Category — General

Auctioning of FN Artifacts: Recommitting a Crime from the Past

Weblog #4: Entry #4

Thinking about ownership and intellectual property rights made me reflect on the raw issue of the ownership of actual property and items that were taken from FN groups under the guise of conversion to Christianity or public welfare in the sense of banning the potlatch. In 2007 the Royal BC Museum put on the Treasures of Tsimshain exhibit. As the site describes the history of the appropriation of FN artifacts by various European groups I pictured to pillaging of artifacts, art and assets by the Nazis in WWII. In both cases, valued treasures were lost to invaders who coveted the items as their own, passing it down to successive generations who not sell them at actions for exorbitant prices. Maybe it is at this point that our collective conscience should exercise some self control and not purchase these items. If no one bids at the auction, then the items themselves become, in essence ‘worthless’. It is then and only then that the false owners will consider returning these items to their rightful owners. So I suppose, although these crimes were committed in the past, but by continuing to participate in such auctions, it is people in today’s society who continue to perpetuate an old crime.


November 27, 2012   No Comments

Teaching Treaties

The teaching treaties project reminded me of the work Heather McGregor shared with us about the Residential Schools unit.  The development and implementation process has been slightly different, however both projects are trying to create a new narrative and contribute to the decolonization of education.

“(Un)usual narratives, like teaching treaties represent ways to begin developing new sets of relations, new sets of understandings and the possibilities for change (Tupper & Cappello, 2008).

The research article is a fascinating read and shares Treaty learning experiences of indigenous and non-indigenous students and teachers.

A Teaching Treaties Wiki was also developed to support the Tool Kit.   Teachers who attend the Treaty workshop develop lessons and then upload them to the wiki (also reminding me of a potential of the wiki for teachers in the North).  While looking through the lessons, I found some excellent ideas, however I was also reminded of the necessity to be critical of content, language, use of cultural components, and curricular add-on activities to ensure I was respecting Indigenous teaching and learning practices.

Tupper, J.A. & Cappello, M.  (2008).  Teaching treaties as (un)usual narratives: Disrupting the        curricular commonsense.  Curriculum Inquiry, 38(5), p. 559-578.  doi: 10.1111/j.1467-873X.2008.00436.x


November 25, 2012   No Comments

SD#62: Sooke – Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement

Weblog #4: Entry #2

Since I started ETEC 521, I’ve been wondering how the issue of Western education conflicts with or compliments FN belief systems or ways of knowing. While my question(s) focus more on present day instances of education I am aware of the history of Residential Schools here in Canada. More specifically, I wonder about my school district (SD #62: Sooke) which identifies itself by the Anglicized spelling of the T’So-uke First Nation which resides in the same educational catchment area of southern Vancouver Island.

Our student population is made up of approximately 1000 FN students, or approximately 10% of the students in the district. So how do we, as educators, community members, mentors, leaders etc. educated in Western languages and science, excite, engage and reach out to students from a distinctly different society and culture? Having reflected on the course readings thus far, it is evident that ‘learning’ in school can sometimes run contradictory to FN experiences, stories and values.

Apparently, my school district has been very much concerned with these same concerns and in 2009 proposed the Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement. Skimming this document, linked as off of the site below highlights some differences between Western and FN notions of ‘Student Success’ and the ‘Goals’ of education. I was glad to have taken a look at what things are being done in my own district to recognize the real and honest differences/assumptions that we tend to make about our students and their learning.


November 24, 2012   No Comments

Camosun College Honors the FN Groups of the Victoria Area

Weblog #4: Entry #1

Having looked at how both the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University demonstrate their respective thanks to the local FN bands/tribes/clans for the land on which these universities presently reside, it only seemed logical to visit the third of the three largest post secondary institutes here in victoria, BC – Camosun College, to complete the comparison.

From the outset, the name Camosun appears to be derived from the name of a Songhees settlement that was near the present day site of the Empress Hotel, in the Victoria causeway. Score one for the community college, as the other two institutions reflect staunchly British names and heritage, which makes sense as we are after all talking about Victoria, British Columbia.

Two easy links from the homepage brings us to the ‘Territory Acknowledgement’ page. A brief introduction is given to the nations which first inhabited these traditional territories. Thanks are given to these same nations for their welcome and graciousness. The site goes on to detail the Legend of Camossung and helps to illustrate the importance of the history, place, people and traditions upon which the college is named. Links to a map of the traditional territories of BC’s FN peoples is prominent. As well there is a link to the Royal BC Museum at the bottom of the page, and a black and white photo of Camossung at the foot of the George Bridge.

Camosun College has by far, in comparison with the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University, done the best job of recognizing the FN groups of their local area.


November 20, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #4

This weblog is the most aligned with my topic, and I was particluarly excited to begin reading through information on it. I wanted to start by looking at sacred sites within First Nation’s territory, as I thought this would be applicable.

Site 1: First Nations Sacred Sites in Canada’s Courts: Book Review

In this review a distinction is made between two different kinds of protection one “strategy relies on obtaining current recognition and protection for what an indigenous people once unequivocally held and the latter strategy relies on the idea of protecting what an indigenous people once unequivocally were”. This is an interesting point to add to my reflection on the direction of my paper. Is the viewpoint of whether land is a “holding” needing to be protected, or is integral to the identity of a culture important, if the outcome is the same (land getting protected)? There is a distinction between two different types of strategies based on historical legal proceedings, the first being related to the “Meare’s Island Case,” and the second to the “Taku River and Haida Case”.

From here I was, naturally, interested in finding out more about the cases. I found a website that clarified the decisions in the Taku River and Haida cases.

Site 2: The Haida Nation and Taku River Tlingit Decisions: Clarifying Roles and Responsibilities for Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation

This case sets a precedent for consultation of Aboriginal groups. Basically, legally recognized claims are not required to “trigger” the consultation process. Impact upon asserted rights of groups is enough of a reason to enforce consultation. This decision is important as it values the rights of First Nations outside of the span of “legally recognized rights”.

This site got me thinking about whether there are similar stories of successful environmental management decisions or activism, so I began researching this.

Site 3: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada: Environment and Natural Resources: Success Stories

This website offers links to specific projects that have been completed both through government agency help and media attention. One thing that I keep thinking as I look through the site though, is that all of these experiences are mediated through the government agencies of the “colonizers”. This may be the quickest and most effective way to create change in a community, but is it the best way? Are FN rights and values respected in this process or must they conform to particular enforced criteria that may undermine their own values?

Site 4: IEN: Canadian Indigenous Tar Sands Campaign

I had looked at this site before, but in a different format and scope. Now I found something incredibly applicable to where my assignment is going. This particular portion of the Indigenous Environmental Network is focussed on the tar sands in Northern Canada and their impact on Indigenous and non-Indigenous groups and the environment. There is a variety of information in various media formats, presented by elders, youth and all other community members. Various bands are connected together on this issue and multiple viewpoints are represented through this website. Additonally, the focus on the tar sands as an issue is addressed, as 10 0r so years ago very few people knew of the environmental toll being taken in these areas. Media has brought light to these concerns.

Site 5: Native Web Resources: Environment

This site is a collaborative effort whose goal is to “provide a cyberspace for Earth’s indigenous peoples”. They aim to do this through sharing informational resources between regional, national and international individuals and groups and by “foster[ing] communication.” Different groups may upload their websites on a specific issue and may then coordinate their efforts or find support. The site is run by both “Native and non-Native” individuals, and hosts content from all over the world (although the majority of information and sites are from the US or Canada). Some great links are provided for environmental initiatives, concerns and success stories. Additionally under different headings (there are 35 different categories), there are resources specific to each topic, including many resources for Indigenous chat rooms or networking sites.


So ends my cyber-travel for the purposes of this assignment. I have acquired resources on a breadth of topics and have honed my research down to what is most critical for me to address in depth in my final project.


November 19, 2012   No Comments

A Short History of Victoria & First Nations

Weblog#2: Entry #5

Check out the video at the bottom of this site. In collaboration with the written text of the webpage, the video seems to pictorially tell a story of how the city of Victoria, BC and it’s surrounding 9 Coast Salish FN Bands have created a uniquely Northwest FN, British/European, and Asian community. Interestingly, there is no dialogue or voiceover. Be forewarned, the video was produced in partnership between the Province of BC, Tourism Victoria and the Victoria Conference Centre. As a result, everything is presented with a slight air of picturesque, romantic perfection, which I guess is important if you want people to visit. Needless to say, none of the unsavory aspects of Victoria made the video 😉

October 15, 2012   No Comments

FN Community Wellness: Not Reported on Since 2004

Weblog #2: Entry #4

In my attempt to refine my understanding of how different FN communities define culture I happened upon this Federal 2004 report by the Strategic Research and Analysis Directorate Indian and Northern Affairs Canada which aimed to do 4 things:

  1. [Identify] prosperous First Nations communities which could serve as role models and sources of best practices for less developed communities.
  2. [Identify] those communities whose particularly serious socio-economic difficulties demand immediate attention.
  3. [Create a] system of scores can be used in myriad other research projects to expeditiously and cost-effectively assess the determinants and correlates of wellbeing in First Nations communities.
  4. [Examine] wellbeing in First Nations communities relative to other Canadian communities.

At first I was surprised by the fact that such a report existed but then I quickly bought into the need to establish present benchmarks upon which future research could be compared and referenced. Recognizing that this 2004 report was based on 2001 data, it seemed logical to me to expect subsequent reports deriving from the 2006 and 2011 censuses. I would estimate that completed reports would be published in 2009 and 2014 respectively as per the 3-year research and publishing window of the 2001 census and 2004 report. I have not been successful in finding any such reports. As a result, the following questions have emerged in my mind:

  1. Did Strategic Research and Analysis Directorate Indian and Northern Affairs change it’s name?
  2. Was the Directorate quietly removed in a post 2004 Federal Budget and thus ceases to exist?
  3. Did the Directorate determine that such research was not longer needed or important?
  4. Did the census stop asking questions that produced relevant data?

Part of me hopes that questions a. is the reason why I have not found any subsequent reports. Sadly, if any of the remaining questions are the reason for the lack of follow up reports, then we may be doing our society and collective culture a disservice.

October 15, 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

Doctrine of Discovery

The Australian Broadcasting Council (ABC) was in the last two weeks, discussing the concept of the Doctrine of Discovery and its impact on Indigenous people. This was not a concept that I was aware of and so explored this further.

Weblog #1

The UN Permanent Forum this year focuses on the Doctrine of Discovery.

This is a fifteenth century Christian dogma from the Catholic church Papal Bulls eg. Dum Diversas (1452) and Romanus Pontifex (1455). These allowed for non-Christian peoples to be invaded, captured, vanquished, subdued, and to have their possessions and property seized by Christian monarchs.

In the 19 century was used by the US to declare the right of territorial domination and has become embedded in international law and policy.

In Australia its impact was in the term ‘terra nullius” or wasted land. This allowed the colonisers to take over the land from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders because they did not ‘use’ the land.

In May the UN Forum debate continued, and argued for the doctrine to be repudiated by the UN. In response to calls on the Church for rapid action, a representative from the observer delegation of the Holy See, reiterated that Papal bulls were an “historic remnant with no juridical or spiritual value”.

UN Economic and Social Council 2012 ‘Doctrine of Discovery’, Used for Centuries to Justify Seizure of Indigenous Land, Subjugate Peoples, Must Be Repudiated by United Nations, Permanent Forum Told . 8 May.

UN Economic and Social Council 2012 Forum Speakers Say ‘Doctrine of Discovery’ Shameful Root of Today’s Indigenous Oppression, Remnants Still Evident in Many Constitutions Must Be Removed. 9 May.


Weblog #2 Religious responses

The World Council of Churches (WCC) met in February 2012 and developed the Statement on the doctrine of discovery and its enduring impact on Indigenous Peoples. It provides a good overview of the history as well as the WCC response to the Doctrine. Since 2007 many Christian churches that have studied the  Doctrine and  have repudiated it, and are working to ameliorate the legal, economic and social effects of this international framework. The WCC Statement denounced the doctrine, urged countries to dismantle the legal structures and policies based on this Doctrine and dominance, encourage churches to support Indigenous poples in their ongoing efforts to exercise their inherent sovereignty and fundamental human rights, to continue to raise awareness about the issues facing Indigenous Peoples and to develop advocacy campaigns to support the rights, aspirations and needs of Indigenous Peoples; and to continue development of theological reflections by Indigenous peoples.
WCC statement


From an Australian perspective Brett writes  a theological critique of sovereignity with a focus on some Australian aspects that I was unaware of.  He describes a theological concept of complex and storied space – which contrasts the concept of terra nullius. The ‘Clapham Sect’ who were involved in abolition of slavery, turned the eyes onto Aboriginal peoples and provided a base for a number of writers to ascert natural Indigenous rights. They had significant influence on the establishment of the colony of South Australia and the development of the New Zealand Treaty of Waitangi. He writes “as so often has been the case in asutralian hisotry, matters of principle were overwhelmed by ecomonic interest.” He calls for faith communities to go on to post colonial engagement with Aboriginal and torres Strait Islanders and not trust the “tides of Australian parliaments”.

Brett M. 2012. Making Space for justice after Mabo: Theological critiques of sovereignty


October 14, 2012   No Comments

Weblog Entry #2

For my weblog this module I started looking at different aspects of Indigenous identity in relation to ecological issues.

The Six Faces of Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Challenges and Opportunities for Canadian Co-Management Arrangements

This website is about natural resource co-management. It discusses First Nation involvement in making decisisons and incorporating the values and worldviews of First Nation’s groups. Also discussed is the idea that there are 6 faces of TEK that need to be considered when negotiating co-management arrangements.

First Nations Land Rights and Environmentalism in British Columbia

This is a very different sort of website than the others I came across. The website opens with “We were never conquered and we have never surrendered the right to govern or be stewards of our traditional territories.” The website also states “Disclaimer: strategies of dispossession of First Nations have included representing them in degrading ways. This website promotes a re-iconization of some of these illustrations by placing them in a new context to serve indigenous peoples.” The author of the website is a German woman, Dr. Karen Wonders and the site is very political in nature and continues on with the very clear standpoint taken on the first page. There are links to the websites of different First Nations groups as well as all kinds of lectures, symposiums, exhibitions, articles and media that relate to these topics.

LASA 2003 Meeting Article

The focus in this article from the Latin American Studies Association is on Indigenous people in Columbia. The author looks at how “representations of indigenous peoples have changed from ‘the savage colonial subject’ to ‘the political-ecological agent.'” This is a point that I think is important with respect to our discussions this module and also when I am doing my research and writing my paper. Even positive steretypes must be examined. In addition, the political aspect of environmental issues and resource management is an important consideration. The main website of LASA provides links to a variety of articles, some of which involve Indigenous issues.

First Nations Environmental Network

Incorporating traditional values, this network of individuals and groups encourages and supports others who are trying to protect traiditonally important areas. There is an area where members can post news updates and links and a link to the forum Turning Point,which offers up a place for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal individuals to egnage in discourse. Even though the site does not appear to have been active since 2009/2010, the way the site, and particularly the forum, is set up and the guiding principles are interesting and useful when considering how Indigenous communities could network and share their experiences.

Assembly of First Nations: Environmental Stewardship

This is a fantastic resource with respect to First Nations’ environmental conerns and current stewardship examples. The areas of Earth, Air, Water and Fire each have a variety of link to videos, factsheets, First Nations funding, articles and other resources to do with environmental stewardship within an Aboriginal context.




October 8, 2012   No Comments