North Vancouver Agreement between First Nations and Schools

Web log #4

Entry 3


The Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement is a five year (2011-2016) agreement made between schools, teachers, parents and governing bodies to meet the needs of students of Aborginal ancestry. It is a partnership between the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, and Tsleil-Waututh Nation and any other aboriginals living on the North shore along with North Vancouver School District and The BC Ministry of Education. It is a commitment by all these interested parties to improve academic achievement of Aboriginal Students.

December 3, 2012   No Comments

National Film Board

Web log #4

Entry 2


The National Film Board has an unbelievable treasure of resources to use in the classroom including a vast resource of aboriginal material.  You have to sign up for an account (free) but they have created teachers guides to go with their movies. Here is the link to the National Film Board and a link to one of the Teacher Guides, First Nations A Circle Unbroken.


December 3, 2012   No Comments

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

An IT welcome to country

Weblog 4.5

NativeWeb is an international not-for profit organisation that aims to use technology to disseminate information from and about indigenous people and nations, foster communication, conduct research and provide resources to support indigenous people’s use of technology. Their purpose “is not to ‘preserve’, in museum fashion, some vestige of the past, but to foster communication among peoples engaged in the present and looking toward a sustainable future for those yet unborn.”

Resources on their site cover 32 geographic regions and there were 36 listings for Australia. As with many internet resources, some links were no longer active, but one that i showcase here is Burarra Gathering. This is a flash animation that takes the user to visit the Burarra people on their own land. The program was developed with the Burarra elders and is bilingual. A great interactive introduction to Burarra country and people!

November 23, 2012   No Comments

Eight ways bias shows up in Indigenous teaching resources

Weblog 4.2

Over the last week there has been discussion about bias, and as we try to truly engage with other cultures the importance of recognising our own biases.

I found this interesting article from our state government education department. I think it is a great summary of the biases that we can inadvertently include in education resources.

They give specific examples for each of these areas:

  1. Choosing negatively charged words
  2. Inadequate treatment
  3. Social Darwinism
  4. Colonial presumption
  5. Stereotypes and derogatory concepts
  6. The exotic stress
  7. Objects for study and discussion
  8. Distortion and Euphemism

Department of Education (Western Australia) 2012. Aboriginal Education – Eight ways bias shows up in teaching resources

November 21, 2012   No Comments

Weblog #3 – Post #5 – Walking Together

Looking into the connection between oral storytelling and the Alberta Language Arts curriculum, I have found my way back to the “Walking Together” First Nation, Metis, and Inuit resources – this PDF document provides details about the history of oral storytelling tradition in an excerpt from Aboriginal Perspectives.   The role of Elders in oral storytelling, teaching stories, and themes and values are expanded upon.

The Walking Together site delves far deeper than just the importance of oral tradition.  Also highlighted are:

– Traditional Environmental Knowledge
– Kinship
– Aboriginal and Treaty Rights
– Healing Historical Trauma
– Well-Being
– FNMI Worldviews
– Culture and Language
– Indigenous Pedagogy
– Connection to Land
– Symbolism and Traditions
– Elders


November 15, 2012   No Comments

Learning Patterns and Education

In my journey as a cyber-traveller, I have been searching for research on learning style preferences (if any) for Indigenous students.  I have heard, or perhaps read, that many BC Indigenous students prefer group work, collaboration and to be allowed time to reflect before responding rather than rapid fire questions.  I wanted to know if there was any research to back this up, and if so, what approaches or strategies could I use in my classroom to make the Indigenous students feel more comfortable and willing to share.  The search for answers to those questions lead me to this article.

Learning Patterns and Education of Aboriginal Children: A Review of the Literature is an article written by Carmen Rasmussen, Lola Baydala and Jody Sherman.  The visual qualities of the article and the fairly old reference list left me surprised that the publish date was 2004.  However, looking past the poor quality of the pdf, the contents of the article were intriguing.  The authors discuss trends in learning styles for Indigenous people, tying in cultural practices and how they might affect learning styles.  They offer a number of suggestions for classroom practice.  The article is respectful and repeatedly states that we need to be aware of and respectful of Indigenous cultures if we want to do our best for Indigenous students.


November 13, 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

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

Weblog #2: Post #2

Four Directions Teaching

Indigenous language and culture is at risk of being lost, and non-aboriginal society “generally fails to see why aboriginal cultural revitalization matters, at best supporting aboriginal approaches superficially, and valuing success only as defined from non-aboriginal views.”

Four Directions brings together elders and traditional teachers representing the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi’kmaq.  Together, they share teachings about their history and culture. The site uses animated graphics to visualize each of the oral teachings. The site provides biographies, transcripts, and learning resources.

Four Directions – English Version

Four Directions and the Full Circle Project of Toronto works to address how indigenous knowledge can be shared with urban youth in a respectful manner.

The Full Circle Project PDF Includes:

1. Vision (Roots)
2. Elements (Sap)
3.  Foundations (Tree Core)
4.  Secondary Structure (Outer Bark)
5.  Natural Development (Branches)
6. Human Gifts (Leaves)
7.  Measurement (Seeds)


“It is not important to preserve our traditions, it is important to allow our traditions
to preserve us.”
~ Gael High Pine, “The Great Spirit in the Modern World,” Akwesasne Notes, 1973

October 21, 2012   No Comments