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

Aboriginal Teaching and Learning Values

This article is part of an Ontario government education series focused on putting Research into Practice.  Toulouse’s article provides an overview of core aboriginal teachings and values.   I found this article applicable because it is attempting to bridge the divide between non-indigenous teachers and Indigenous students.  Dr. Toulouse is an Anishinabek woman from the community of Sagamok First Nation and in the article she shares the “living teachings” of the Ojibwe people. The article describes the teachings of respect, love, bravery, wisdom, humility, honesty, truth and what they imply for education, how educators can incorporate them in their classes, and how schools can honour them.  Toulouse also identifies the following Aboriginal learning styles:

  1. Collaboration
  2. Reflection
  3. Visualization
  4.  Holistic

Toulouse reminds us that Aboriginal student success is contingent on self-esteem, and teachers respecting Aboriginal culture, language, and worldview.  This article is a quick read, has multiple visuals, and quick tidbits of information to give interested teachers an introduction into understanding, respecting, and teaching Indigenous students.


Toulouse, P.  (2008).  Integrating aboriginal teaching and values into the classroom. What                 works? Research into practice.  Retrieved from

November 25, 2012   No Comments

Nurturing the Learning Spirit of First Nations Students

Nurturing the Learning Spirit of First Nations Students is a “Report of the National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education for Students on Reserve.”  The panel, as listed in the report, has three members, all of whom have been involved in Indigenous education, but only one of which is Indigenous himself.  However, the report caught and held my attention because of its emphasis on recognizing and valuing traditional Indigenous knowledge.  It draws the distinction between the piece of paper (graduation certificate) that says we are educated compared to the education we receive from our parents and community.

My dad learned different things and the different skills that are not recognized by a piece of paper. I am proud of my dad and I’m learning from him. And I cannot learn this from my teacher. … The only difference between the two types of education that I have discussed is that one is recognized and one isn’t. We need papers behind our names to live in today’s world but we still need those traditional teachings to learn who we are and where we come from.” (Page ii)




October 5, 2012   No Comments

Power of Stories

The most memorable lessons I had the pleasure of being a part of were linked to powerful stories. As an immigrant from an Eastern country, stories my Western friends, mentors and teachers shared with me helped me understand life in Canada in a very personalized way. These experiences inspired me to weave stories into my own practices. As an instructor, I often receive feedbacks on how stories helped my students gain understanding of a theory in a practical way.

Far beyond my personal experience, stories have been used as a vehicle of learning for thousands of years. In indigenous culture, stories are often used to communicate values, ideas and knowledge. They are an important and inseparable part of indigenous education. As stories tend to promote active discussion and individual reflections, they tend to be etched deeply into the minds of learners. After all, many indigenous stories have survived centuries without prints (Mace, 1998). Hence I will focus my exploration on the power of stories in indigenous culture would help us gain a worldly educational view through countless generations of wisdom and create classrooms that respectfully accommodate individual differences.

Mace, F. (1998). Human rhythm and divine rhythm in Ainu epics. Diogenes46(1), 31.


September 23, 2012   No Comments