literature and Art.

My intent with regard to our collective research is to explore how the Sooke and Songhees Nations helped to build the existing culture that is prevalent in the Western Communities just outside of Victoria, BC.

More to come as I refine my resources and links,


September 28, 2012   No Comments

Leading by example – First Nations Vice Principal

My school (Prince George Secondary School) has a new Vice-Principal this year, and she is Aboriginal. She joins the other two Vices; one of which is East Indian. I believe this demographic representation amongst the leaders in our school is both intentional and necessary. The East Indian VP was brought in a few years ago to try to help both staff and students adapt to the increasing number of East Indian students. There were cultural issues, specifically with the treatment of female teachers by the male students, that were unhealthy.

Similarly, the new Aboriginal VP has as one of her many duties to liaise with both First Nations non-Aboriginal students and staff and establish and maintain healthy relationships in the school. Over the last few years we have seen restorative justice and healing circles become a larger part of the school environment. I look forward to this year!

September 24, 2012   No Comments

Sam’s weblog & research focus – targetted instruction

Many thanks to Janet for her link to the Marie Battiste YouTube video on “What is Learning Spirit”. ETEC 521 is part of the MET programme; but for me, it is a timely component. For the last 7 years I have been teaching in a school with a large number of First Nations students and families. For me this is a new dynamic; aside from a few friends and classmates in my youth, the First Nations student is somewhat of an unknown entity to me.

Marie Battiste states that there are many situations in which young people have not made it through school, and shut down and “people think they are stupid”. This is such a tragedy, and as an educator I cannot but help to feel guilt because I am part of the system.

My hope is that through this course I will develop a much clearer idea of what a First Nations student needs from the school system, and more specifically their teachers, in order to succeed. My research project and main weblog focus will be along the lines of developing targeted instruction – teaching strategies and components of my lesson plans – that will help aboriginal youth achieve greater success in my classroom.

September 24, 2012   No Comments