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

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

A FN Community Center for all?

Weblog #2: Entry #3

The Esquimalt Nation is presently building a Community Centre, which will be on the corner of Admiral’s Road and Thomas Way (see map below). The community plan is based on ‘Natural Laws’ which inform the ‘Cycle of Life’. A quick overview of these laws are linked on the site for those, like myself, who are unfamiliar. Of particular interest to me, as it relates to my research topic, is how will this community center enhance and support all of the surrounding communities. My impression is that this site will be intended for us by all and not just the FN communities but press on such details have not yet been released.

October 14, 2012   No Comments

Welcoming Aspect of Community Relations

Weblog #2: Entry #2

In Victoria there is there is the Victoria Native Friendship Centre (VNFC), which lists the following aims on Community and Culture Relations page:

  1. To create better understanding between Frist Nations people and the general public, and to promote planning with government, health, welfare, church and other agencies to improve the quality of services and facilities for First Nations people in the community; and
  2. To encourage the public to take an informed interest in the promotion of these objectives and in the general well-being of First Nations people.

Implicit in aim Number 1 is the fact that there is a need to improve the understanding(s) between FN people and the general public. While there is no great surprise there, I did find aim Number 2 interesting in that there is a desire to engage the public involved in achieving aim Number 1. To me, it seems that there is a welcoming and inclusive tone to this second aim which hints that the creation of community is not to be looked at in isolation. A FN community is linked to the surrounding community and vice versa. My future searches need to revolve around tangible examples of such an interconnected relationship.

October 14, 2012   No Comments

The Role of the Sooke and Songhees Nations in Building the Western Communities

Weblog #1: Entry #1

Hey everyone,

At this stage, my ideas seem pretty specific to me but let me know if I’m either too specific or not. I presently teach in SD 62: Sooke which is just outside of Victoria BC. The area has a rich and involved history meshing First Nations, Spanish, English and Russian cultures, a a clear result of European exploration here on the West Coast of Canada. Next semester, I’m scheduled to teach what I believe to be is a locally developed course called, English 10: First Peoples. Based on my meetings thus far it seems to be focused on delivering the English 10 Curriculum while focusing on First Nations Culture, Literature and Art.

My intent with regard to our collective research is to explore how the Sooke and Songhees Nations helped to build the existing culture that is prevalent in the Western Communities just outside of Victoria, BC.

More to come as I refine my resources and links,


September 28, 2012   No Comments