Category — Module 2

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:

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

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 # 3été-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:   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:

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:

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 health and technology – early childhood

Weblog #4

Waabiny Time is a television series on pay TV (and also on DVD) that is based on the learning approaches of Sesame Street and Play School.

Waabiny Time is the first indigenous language program made for an early childhood audience from ages 3 to 6 and focuses on Noongar language acquisition. The Noongar people’s land includes Perth, an area to the north, and the whole south west corner of Western Australia.

Waabiny Time also aims to encourage pride and participation in Noongar culture, merging traditional and contemporary Noongar culture. It also integrates other messages including health messages.

As described by Smith, Burke and Ward 200, the mix of contemporary and traditional demonstrates the dynamic and flexible nature of Aboriginal people and challenges the stereotype that Indigenous people “live in the past”. It also parallels Zimmerman, Zimmerman and Bruguier’s 2000 use of technology to restore language but within a different context.

Both presenters of the show are Noongar, but the script, directing and production has been undertaken by non-Indigenous people.

One unintended outcome of the production of Waabiny Time is that non Indigenous children at an early are also engaged by the program. They learn Noongar language and about Noongar culture from Noongar people.

Link to Waabinny Time website

Short clips from Waabinny Time


As an aside – an interesting review on Using television to improve learning opportunities for Indigenous children. Australian Council for Educational Research 2010



Smith C, Burke H and Ward GK. Chapter 1 in Indigenous Cultures in an INterconnected World. “Globalisation and Indigenous Cultures: Threat or Empowerment.”

Zimmerman KJ,  Zimmerman KP and Bruguier LR Chapter 4 in Indigenous Cultures in an Interconnected World, “Cyberspace Smoke Signals: New Technologies and Native American Ethnicity.”

October 14, 2012   No Comments


Weblog #3

The discussions on stereotypes and maintaining cultural identities has led into discussion about ‘melting pot’ versus ‘mosaic’. This lead me to explore multiculturalism.

The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosphy has an excellent section on multiculturalism.

It provides justifications for multiculturalism and critiques. The justifications include:

  • Communitarian  –  individuals should be free to choose and pursue their own conceptions of the good life.
  • Liberal egalitarian – based on the liberal values of autonomy and equality
  • Postcolonial  –   based on premises about the value of tribal culture and membership, but also on what is owed to Native peoples for the historical injustices perpetrated against them.

The article outlines some of the critiques of multiculturalism but argues that the greatest challenge for multiculturalism is not from philosophical views but rather from political ones, and that the focus and debate currently is not on Indigenous people but rather immigants.

“There is little retreat from recognizing the rights of minority nations and indigenous peoples; the retreat is restricted to immigrant multiculturalism. Part of the backlash against immigrant multiculturalism is based on fear and anxiety about foreign “others” and nostalgia for an imagined past when everyone shared thick bonds of identity and solidarity.”

In Australia we lived through a period where the Prime Minister tried to cease the policy of multiculturalism. We have emerged from this period and reaffirmed multiculturalism in 2011.

In 2011, Bloemraad wrote The Debate Over Multiculturalism: Philosophy, Politics, and Policy.

In it she identified that multiculturalism has a number of meanings, as a:

  • demographic multiculturalism
  • political philosophy
  • public policy

She describes how Canadian researchers have identified a multiculturalism policy index (MCP Index) that measures the extent to which eight types of policies appear in 21 Western nations. Australia, Canada and Sweden have scores over 7 in 2010, whilst the US has a score of 3 and France and Germany both fall between 2-3. The graph of the scores is interesting reading.

Bloemraad’s discussion mirrors that of Heath 2012 who describes three multicultural issues/myths:

  1. multiculturalism has encouraged exclusion rather than inclusion, by siphoning minority communities away from the mainstream, and condemning them to live parallel lives.
  2. that by living parallel lives minorities preserve their ethnic behaviours and values that run counter to broader society.
  3. these separate communities provide fertile soil for radicalisation.

Bloemaard adds the impact of multiculturalism on the members of the majority group, suggests that some people are very alarmed about diversity, probably due to fear related to issues 2 & 3.

Bloemaard identifies that there are seven of nine studies tracking anti-immigrant attitudes over time, where  researchers have found stable or increasingly negative attitudes toward immigrants, especially in Western Europe, while only two studies reported more positive trends. This is interesting and seems to confirm the Western European research data.

In contradistinction Heath writes about the recent British report that clearly identified that the three main issues/myths identified above were indeed myths.

Heath A 2012. Has multiculturalism failed in the UK? Not really

October 14, 2012   No Comments

Revision of Intent and Subsequent Posts



Revision of intent

As a result of my readings in reference to this weblog and recent course readings, I would like to revise my area of intention regarding my research.  Instead of focussing on how technology can be used to connect Indigenous students to their cultural context within a learning framework, I would like to focus on a process that helps them put technology into a cultural context thereby enabling them to make informed and negotiated decisions about its use in their communities and lives.  This type of education around technology, its origins, myths, basis in westernized values, etc. can inform and, in so doing, liberate Indigenous youth, and others, from further colonization by the “white” use of technology.  This process would also provide them with a voice in the social negotiation of where technology has come from and where it will go.  I would like to point out that, for now, my proposed plan would include education of all youths or adults within an integrated classroom and would provide an unfolding of information and discussion before jumping into Indigenous perspectives and how their lens may provide a beneficial angle from which to view technology.


1st Post

Dei, George J. Sefa. 2000. “Rethinking the Role of Indigenous Knowledges in the Academy.” International Journal of Inclusive Education 4(2):111–33.  Retrieved from

This paper addresses the many issues facing the critical examination of the definition and operationalization of Indigenous knowledge in academic institutions, also referred to as a process of academic decolonization.  With the advent of the information age and globalization leading to more and more dominant flows of Euro-American perspectives, it is all the more important to bring Indigenous knowledge into Euro-American institutions of power to prevent an imbalance of knowledge dissemination, generation and discussion.  Indigenous knowledge is encapsulated by the author as “the common-good-sense ideas and cultural knowledge of local people concerning the everyday realities of living” and is generated through “social interpretations of meanings and explanations” which are “holistic and relational” and not “individualized and disconnected into a universal abstract” (p.5).  When considering the discursive approach to understanding Indigenous knowledges within dominant academic institutions, the anti-colonial approach is perceived by the author to be the most effective means to discussing the differences and connections between the knowledges.  Anti-colonialism “interrogates the power configurations embedded in ideas, cultures and histories of knowledge production and use.  It is an epistemology of the colonized, anchored in the indigenous sense of collective and common colonial (‘alien, imposed and dominating’) consciousness.  This approach also “offers a critique of the wholesale degradation, disparagement and discard of ‘tradition’ and ‘culture’ in the interest of so-called ‘modernity’, ‘individualism’, and the ‘global space’.  Overall, the author advocates the continued critical and oppositional approach to the destabilization of Eurocentric knowledge, ‘as the only valid way of knowing’, in order to create incremental but cumulative changes to the institutional knowledge frameworks.  But he cautions against cynicism that would claim the right to discrete and pristine spaces for indigenous knowledges, outside of institutions and the effects of other knowledge, that would act to marginalize Indigenous people and their knowledge from a critical collective and academic discourse on knowledge [need to creolize]. As a final note on this article, the author cautions against certain problems regarding knowledge representations as contributing to false and unproductive discourses on Indigendous knowledge within a global framework:

  • difficulty in defining an authentic voice “who has discursive authority on Indigenous knowledges, in other words, how do we define the ‘real past’ and the group’s cultural identity? (p.12)
  • representation of Indigenous knowledges as “fixed and static outside site and space removed from practice, performance, power, and process” (p. 15)
  • “fetishized representations of Indigenous culture and identity” (p.14)
  • “‘exoticization’ of cultures and traditions” (p.14)
  • “selective [mis]capturings of elements of their past, histories, and traditions” (p.13)
  • and finally, the author questions the loss of meaning in storing Indigenous knowledge, specifically, orality as ‘text’ or ‘recorded sound’ outside of their given contexts. (p. 15)


2nd Post

Johnson, J., & Murton, B. (2007).  Re/placing native science: Indigenous voices in contemporary constructions of nature. Geographical Research 45, 121–29. Retrieved from

In “Re/placing native science: Indigenous voices in contemporary constructions of nature”, Johnson and Murton discuss the dominance of the western Euro-American perspective and the need to insert the Indigenous voice into these dialogues.  From the days of Kant, Descartes and the European enlightenment, Euro-American thinking has been dominated by a knowledge system that disembodies humans from the order of the world in an objective process that attempts to express the “universal truth” of things.  The authors,  claim that this objective European taxonomy and systematizing of nature, in which specimens are removed from their place in their ecological systems, and other people’s economic, historical, social, and symbolic systems and are reordered in European patterns of order, has led to the wholesale alienation of the Indigenous approach to knowledge. One Indigenous author, Gregory Cajete (cited in Johnson & Murton, 2007), describes Native science as ‘a lived and creative relationship with the natural world … [an] intimate and creative participation [which] heightens awareness of the subtle qualities of a place’ (p.1). Each of these narratives represents an ideology which, through the voices of many different perspectives, can be shared, challenged, negotiated and rewritten to better suite humanities social, scientific, technological and cultural needs.  Unfortunately, Makere Stewart-Harawira (cited in Johnson & Murton, 2007), observes, ‘outside of Indigenous scholarship itself, within academic circles little serious attention has been paid to examining the possibilities inherent in Indigenous ontologies.  In the context of the previous article of this blog, if the global society is to prevent an imbalance of power in knowledge systems, it must be willing to analyze the current Euro-American approaches to knowledge and include different counter-narratives as both a way to understand possible bias and represent different perspectives.


3rd Post

Dinerstein, J. (2006). Technology and Its Discontents: On the Verge of the Posthuman. American Quarterly, 58(3), 569-95. Retrieved from

Dinerstein, in “Technology and its discontents: On the verge of posthuman”, asks how is it possible to think about technologies outside of a western framework?  In this article, Haraway (cited in Dinerstein, 2006) recognizes the need for a more “imaginative relation to techno-science”…a call for new metaphors – such as trickster figures like the Coyote to “refigure possible worlds” by thinking outside of westernized views on techno-science.  In essence the article discusses the history of techno-scientific thinking, westernized views on technology, and the “white” cyborg thereby suggesting the subsequent need for counter-narratives to transform the techno-cultural mythos.

The article addresses the very real need to confront issues like: What is progress for? and What is technology for?  By turning towards an understanding of human kind as a “multiethnic, multicultural, multi-genetic construction created through centuries of contact and acculturation”, we can creolize the communication about technology and return to the concept of “social progress” instead of “technological progress”.  This would add the feminist, Indigenous and minority voices to the technological discussion while diluting the “white male” legacies of colonialism, capitalism and idealized technological utopianism.


4th post

In Indigenous Perspectives on Globalization: Self-Determination Through Autonomous Media Creation, Rebeka Tabobondung, a Native America writer and creator of the online Muskrat Magazine, addresses concerns about Indigenous people, globalization and autonomy.  She discusses how Indigenous communities might foster autonomy and self-determination through new media and combat the dominant westernized world view.  She suggests that the domination and commoditization of land and people spawned by the “neo-liberal globalization” movement has resulted in a degradation of ecological, economic and social aspects of all of our lives, not just Indigenous peoples.

Unlike the mainstream media productions that promote the values and interests of the neo-liberal dominant world view, autonomous media provides an opportunity for Indigenous peoples to reconstruct media representations of themselves and become influencers of mainstream culture.  Through autonomous media creation, Indigenous people will be able to create media that reflects their values, culture, aesthetics and diversity.   But she worries that, despite its massive potential, if individuals limit themselves to passive consumption, globalization and destruction of other world views will continue.

She described Indigenous media production like a “contemporary talking stick” that enables sharing between people of stories, support, and space, even though separated by great distances.  Ultimately, Indigenous cultures, myths and history will continue if kept alive in the minds and imaginations of the people as they share, define, reflect on the past, present and future of their community.  And through the global reach of new media, she envisions a globalization that includes a sharing of world views that will benefit the entire planet and people.

When I first started this course, I saw the virtual online world as simulation and non-materialistic, something that couldn’t provide an authentic connection or replace in-place tribal interactions, but during my readings in ETEC 531, I began to see that these connections are as real as anything in front of me that I can pick up and touch.  Just because we are creating understanding and connections in digital space doesn’t make it any less meaningful than F2F interactions.  It has been this revelation that has given me a greater appreciation for the use of new media in Indigenous fight for autonomy, culture, and influence.


5th Post

Rebecka Tabobondung’s online magazine, Muskrat, covers everything from contemporary issues facing Indigenous urban peoples to more tradition discourse in which elders are consulted for their cultural knowledge.  It demonstrates a modern use of media technology for the expression of urban Canadian Native American’s interests and discourse, while also educating outsiders in a very organic forum.  It contains stories, art, recipes, insights, activism, blogs, links and more.  Many of their articles include videos of Native American’s experiences, memories, and experiential insights.

As mentioned in the previous post, Rebeka provides a new media format that reminds me of a mainstreams Oprah magazine full of pictures, inspiration, relevant information, news, events, discourse, etc.  Although, she provides a uniquely Indigenous aesthetics and design in her interviews in which she allows each person to tell their story without interruption….something I noticed in Michael Maker`s interviews which present a very different style than mainstream media.


Cheers, Steve



October 13, 2012   No Comments

Ancient African Math/Science Shatters Stereotypes

I found that this site fit beautifully into the topics for Module 2.  It is a blog posting from 2007 but it provided links to both a documentary on Africa called Cosmic Africa and to an article called Stars of the Sahara (full text available from the UBC Library) in New Scientist regarding finding evidence in Mali of the scientific and mathematics history of that area.  The two are tied together in the blog and the originator of the documentary, an Astrophysicist from South Africa named Thebe Medupe is quote extensively.  Although these quotes originate from Africa, they sound similar to some of the concerns that arise around math, science and stereotypes of North American Indigenous populations.

For example, Medupe is quoted as saying:

“…when I was 15, I started to question why everything was Eurocentric.  Textbooks were using European things and so on. So I used to ask myself whether it was because there was nothing Africa can offer. I refused to believe that. It remained a very big question for me for a long time, until I came across a review on African ethnoastronomy. I was very excited.”

October 13, 2012   No Comments

First Scientists Videos

Whoa…I will end with my 5th weblog post on an optimistic note.

As we embark on strategies to minimize stereotypes and to accommodate the aboriginal learner in the classroom, we want to seek methods that merge two different approaches.

This website presents videos of a collaboration of traditional indigenous knowledge and western science.  There is a vignette regarding two unique ecosystems, agriculture, and natural health.

To me, this represents evidence of change.  It also represents evidence of respect of knowledge and skills among the stakeholders.  It’s a slow beginning…but hopefully the foundation is established for more collaboration and a better relationship among cultures.

October 12, 2012   2 Comments

The effect of stereotyping on young people

Growing up watching and playing “cowboys and indians” must have an effect on aboriginal youth.  The stereotypes that we are learning about most certainly must affect youth profoundly.

The following article identifies some indigenous stereotypes in video games – depicting indigenous as someone to shoot for points, or as a half-breed hero protecting his people.  Furthermore, in the news or on tv indigenous people are often shown in a negative light.

This must contribute to a lack of self-esteem and identity.  According to this article, they often feel “invisible”.

When do aboriginal youth or children see themselves as human beings?   Shouldn’t this become a priority in order to maintain a healthy society?   I can appreciate the efforts of the APTN, but I believe this should become more mainstream.  As I mentioned in a previous post – we need to merge approaches in all sorts of media to challenge stereotypes and biases.

October 12, 2012   No Comments

Reel Injun – the full length movie

Thanks to Camille for mentioning this movie.  I came across a link through CBC’s “the passionate eye” to the full length film.

The film documents the depiction of indigenous people by Hollywood – from silent films to those made today.  Some of the stereotypes shown are as follows:  stoic warrior, noble hero, and free spirit.  It was quite interesting to witness the depictions visually – it sort of solidified the injustice of such a stereotype.  It is encouraging to note that films made recently tend to depict more complete, real, human characters.

I am horrified about the thought that the population assumed that indigenous people would “vanish” and felt the need to romanticize about their way of life.   I am also aghast that in the older movies, “every Indian is a Plains Indian.”  Hopefully, as we become more educated so will our learners and we will begin to exact change on the stereotypes.

You can watch the video here:


October 12, 2012   No Comments

Indigenous Knowledge is Transformative Knowledge

As I venture along this cyber-journey, I am beginning to internalize the need to address our educational system so as not to fail our aboriginal learners.   There is a need to merge aboriginal approaches with Eurocentric ones; in a holistic and inclusive fashion.  Here, Marie Battiste outlines some constructs that are cohesive with both systems:

  • Pragmatic cooperation
  • Strands of connectedness among diverse life forms—ecological, spiritual, human
  • Humans are interdependent with nature and humans are most dependent on nature.
  • Sharing and cooperation are basic precepts for life.
  • Knowledge journey is central, but aided by others, both spiritual and worldly.

Marie Battiste presents an optimistic look at “post-colonialism”.  Not that it implies after colonialism but that it presents an opportunity for reconstruction and transformation.

October 12, 2012   No Comments

Dispelling Stereotypes

This CBC article highlights the results of a report on the “State of Aboriginal Learning in Canada” conducted by the Canadian Council on Learning.

It touches upon the more holistic nature of indigenous ways of knowing, particularly acknowledging the role of informal learning.  It stresses the need for aboriginal learners to connect with their community, culture and Elders.

The report from the CCL further cautions our educational system that conventional measurement approaches are not reflective of the holistic nature of the Aboriginal learner.  The report also indicates that the internet has become an essential tool for aboriginal learners — to connect with others and to promote lifelong learning opportunities (distance ed & skill development).

Here’s a link to the 78-page report:

To me, this brings home the idea that we focus so much on content in our system that we lose the ability to educate the “person”.    We also need to do a better job of recognizing informal learning, and realizing that “one size does not fit all” in learning approaches, preferences and measurement.   Can we offer…more opportunities for place-based learning, for connection with community, and for nurturing relationships?  And…how does the internet present both “problems and promises” to that end?

October 12, 2012   No Comments