Category — Module 3

Sherman’s Research – Chapter 3

The term is flying by like a soaring hawk! Module 3 exploration on decolonization and indigenous property rights has helped me understand better the power of storytelling. In this module, the Fraser River Journey video resonated with my research. Digital storytelling through videos is a very effective way to convey learning that is more intangible, such as characteristics of courage that was talked about and exhibited in the video. This is, by far, much more convincing than hundreds of pages worth of text-based communication alone.

Exploration #11 – Sacred Healing Stories Told at the End of Life

Tuck, I., Johnson, S.C., Kuznetsoya, M.I., McCrocklin, C., Baxter, M., Bennington, L.K. (2012).Sacred Healing Stories Told at the End of Life. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 30(2), 69 – 80.

This article explored the use of storytelling and its healing properties to patients suffering from cancer. The study indicates presence, active listening, contact or noncontact touch in  storytelling have a potential positive effect on the wellbeing of suffering patients, through building stronger emotional support through connectedness with their shared experiences.

Personal Connections: 

I think this article connects with what I have learned from this module with regards to stories being a great medium to convey emotions. This is an important part of life that I have found to be missing from education. Textbooks often do exceptionally well on delivering logical, sequential content, but completely lack the flexibility to individual exploration and interpretation with integration of the more human side of learning, which involved inner connection with the subject. The finding from this article, although not strong enough to say stories definitely has a healing effect, I do not think that it would be a disadvantage for us to include more in what we do.Personal Connections

Exploration #12 – Vancouver Society of Storytelling

The Vancouver Society of Storytelling is a member of the National Storytelling association. They support the art of storytelling through hosting workshops and monthly events. Due to the nature of the population in British Columbia, the Vancouver Society of Storytelling is also support storytelling in order to maintain cultural diversity. They provide toolkits to educators and students to help them engage in the art of storytelling.

Personal Connections:

I have not yet examined a storytelling society in my research that is local, so finding this website was definitely an exciting experience! As with the previous storytelling society explored, this one goes hand in hand with education. The fact that storytelling society is generally associated with the field of education, shows the important role stories play in teaching and learning. Interestingly, when I look back to my childhood, stories were often the lessons I remember most, aside from any sort of hands-on experience. In accordance, I have little memory of the years of school that I had from grade 1 to grade 4, where stories were not often use in the classroom. However, I do remember all the home teaching and moral of the stories told by my mother and my spiritual leader. As an instructor, I wonder how we could bring this traditional and holistic form of learning (back) into our classroom. I am curious to find out more about the toolkit the Vancouver Society of Storytelling has to offer.

Exploration #13 – Power of Stories

Terrence, L. G. (2006). Power of stories. The Journal for Quality and Participation, 29(1), 4-8.

Terrence outlined the power of stories in a corporate environment. The article promotes the use of storytelling would benefit both managers and their teams. Nine key functions of stories were outlined, they include:

  • Stories empower a speaker.
  • Stories create an environment.
  • Stories bind and bond individuals.
  • Stories engage our minds in active listening.
  • Stories negotiate differences.
  • Stories encode information.
  • Stories are tools for thinking.
  • Stories serve as weapons.
  • Stories bring about healing.

The nine functions not only brings with it benefit to the team, but it could also be used to help heal a team that has gone under stress and pain from conflict. Stories allow sharing of experiences, which is an important factor in team building.

Personal Connections:

As an instructor in a corporation, I always wonder if there is a motivation for leaders to see the importance of the stories I tell in my classroom. Often, storytelling is seen as something one would do if time permits. However, this article summarizes the effectiveness of storytelling even outside of the education department. I still remember when I was selecting the topic of research for this course. I was having quite a bit of conflicted feelings not being able to bring direct value to my team as I did not see storytelling as a corporately appropriate topic. Yet, this article contains a good deal of reasons to include storytelling from a management point of view that has changed my view of my research.

Exploration #14 – Scheherazade’s Secret: The Power of Stories and the Desire to Learn

Willis, P. (2011). Scheherazade’s Secret: The Power of Stories and the Desire to Learn. Australian Journal of Adult Learning, 51, 110 – 122.

This paper presents how stories can help engage the minds and heart of a learner, rather than how stories can transfer information. The author outlined the four modalities of learning which can be supported by stories: ‘embodied sensations and feelings’, ‘imaginal’, ‘conceptual analysis and critique’, and ‘reflective action’. Willis argues that stories is a holistic view of approaching human pedagogy, as it does not force learning upon learner, instead, it provokes self reflection and brings about self-initiated actions.

Personal Connections:

I really enjoy reading this paper as the paper was written in a storytelling manner, which shows me directly engaging power of storytelling. Although I already view storytelling as a great way to deliver learning, I have not actually reviewed how stories can support human pedagogy directly. The way Willis presents his view connected with my view of education as a constructive process rather than a single-direction instructive process. The paper gives me much inspiration with regards to how I could structure my own research paper for this term.

Exploration #15 – Collaboration in Animation: Working Together to Empower Indigenous Youth

Davenport, M.G., & Gunn, K. (2009). Collaboration in Animation: Working Together to Empower Indigenous Youth. Art Education62(5), 6-12.

This article documents the experience Davenport and Gunn shared while they taught animation to indigenous youth in Mexico. The workshop hosted was a part of an effort in encouraging indigenous youth to value their tradition and culture, while developing skills that could help them voice their culture to the rest of the world. Davenport and Gunn expressed that they have changed their perspective as the program progressed. They mentioned that one of the most important skill in making this workshop work is actively listening to one another and be flexible to changes.

Personal Connections:

My exploration through this article was purely out of curiosity of how non-indigenous teachers could help indigenous students in voicing themselves to the world, as the production of Fraser River Journey video has intrigued me in wanting to find out how this collaboration works. I enjoyed reading through the two authors’ journey in Mexico, however, I wish there were some voices of the children included in this study. I guess this will form the more mainstream perspective of my research and I will continue to hunt for indigenous perspective in my next chapter of research!

November 4, 2012   No Comments

Web log #3

1st Post

While doing research for my final paper I spoke with Outward Bound Program director, Julian Norris who, in collaboration with a high school teacher Jeff Horvath from Canmore Collegiate Highschool, has created a specialized program for Indigenous youth from the Nakoda tribe that has run now for 3 consecutive years and is designed in part to help increase the graduation rates among the Nakoda students at the school. The outdoor program has a philosophy that incorporates indigenous leaders and elders but also roots itself in a Framework created by the Search Institute, a youth development initiative. This comprehensive website, though commercially driven, describes their philosophy within a developmental framework based on building positive relationships and caring communities.


2nd Post

This is a website for a wilderness school run out of Hesquiaht, which is about an hour and a half boat ride from Tofino, BC. The program called Hooksum Outdoor School is run by a couple, Karen and Steve Charlson of the Hesquiaht First Nation. They offer programs for schoolchildren and adults with a philosophy based on a strong connection to the land. In an email with the co founder Karen Charlson she explained the following: “our primary aim has always been to  encourage/facilitate a person’s connection to the natural world.  It  is a connection that is the foundation of our daily lives and one that  is prominent in daily living.  Through activities and learning at  Hooksum, we hope to share that sense of connection with others.”  The site includes description of their programs, their philosophies and writings by schoolchildren and other relevant material.


3rd Post

I live in North Vancouver so the Squamish and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation are the groups who have lived here before my family came. Many of the Indigenous students I have taught have come from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Their website is a community portal which is used for all major aspect pertaining to their community including a description of their Band School and its philosophy.


4th post

My feeling is that we need to know what is going on in our own educational community. The UBC Aboriginal Portal includes support for students, instructors course navigation but for our purposes it includes teacher, community and faculty research which offers unique perspectives on aboriginal education. There is also a First Nations House of Learning (FNHL) tab which is a great support site for Indigenous Education. The FNH publishes a monthly newsletter “The Talking Stick” which provides documentation of events with relevant resources included.


5th Post

I have included this site in my research weblog, the report from The National Panel on First Nations Elementary and Secondary Education which has spent 19 months traveling the country at the request of the Federal Government and the AFN to assess the needs of First Nations Education on reserves. The panel has recommended that the Federal governments create a First Nations Education Act by 2014 which has created a great deal of controversy as First Nations are not interested in legislation. Beyond the controversy, the website includes the panel’s mandate, information on the authors, news links, a wide variety of First Nations leaders who were consulted, and of course the report itself.

November 4, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3

1st Post: The Postmodern Condition: A Report On Knowledge

Lyotard outlines the historic grand narratives of the great nations and how these myths of perfection, liberation and unity of all knowledges has devalued and marginalized knowledges that have traditionally lied outside these grand unifying narratives. But he perceives that a new age is dawning in our postmodern world in which technology and dissolution of boundaries are enabling new forms of interaction and communication of ideas. No longer do we rely on state, church or institutions for knowledge, but rather technology and cybernetics are creating greater skepticism of these traditional legitimization myths of knowledge. And cybernetics is allowing new interactions to form in which knowledges can be nurtured in small institutions or patches. These patches provide safe places for people to share, explore and evolve specific world views and knowledges separate from the sanctions of state and “expert”. In addition, it also allows people to belong to multiple patches in which knowledges can be shared and new ideas can evolve from interactions between these world views. Although Lyotard is an optimist, he does warn that the internet is not all rosy and there are issues such as copyright law, ownership, and reductionism in the quest for optimization (idea of borrowing certain ideas out of context in the effort to evolve towards ONE ultimate optimized unifying ideal). Lyotard`s optimism and pessimism for the future of our postmodern world informs the evolution of Indigenous peoples interactions in cybernetic space and their creation of virtual communities and utilization of interfaces. The internet provides opportunities for Indigenous people to legitimize and share their knowledges within a public sphere, thereby shedding the mantle of the marginalized, however, it also contains the risk that knowledges will be stolen and perverted in the pursuit of one unifying ideal for optimization.


2nd Post: Globalism, Primitive Accumulation and Nishnawbe-Aski Territory: The Strategic Denial of Place-Based Community

In this article, Wendy Russel, from Huron University College, studied the forty-five individual First Nation settlements in the Nishnawbe-Aski Territory of Northern Ontario, Canada. She found that although isolated from transportation networks, it has increasing economic and political links to government, companies and media. This provides unique challenges to these “place-based” communities who have existed in relative autonomy from outside interference up until now. But with the modern advancements in informational technology and globalization, new power struggles are evolving that reflect residual colonization directives. Traditional claims to territory are in competition with other “communities” claims such as resource companies. With the rise of non-placed based virtual communities, including environmental groups, mining companies and international Indigenous solidarity organizations, there results a new power struggle for control over people and territory. These communities are constantly evolving and complete for legitimacy with each other, often challenging the rights or autonomy of the people actually living on the land. Because of this continued threat of colonization of Indigenous people due to globalization and evolving definition of community, a central role of her research is to investigate how people excluded from virtual community both sustain and re-embed community within place.


3rd Post: Twentieth-century Transformations of East Cree Spirituality and Autonomy

Richard Preston’s research considers what happens to Indigenous people that move from place-based territories, in which they have practiced land-based spirituality, into towns. Of particular interest to me, was his reference to the political autonomy of the Cree. Political autonomy, as practiced by nation states, includes negotiation of collective distinctiveness, a process that leaves little room for negotiation and authentic identity of individuals. But this political autonomy also gives legitimacy and boundary separation enabling the strong pursuit of rights and autonomy as a unified group. However, if this political sense of autonomy becomes part of the “formation and nurturing” of community, it risks excluding or alienating community members that do not fit within this definition of collective distinctiveness.

“The type of autonomy that is congenial to individuals, or more accurately, to personal communities, is based on inclusion rather than exclusion. In families, or in marriages, or in larger personal communities, autonomy of the type that evidences a shared ethos based on sustained responsible, respectful decisions and actions is successful, where exclusionary and power seeking autonomy is destructive. “


4th Post: A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century

There are two reasons why I have included this article in my posts: Donna Haraway presents a warning about autonomy and distinctiveness within communities which I plan to include in my final project, and another one of my peers indicated a love for her and her teachings in one of the posts in which I mentioned her regarding Indigenous issues.

Although a feminist theoretical document, the feminist word throughout the document can be removed and reinserted with the word marginalized or Indigenous. Ultimately, her article is a manifesto for the marginalized in which political distinctiveness has led to some disastrous consequences. She declared that the way in which we assert rights and delineate communities can have profound effects on its members often alienating small patches within communities and delegitimatizing individuals. She points out that humans are often forced to live in systems of standardization that they don`t fit, but have to live with. For instance, black women have often been denied a voice in the black movement and in the women`s movement. The black movement is controlled and defined by black men and the women`s movement is defined by white affluent women leaving black women without a voice. Similarly, many communities within different Indigenous territories are all lumped in together and are defined by the powerful or the majority, leaving small collectives or individuals, on the boundaries, alienated and excluded. This is similar to the colonization process that was experienced by the Indigenous as the other. And it is this process of delineation and declaration of boundaries, required by the mainstreamers to acquire autonomy, rights and power, that further colonize their own subset of marginalized individuals. The abused run the risk of becoming the abusers in the pursuit of power and self-determination as a group. As Indigenous people become part of a globalized world in which communities become virtual rather than place-based, these definitions and boundaries may become more or less pronounced depending on socio-political circumstances, but also on choices made by the communities themselves. Through the awareness of the past and future pitfalls, Indigenous people may be in a better place to make these crucial decisions about their community`s evolution.


5th post: Is It Possible To Have Information Technology That Reflects Indigenous Consciousness?

In this 2007 article, the participants at the Chaco Canyon encampment, including the Indigenous Polynesian, Lakota, Navajo, Cherokee, Tuscarora, Japanese-American and Euro-American scholars, computer scientists, artists and educators share their trans-cultural view of technology and answer the question: Is it possible to develop Information Technology that reflects Indigenous Consciousness? In this investigation, some of the questions they looked at included:

  • “What is Indigenous consciousness?”
  • “What are the characteristics distinct to Indigenous technologies?”
  • “How do different aspects of information technology integrate into conscious, animate systems, which support the community?”
  • “What is an appropriate interface with digital technology?”

For thousands of years, Indigenous people have adapted and evolved to their environment, and like the past, they will continue to evolve as they explore the “potentiality of all things before we begin to put limits on it.” For instance, technologies that fit within the Indigenous consciousness include the Hakamana Maori Keyboard System, that respects the cultural and language needs of Indigenous peoples or “small collectives” by using intuitive keys made of paua shells (meaningful to the Maori)


Appropriate interfaces with digital technologies would include the digital brush system that could interact with Indigenous artifacts and provide a new digital dimension to “knowledge holding”.

Pou Kapua , the cloud pillar in Auckland, New Zealand holds the spirits and stories of the Maori people.


I/O Brush –


Other appropriate interfaces include those that incorporate the traditions of oral storytelling and create immersive environments and multisensory experiences such as immersive environments.

Ashes and Snow ( creates an immersive environment that incorporates the movement of the mouse on the screen enabling a melding the physical and intuitive senses creating a holistic experience.

Von Thater-Braan, R. (2007). Is it possible to have Information Technology that reflects Indigenous Consciousness? Retrieved from

November 4, 2012   No Comments

A Poor Attempt at Representing FN Culture on Vancouver Island

Weblog #3: Entry #3

Over and over again in my web research for my final project about the inter-related relationship between the FN groups in Victoria/Vancouver Island and how they influenced the BC’s capital, this website kept popping up. I initially brushed it aside as it appeared to be too simplistic and rudimentary to be on any use to me.


However, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give it a read. At the top of the page is ‘First Nations’ artwork of some four-legged creature with a long tail. I grew up on Vancouver Island and have been exposed to FN art for the majority of my life, yet I have no idea what this creature is. What’s worse is the fact that there is no caption as to what the image portrays, who the artist is, where the original image can be found OR why/how it relates to the information on the site.

Reading the information on the site reveals a cursory introduction to the history of Victoria and the colony of Vancouver Island and then British Columbia. The FN communities are mentioned in the first third of the information and even then are not related in the discussion that follows about European contact and the Fur Trade. So again, I wondered, what is/was the intent of the image at the top of the page?

Sadly, the only answer I can arrive at is that the image is intended to give credibility, as in authenticity of being immersed in FN culture, to the site. Without proper credit to the artist, reference to the importance of the creature to the region or clear link to the visual and the written text, it seems that on this site designers believed that an image is all that’s needed to pass something off as being of FN culture. I hope that others who may have visited this site, or will visit this site, see through the weak attempt at trying to represent FN culture here on Vancouver Island.


November 4, 2012   No Comments

Module #3 Weblog

The third instalment of weblogs starts with a reality check.

Site number one:

In chasing down information on the exciting-to-me aboriginal orientated midwifery course in northern Manitoba which I highlighted in my last weblog, Google revealed a newspaper article in the Winnipeg Free Press March 24, 2012: “Students sue over midwifery program: allege UCN failed to provide an education”. Oh dear.

Four students from the University-College of the North (UCN) claimed the college had insufficient instructors, failed to provide adequate supervision, and neglected to ensure students attended the required number of births to complete their courses. Not only that, but the program was shutting down and although students had been invited to transfer to the midwifery program in Winnipeg, the two aboriginal spots had already been filled leaving no room in the class for them to finish their studies.

The article stated there hadn’t yet been one graduate in the six years of the midwifery program instead of the 22 graduates I had described. Working from University statistics. I must have interpreted the numbers incorrectly. Half the KOBP students had left the program for ‘family reasons’.

The article further explained that in the province of Manitoba there are only 44 registered midwives, not all of them practising. Given those low numbers, it is understandable the students could not get enough mentoring.  Politicians blamed each other for the midwife shortage, citing failure to initiate more classes. But isn’t that what they were trying to address by opening the UCN class?

The UCN says it is restructuring and will reopen the program; no date was provided.

I have learned a valuable lesson – doesn’t matter how recent the webpage, check it someplace else or you may end up with stale data like I did.


Site number two:

After that shock, I needed something reliable so I turned to CBC radio. Trailbreakers is a program focused on First nations issues.

Rina Bright is an educator/teacher at the Children of the Earth School in Winnipeg in a special program aimed at Aboriginal students who want to become health care workers. The students get a chance to work in clinics and assist in surgeries. Bright stays with the students for four years which I think addresses the need for mentorship and community support, elder wisdom and guidance. This was a very uplifting site and good for a discouraged soul (mine!), friendly and optimistic but really no more than light reading.

Site Number three:

Just to make sure it really existed and to test my trust in the CBC radio site, I searched for the Children of the Earth high school in Winnipeg. The school was there but their web page was last updated in 2008, unfortunately.

They claim a pedagogy that is culturally based, flexible and centred on the needs of the students. Aboriginal values and perspectives are incorporated into everyday life. “We believe in a holistic approach to education that integrates the physical, academic, social and spiritual well being of our students”, a sentiment that mirrors the medicine wheel model discovered at the University of Saskatchewan web site (reminder:

Macleans magazine included this Aboriginal high school amongst their 2005 Top Ten High Schools in Canada – a silly reference that reassured me greatly.

A reassuring site but not really meaty enough for anything more than a nice visit.

Site number four:

Staying with the school theme, site number four comes from UBC: “What I learned in Class Today: Aboriginal Issues in the Classroom”, a gold mine of information and advice.  Thanks to classmate Janet B. for the introduction to the UBC web page.

One Aboriginal student said she “trained myself to be really diplomatic” so as to carry the responsibility of representing all things Aboriginal to every class but some days she felt it too heavy a burden, “like a brick on my back”.  Another section encouraged non-Aboriginal instructors to “speak through the discomfort and not be silent because of it” when faced with Aboriginal course content that was foreign to them.

There are good, solid, practical tips for teachers to incorporate Aboriginal topics to classrooms and how to deal with the discomfort. A very good site.

Site number five:

Angry webpages are not usually my cup of tea but they suddenly felt good after saccharine course promos for no-longer-existing courses. Sometimes it’s good to have a little bit of acerbity for balance.

Unsettling American: Decolonization in Theory and Practice is an energetic website filled to the brim with links to other energetic websites devoted to unsettling the settlers. Snappy titles attract the eye: Unsettling Ourselves: Reflections and Resources for Deconstructing Colonial Mentality began with an explosive “Columbus was insane” and the muscles flexed from there.  Although it’s good to know what’s out there, this site is not helpful for recruiting or retaining healthcare workers. Heaven help me when one of these angry students enrols in my class.





November 3, 2012   No Comments

Shannen’s Dream

I first heard of Shannen’s Dream last year and was blown away by the social action endeavors of this young woman to bring “safe and comfy schools” to all First Nation communities.  I was reminded of Shannen this module for two reasons. First, like the youth in March Point she was empowered to take action and advocate for change in her community.  She is an inspiration for young people across Canada and particularly Indigenous youth.  Shannen used video and social media to connect with children and media outlets across the country to raise awareness of the educational injustices Attawapiskat students were facing.  Secondly, she empowered her community and the country to change the funding model of Aboriginal education in Canada, thus taking a step towards decolonization.  After her untimely death, her classmates, family and community continued to advocate for improved funding, resulting in a funding change this year.


November 3, 2012   No Comments

Toronto District School Board: Aboriginal education

I was surprised to find a strong Aboriginal education Centre within the Toronto DSB because the GTA has become so urbanized.  Upon reflection I realized how essential it would be to provide support for the sometimes hidden urban Aboriginal youth in Canada’s largest city.  The TDSB website provides various resources and articles, including a reference to Attawapiskat in a discussion of decolonization in education: Moving Beyond the Colonial Legacy.  An excellent resource for teachers is also provided titled Since Time Immemorial.  This curriculum resource offers best practices in including Aboriginal Peoples in the curriculum through instructional strategies, activities, and curriculum connections.  A link to Ontario Government’s Aboriginal Teacher’s Tool Kit provides teachers with further strategies and ways to integrate Aboriginal experiences, learning and culture into their teaching.


November 3, 2012   No Comments

Project of Heart

The Project of Heart is an artistic social action project intending to influence decolonization in Canada by raising awareness of residential schools and human rights.  Canadian students and citizens are asked to take ownership over the residential schools atrocities and the continued discrimination Indigenous people experience in Canada.  Similar to Paulette Regan, the project describes how it is essential for Canadians to feel uncomfortable visiting and participating in the project, in order to become an ally.



November 3, 2012   No Comments

First Nations Education Steering Committee and the BC First Nations Education System

The FNESC website provide an overview of First Nations education in BC.  The organization highlights the importance of a separate First Nations Education System providing a holistic education to students.  The schools are an example of self-determination and recognition of First Nation Peoples as a distinct society.  This video describes the structure of the school system and the education system values.  The BC First Nations Education System is a step towards decolonizing Indigenous education in Canada.  Funding has been a serious issue for First Nation schools, however at the beginning of 2012 the federal government passed a new funding system, which will decrease the gap between First Nation Schools and public schools.


November 3, 2012   No Comments

Decolonizing Pedagogies Booklet

I felt like I hit the jackpot when I found the “Decolonizing Pedagogies Booklet.”   This booklet answered many of my questions regarding how teachers could decolonize instruction. Heather E. McGregor, UBC PhD candidate, prepared this booklet in 2012, referencing key Indigenous Studies Scholars: Linda Smith, Marie Battiste, Michael Marker, Susan Dion and Paulette Regan.    McGregor suggests Aboriginal ways of learning, various decolonizing pedagogies, samples of decolonizing pedagogy and challenges to decolonizing education. Key decolonizing pedagogies include:

  • Helping learners come to recognize and know the structures of colonization and their implications.
  • Engaging in activities that disrupt those structures on an individual and collective level.
  • Recentring of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing.
  • Facilitating engagement with possibilities for making change in the world.
  • Supporting Indigenous self-determination (McGregor, 2012, p. 4)

McGregor, H. (2012). Decolonizing pedagogies booklet. Service Project for Aboriginal Focus School: Vancouver School Board.  Retrieved from


November 3, 2012   No Comments