Category — General

Indigenous knowledge is a process….

UBC graduate student Amy parent mentioned her interview that Indigenous knowledge was a process, and that youth are at all different points on their journey towards their own understandings. My direction for my research project is going to be along these lines – how best to encourage success for Aboriginal Youth in the classroom, with an acknowledgement that indigenous knowledge is key to that success.

At my school we are preparing to commemorate Nov. 11th. We have the typical ceremony with poetry, some music by students, a speech by a veteran and maybe an MP or MLA. But we also have a segment of the ceremony set aside every year for our school’s First Nation students and Aboriginal Education (Ab.Ed.) teachers and youth workers. Each year is slightly different. One year they presented a drumming circle and traditional songs. Another year they read the roster of First Nation soldiers who had died in service to Canada, with drumming and a song underneath the reading.  A few of the students had prepared a PowerPoint presentation. Another year saw short statements in all of the different languages the students had access to or skill in.  Last year was very good, with a student dressed in his regalia dancing. Both his mother and grandfather had been dancers, and he was very proud to continue this tradition – he had even won a competition at a recent Powwow. The Ab.Ed. workers in the school work very hard to connect students to cultural knowledge, elder,s and traditions; and the Remembrance Day ceremonies are a very public way to show some of the connections they have been able to make.

October 4, 2012   No Comments

David’s Research Focus

My Research Interests

Being a teacher in Northern Canada in a school that is largely First Nations, I would like to focus my research on First Nations’ traditional knowledge. In particular, I would like to look specifically at:

1.    How technology can be used to effectively preserve the integrity of traditional knowledge

My perception of technology being culturally neutral has evolved during the first module, and I would like to explore further how the use of technology effects how we see culture, traditions and knowledge. Furthermore, I would like to explore best practices to preserve culture with technology rather than undermine it.

2.    What strategies can be used to validate the authority of traditional knowledge to a broader audience within a westernized paradigm

I want to delve into the subject of legitimately including traditional knowledge in areas of science, ecology and environmentalism, without seemingly pandering to political correctness.

I have started collecting the following articles:

Huntington, H.P. (2000). Ecological Applications: Using Traditional Knowledge in Science: Methods and Applications. 10:5, 1270-1274.

Usher, P.J. (2000). Arctic: Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Environmental Assessment and Management. 53:2, 183-193.

Wenzel, G.W. (1999). Artic: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Inuit: Reflections on TEK Research and Ethics. 52:2, 113-124.

David McInnes

September 25, 2012   No Comments

Manny’s initial research interests

As I contemplate what my final paper/project will look like, I am struggling with narrowing my thoughts down to a specific topic. I guess this is normal as research usually evolves along with our knowledge on a subject area. After progressing through the first module, the technology that I want to look at in more detail is the usage of video production and broadcasting in indigenous cultures. Although I am still in the infancy stages, I want to direct my attention to the implications that media has had on indigenous cultures, especially identity preservation. The Ginsburg (2002) article really opened my eyes to the power that technology had on the Northern Canadian Inuit and Australian Aboriginal communities. I have outlined a few articles that may be pertinent to my research interest.

1) Expanding Health Literacy: Indigenous youth creating videos.

This article begins by assessing the four aspects of health that are central to indigenous cultures; mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well being. A holistic view of health is achieved through interdependence and balance between these four characteristics. Although taken from a health perspective, this article outlines the many advantages a community can reap by allowing their youth to record interactions between them and their elders.

2) Community-based Indigenous Digital Storytelling with Elders and Youth

This article stuck out to me write away as Sylvia Moore is one of the co-authors, a name that I became familiar with in my last MET class. Sylvia claims that digital recordings of storytelling not only preserve cultural artifacts but also serve as an important tool to bring community together and produce something that they can benefit from. She stresses the importance of making digital videos so that a future generation of indigenous people can use technology to sustain their indigenous world views.

3) Television, Nation, and Indigenous Media

Similar to the Ginsburg article, this paper analyzes the impact of Australian aboriginal culture in media and how it clashed with the pre-formed national culture. It takes an in depth look at the role that media plays in building national identity and citizenship. Broadcasting videos allowed aboriginals a portal through which they could narrate their culture and embed it into Australia’s national identity.

4) Video communication roadblocks facing remote indigenous communities

This article investigates the broadband capabilities of remote indigenous communities and their usage of the Internet. As the title suggests, there are technical and social roadblocks in place that can be overcome if the right tools and policies are put into place.

I look forward to narrowing my research interests and l’m sure it will morph into something I never expected.

September 24, 2012   No Comments

BC Rivers Day 2012

I went yesterday (Sept.23) and checked out this event that is held annually at Fort George Park (Prince George). The weather was absolutely beautiful, and the food delicious. From the traditional acknowledgement of the area being part of the L’heidli Tenneh lands to the booths, food and enntertainment, there is a high First Nations presence. There is always a great line up of performers on the main stage at BC Rivers Day, and there are also educational/informational booths, interactive activities and food vendors. Check out the website at   The headline performer this year was Cheryl Bear, of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation (Bear Clan) in the Carrier Nation located in northern British Columbia, Canada. You can check out her website at

September 24, 2012   No Comments

Nancy J Turner Ethnobotany

Site #1

Nancy Turner is an ethnobotanist from University of Victoria who has written two books on the ethnobotany of plants and peoples in this coastal region. This is a commentary by her which addresses the direction of the people-place-plant connection of ethnobotany. It is succinct and has a list of pertinent resources at the end.

September 24, 2012   No Comments

BCTF and First Nations Education

Site #2

Although it is over 10 years old this document provides a comprehensive  set of strategies for  teachers to consider that will “assist the learning and success of aboriginal students”. It includes a review of inclusiveness for native children and employment equity for native teachers. Also a history of important dates to indigenous people in BC since European contact and a list of relevant resources.

September 24, 2012   No Comments

Outdoor Education Activities

Site #3

The author of this weblog, Tom Henley, has been involved with outdoor education and native youth in Haida Gwaii, Skeena and in many other parts of the world. He has some activities that connect students to the outdoors in a hands-on exploratory manner.

September 24, 2012   No Comments

Justine’s Research Interests

I have always been a student of the outdoors. That is how I came to be a teacher. I took a course at Bamfield Marine Station on intertidal ecology in 1988 and was hooked with the desire to learn about the creatures that lived around and in the ocean. I then took a job as a kayak guide on the  inland waters of the Pacific coast. Working in that area I was compelled to educate myself and then my clients about the land and the people that used to live there. I spent a whole summer in Haida Gwaii and was privileged to hear stories and teachings from some of the native watchmen who looked after village sites. It was when I was taking young people out into these waters that I could see the how they opened up to the world around them and became curious about nature. When starting to read, in this course, about the sacred connection indigenous people have to the land, I find my interest turning to education in the outdoors and native ecology. I am curious about stories behind the ecology and like the idea of having students begin to explore and learn outside, in their own communities and neighbourhoods.

September 24, 2012   No Comments

Rediscovery Outdoor Education

Site #5

The program Rediscovery is something I used as a resource when involved with outdoor education for youth. Rediscovery integrates outdoor education for youth within an indigenous model. Wilderness activities in remote settings are tied with cultural teachings and traditions.  I could see this program being used in the school system as part of an outdoor/cultural education program.

September 24, 2012   No Comments

Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources and Indigenous Food First

#4 The Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources

The CIER is an organisation which is established by Canadian First Nations groups. Their website is easy to navigate and has four major focusses: taking action on climate change, building sustainable communities, protecting lands and waters, and conserving biodiversity. Basically this is a gathering point for initiatives, partnerships, issues and anything else concerning First Nations environmental concerns.

The website provides links to their library collection, reports on initiatives and also encourages partnerships with different communities. If any FN group is wanting to partner with CIER they will either help them address a topic area through project funding that they already have, will help them find funding to work on a community project, or will provide workshops.

Aside from the obvious good that the site provides, what struck me, after our readings so far, was how much this site looks like a typical government or company site. Also, even though the individuals on the board are FN members (and the majority have had some role in the leadership of their own community) they are also all people who have lots of credentials in the western sense; they have signed major financial deals, have degrees, headed up different societies, etc.. I’m not sure if this is an important observation or not, but I wonder what message this website sends, and whether it is also set up in a way that would be appealing for those who provide the funding for the projects the CIER carries out.

#5 Indigenous Food First

While on the CIER site I followed a link to find out more about a program called IFF (Indigenous Food First). This is a new website with a focus on Indigenous Youth exploring food and what it means to them. The launch is in October 2012, so at this time there is only a section with some articles, an about page and a sign-up section for the newsletter that they put out. One interesting link is to the Dreamcatcher Youth Conference, which supports positive projects by Aboriginal youth who are making a difference in their community.

September 23, 2012   No Comments