Category — Module 3

TEKW Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Wisdom

Web log #4

Entry 4

This paper, Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Aboriginal People in British Columbia is by Nancy Turner, an Ethnobotanist out of UBC. She looks at three main themes of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Wisdom (TEKW), sustainability, world view and communication of knowledge. She charts plant resources like edible mushrooms, seaweeds, alder and cedar and their harvesting practices. Then she takes a couple of specific examples (yellow avalanche lily and balsamroot) and traces the use, knowledge and history of the plant. It gives a non-native a food sense of the scope of knowledge held by Aboriginal Peoples.

December 3, 2012   No Comments

Digital Songlines Game

Weblog 4.3

The Digital Songlines (DSL) project was a digital storytelling project, using a 3D gaming engine. The project  funded by the Australasian Cooperative Research centre for Interaction Design. Unfortunately funding ceased some time after 2007 and it was difficult to find other projects.

Leavy et al (2007) in their article Evaluating the Digital Songlines Game Engine for Australian Indigenous storytelling outline the project. The aim was to use quality gaming to allow users to experience Indigenous virtual heritage in high fidelity simulation with culturally appropriate tools. They describe the importance of Aboriginal collaboration through each project and outline a protocol to address IP and copyright issues that is entirely community focused and driven. The depiction of ‘country’ in each project was not just a backdrop for the game but was the largest ‘artefact’. ‘Country’ is both a receptacle and it actively participates in the telling of the story. (p.164)

The feedback about the game varied with age of participants. The younger participants used to commercial games were either disappointed that it wasn’t the same, or delighted because it was! Older participants appreciated the language, tradition and stories being ‘brought to life’.

Users and developers saw it as a way technology can assist in the empowering of cultural identity.

YouTube example of a Digital songline project

November 23, 2012   No Comments

Module 3~! So, I was looking for anything that connected orality and literacy to this modules topics of indigenous identity contrast with the culture of the colonizer and tradition, technology, and youth. These are some of the interesting things I found.

This is an interesting article for teachers to read. It focuses on the indigenous cultures of Australia rather than North America, but some of the ideas are good.

The Ecology and Society website presents an article outlining a shared project involving government and a local indigenous group working together in forest management and conservation of habitat. One group brings science-based knowledge to the project, and the other brings their own cultural knowledge to the project. It is an interesting example of the possibilities.

This article presents a study done with social workers to determine what values and needs were different for Native American peoples than for dominant Euro culture. The goal was to generate more culturally competent social workers.

This site is actually a course site for another teacher education program. It pulls together some interesting materials and ideas all on one site, so it’s got a lot to offer. The particular course is titled “Culture and Religion for a Sustainable Future.” The nature of the content naturally follows suit with that title.

This is an information page for the Arctic Indigenous Youth Alliance. It outlines goals, activities, opportunities for youth, and ways that anyone can get involved. Their main goal is to connect youth with the knowledge and wisdom of Elders and keep that connection alive.

November 17, 2012   No Comments

Module 3 Research Connections

Module 3 Entry #1- Recommended Reading: Education Indigenous to Place: Western Science Meets Native Reality: by Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley and Ray Barnhardt

This article looks at Indigenous Knowledge Systems, heralds the increasing recognition their validity in a broader context of western education and policy development, and compares and contrasts Indigenous Worldviews with those of Western Worldviews.

The article provides an interesting anecdote in which a 90-year-old elder chides a group of biologists about their record of statistics on fish habitat that is 30 years old, when his people have been monitoring the fish for 300 years.

A worthwhile read, and very much in line with my research interests.


Module 3 Entry #2- Recommended Reading: Indigenous Knowledge Systems/Alaska Native Ways of Knowing by Ray Barnhardt Angayuqaq Oscar Kawagley

This article looks at approaches to integrate the role of indigenous knowledge in mainstream education to enrich learning for all. It is recognized that indigenous students have long been disenchanted with westernized society’s approach to education, but we are now coming to the realization that a mono-cultural approach to education is bound to fail. There is an increasing willingness to look at other approaches to learning that diverge from the conventional form of education that has prevailed.


Module 3 Entry #3- What is Traditional Knowledge- Alaska Native Science Commission

I was led to this site that explains the definition of Traditional Knowledge and contrasts it from non-indigenous knowledge, discusses structure and discusses maintaining ownership and control.

As defined by The Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Mayor, 1994) defines traditional knowledge:

The indigenous people of the world possess an immense knowledge of their environments, based on centuries of living close to nature.  Living in and from the richness and variety of complex ecosystems, they have an understanding of the properties of plants and animals, the functioning of ecosystems and the techniques for using and managing them that is particular and often detailed.  In rural communities in developing countries, locally occurring species are relied on for many – sometimes all – foods, medicines, fuel, building materials and other products.  Equally, people’s knowledge and perceptions of the environment, and their relationships with it, are often important elements of cultural identity. 


Module 3 Entry #4- Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum by Sidney Stephens

This handbook serves as a practical guide and is geared towards teachers in an effort to integrate traditional native knowledge and western science perspectives. It originates from the Alaska Native Knowledge Network.

Sidney Stephens has attempted to “distill and synthesize the critical ingredients for making the teaching of science relevant and meaningful in culturally adaptable ways.”

The aim of the handbook is to “provide teachers invaluable assistance with the task of developing and teaching culturally responsive science curriculum.”


Module 3 Entry #5- Inuit Qaujisarvingat: Inuit Knowledge Centre

A short video interview with Martin Lougheed, from the Inuit Knowledge Centre, where he makes the case for “a synthesis of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Inuit traditional knowledge) and western science to help better understand, and find solutions to, the significant climatic changes affecting Inuit Nunangat.”

Goals for the Inuit Knowledge Centre include:

  • Promote information
  • Make connections between researchers and Inuit Knowledge
  • Ensure that proper, effective and ethical way
  • Promote traditional knowledge in policy and decision making -video interview

November 11, 2012   No Comments

UVic’s First People’s House on Coast Salish Lands

Weblog #3: Entry #5

While the University of Victoria pays homage to the Coast Salish community of southern Vancouver Island, it does so in an indirect fashion which does not seem to place as much importance on the role FN cultures on the origins of the people or roots of the land. Based on the description of the First Peoples House, perhaps more attention and respect is directed to the local nation(s) through the artwork and structure itself. However, the text on the site does do a fantastic job of welcoming to all nations.


November 7, 2012   No Comments

Rachel’s Module 3 Weblog

Weblog #3

The Indigenous Environmental Network

The IEN was started in the United States when a group of grassroots Indigenous peoples began addressing environmental issues, as well as economic problems. The IEN works towards helping Indigenous communities to protect what is most important to them (eg. Their sacred sites, land, water, natural resources and the health of people and living things), and keep their communities sustainable. They provide support and resources to Indigenous communities and youth throughout North America, but anyone could access their resources on the web. Their website site provides links to media resources, news articles as well as videos about how indigenous peoples are protecting the earth and using their knowledge of ecology to protect and sustain habitats.


Project Overview: Why a Native American Science Curriculum?

The cultural heritage of most Native American and Alaska Native peoples incorporates considerable knowledge and experience of the natural world. Despite having these strong cultural traditions, the indigenous voice is rarely heard in the science curriculum. For example, Native Americans remain the most under‑represented minority in scientific disciplines overall, and in environmentally oriented sciences in particular. According to the research done here, there are currently less than twenty PhD level Native Americans in the natural and physical sciences in the United States and Canada. Native scientists would be able to bring new, fresh perspectives and insights to environmental science as well as resource management. This particular website has two PowerPoint presentations embedded, which can assist in the understanding of the importance of an indigenous perspective in the science curriculum.


Renee Gurneau – Foundations of Indigenous Thought (video)

This video was posted to YouTube on Apr 8, 2012 by ienearth, the YouTube channel for the Indigenous Environmental Network. Their YouTube channel has many videos which highlight the indigenous perspective on environmental issues. In this particular video Renee Gurneau highlights the importance of including the indigenous perspective when environmental issues are discussed. Renee, Previous President of the Red Lake Nation Tribal College, talks about Indigenous Knowledge and the importance of the reality of connections to Mother Earth. Indigenous science and Indigenous knowledge in the past has been discounted for generations – and the message in this video is that “now is the time to return to our original instructions”.


United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The UB Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council. They discuss indigenous issues with respect to such issues as economic and social development, culture, the environment and health. The permanent forum has recently posted about the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples. They state that “Indigenous peoples are among the first to face the direct consequences of climate change, due to their dependence upon, and close relationship, with the environment and its resources”. Climate change speeds up and makes worse difficulties that indigenous communities are already facing. For example, indigenous peoples in Africa’s Kalahari Desert have been forced to live near government drilled sources of water and depend more and more on the government’s support for their survival. This is directly related to rising temperatures. Other environmental problems, such as sand dunes expanding and increased wind speeds have caused a loss in vegetation and have had a negative impact on the traditional cattle and goat farming practices that would otherwise take place there. The forum provides many rich resources and case studies to consult in terms of traditional ecological knowledge and environmental concerns of indigenous peoples worldwide.


ANKN Resources: Culturally-Based Curriculum Resources

The curriculum resources included here have been selected to illustrate ways in which Indigenous and Western knowledge systems can be included in schools through a balanced, comprehensive curriculum framework that can be adapted to local school communities to suit their needs. The resources are intended to help teachers and students make the connection between the knowledge, skills and ways of knowing used to maintain a livelihood in the villages and on Native reserves, and the knowledge, skills and cultural standards for teaching and learning reflected in the school curriculum. They have a searchable database. Also, the two diagrams are useful. The first is the curriculum spiral chart with 12 different categories for lessons, such as cultural expression and applied technology. The next diagram is a representation of an iceberg with three different levels. The first is surface culture (eg. Fine arts and story telling), the middle layer of the iceberg is folk culture (eg. dancing, cooking, and games) and the deepest part of the water under the iceberg represents deep culture (eg. language, tools, genealogy). The diagram shows the different levels of culture which these lessons can delve into.

November 6, 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

Mannys Weblog#3

Weblog  #3

As I begin to narrow down my research interest, I thought the best course of action would be to investigate what kind of programs are out there locally so that it can be more relevant to my teaching practice. I have added a few posts regarding groups in the lower mainland area that our school works closely with.

1) L.O.V.E.

The leave out violence group has base stations throughout the whole of Canada. It was initiated by a lady (Sheila Rudberg) who had lost her husband in what appeared to be a random act of violence. This group uses various forms of media such as photojournalism to address and empower youth to speak out against violence.

2) Strengthening the Circle Aboriginal Leadership Conference

This annual event hosts students from across the lower mainland along with support staff and brings together important figures from within the aboriginal community. During the 2-day event, students participate in a variety of activities intended to build upon leadership and communication skills.

3) Pacific Cinematheque

This organization is involved in all aspects of video production. They have a 4 day digital bootcamp program where they go to schools and let them use their professional movie making equipment. Students are allowed to take on various tasks such as script writing, casting, editing, etc. The ultimate goal being the production of a mini-movie ready for publishing and entry into contests across North America.

4) First Nations Films

This website provides a catalogue of movies created by first nations communities across Canada. They are open to educators and span a wide range of topics such as residential schooling and politics about life on the reserve. These documentaries have been created by first nations people for first nations people. They range in price from $100-$150 each but showcase some of the finest works over the past decade.

5) CBC – Aboriginal

This link highlights pertinent issues facing aboriginal communities across Canada. It contains links to many issues that face aboriginal communities and highlights a lot of the topics we have been deconstructing in our cohort.  There is also an archive section in which there is a documentary on the “fight for native rights.” It is well worth a quick browse and appeals to many different research interests.


November 5, 2012   No Comments

Reconstruct, Reclaim, Restore & Renew – Decolonization and the Indigenous Learner

Entry #1:  As I began to grapple with the notion of decolonization and what that means to me and to my learners, I came across this Powerpoint by Dr. Marie Battiste of the University of Saskatchewan.  She outlines a number of recommendations for instructors on how to gain better perspective on decolonization.  Specifically, she recommends accepting diversity as the norm; while recognizing the uniqueness of the aboriginal learning process in gaining outcomes from place.  She asserts that relational work with Elders and community is of utmost importance.  She asks of instructors to approach learners by sharing your own stories, not judging or nullifying another’s story.

A quote I found of particular interest was from Ningwakwe George, “We have the emotional drop-out from the institutions before the physical drop-out; we need to dismantle fears if we are to engage spirit; fulfill their needs, not ours, but our learners’ needs.”  This is reminiscent of the video we watched of Dr. Lee Brown in Module 1 about teaching for the well-being of the whole learner.  It also leads me to critically reflect on my practice – am I doing enough to engage learner spirit?

Another striking quote was from R. v. Côté, ([1996] 3 S.C.R. 139), “Where there is an Aboriginal right, there is a corresponding right to teach that right.”  Perhaps the right to teach is more essential to recognize and acknowledge the crimes of trauma and oppression that have occurred.

Entry #2:   My second episode of “googling” led me to the article:  “Decolonizing Diaspora:  Whose Traditional Land are We On?” by Celia Haig-Brown of York University.   From the article, I gather that she is a University Professor within the Faculty of Education.  She poses opportunities for deeper understanding and reflection as she works towards decolonization of our country and our lives.

She begins by posing the question to her class, “Whose traditional land are you on?”   In this way, she acknowledges the rich history of this land and Aboriginal people.  She delves deep into the colonization experience the complex histories with schools.  She affirms that these students become better prepared to cope with the complexities of a diverse classroom.

She speaks of using “decolonizing autobiographies” in her classroom in which she asks her students to consider their relationship with the land and the original people who lived on it.  She tells her own narrative as a “first step in the long journey of possibility for decolonizing” (p. 11).  I personally feel that I could also share my narrative and connect my history with the land and the original people who lived there.  This would begin the dialogue with my learners about their stories and their connections.

Entry #3:  Further along on my cyber-journey and contending with the issues around decolonization and education, I came across this document about a project in the Toronto District School Board.   In the Executive Summary (p. v), they succinctly summarize the problem, “institutions of formal schooling…are failing to provide Aboriginal students with the educational environment and experiences they require to achieve success.”

What was most striking to me were the student profiles on pages 31 – 33, in which the learners shared their stories and their experiences with schooling, before and after.  Their themes ring true as those presented to us in the class materials:   learners need to feel a connection with place and identity; they need to be approached holistically, they need to trust their surroundings, and they need to be nurtured to develop confidence in their abilities and sense of worthiness.

Entry #4:   As I was having a rather animated discussion with a coworker regarding the concept of decolonization and aboriginal rights, I was reminded of that Innu community that had been featured in the news whose young people were addicted to sniffing gas.  I decided to revisit the story and found it here:

When I first heard this newscast, I didn’t ask the important question, “why?”  I just focused on the tragedy of the lost souls.  If you read further down the page, the Innu speak of being “severely demoralized” by colonization and now turn to drink and self-destruction.  They feel “powerless” to prevent the destruction of the land and their culture.

Following this “walk down memory lane”, I decided to bring this story up to date if I could.   I found that a money settlement had been reached, but it seems that the money is not reaching those who really need it.  The news article tells of a band official that had resigned due to corruption within the band council.  It seems, as well, that the chief has been accused of misappropriating funds. No happy ending here, at least not for a while longer.

Entry #5:  What gives?  A coworker sent me this link for a quiz in honour of Remembrance Day and testing our recall of Canadian history.  (By the way, take note of the spelling of the word remembrance in the link 🙂 )

As I proceeded through the 20 questions, I was shocked to note that there weren’t any referring to indigenous peoples and their role in the history of Canada, not to mention their service to Canada in the military, although a monument has been erected in their honour.  The Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson was quoted to have said, “The thousands of miles that aboriginal soldiers travelled over the course of more than two centuries to help defend this country make up a thousand memories, so many of which have been ignored or lost.  Yet these are the details of our history which we must remember, which we must commemorate.”


November 5, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3

Entry 1

Rural Poverty Portal – IFAD

This resource provides some valuable ideas about how to encourage an Indigenous voice within the discussion about poverty, development and other major world issues. Also a central point is that Indigenous groups often have an “information gap” that media can fill. This article or commentary, put out by IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), also provides details on international forums for Indigenous knowledge.

Entry 2

International Labour Organization – Social Media Gives Voice to Indigenous Communities

This website provides information on how social media is supporting the spread of international and local Indigenous issues. It suggests combining community radio and social media to reach the most people, and provides links to documents on Indigenous rights and examples of social media.–en/index.htm

Entry 3

Indigenous Media Action

The project coordinator for this site is a Dine’ man who has been a media activist for 10 years. The site is a place to combine the efforts of different Indigenous groups with respect to issues they are facing. It is a very politically-minded site and has excellent resources on current issues for a variety of Indigenous communities. In addition to articles and other resources the site also allows for a variety of content from users. For my specific research it also provides much information on current environmental initiatives and “Calls to Action”.

Entry 4

Outta Your Backpack Media

A Indigenous youth empowerment site that promotes media justice. Youth can apply for a “backpack”, which provides them with a camera and tools to encourage the sharing of stories, situations and issues within their own lives and communities. There are additional resources on the site for interested youth and videos of completed projects. It is a great example of promoting Indigenous youth community building and identity through media.

Entry 5

Embedded Aesthetics: Creating a Discursive Space for Indigenous Media

This article by Ginsburg (1994) discusses Australian Aboriginal media and how diverse it is in purpose, production and use. An important consideration presented in the article is the difference between how Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals view the work and what value and level of credibility they assign to it. First Nations Film and Video Makers World Alliance is mentioned in this article and may be a good place for future research regarding my topic.

November 5, 2012   No Comments