Statement Connecting Weblog to Research Interests

Environmental Progress for Indigenous Groups

I would like to investigate what positive impacts technology can have on Indigenous culture, particularly in an ecological sense. Can the internet be used effectively to spread information about specific ecological concerns that Indigenous groups have? Will it help give a voice to groups that have often been marginalized or silenced? Often there are environmental issues that arise within the traditional territories of Indigenous groups. These issues often have a direct and lasting impact on the health of the land and the people that live on it. Indigenous groups may be able to use the internet to voice their opinion in meaningful ways, but there needs to be more than that. Real change needs to be affected and this can be hard to attain, even with the best online presence. Internet and other new media might be the way to create this change, but how effective are they really? To distill it down to one main question, I would like to know: In relation to making a positive ecological change, including revitalization, what is the most effective way for an Indigenous group to use technology to make improvements within either their territory, or an area that has specific traditional importance?

September 23, 2012   No Comments

Saskatchewan Ecological Network and Rekindling Traditions

#2 Saskatchwan Ecological Network

This website has general information for Ecological Issues in Saskatchewan, but has a great section on Eco-Education and Indigenous Education. In particular, one of their focusses is using technology in a way that supports Indigenous values.

Of particular interest was an interview with the Director of Cultural Resource Development and Publications for the Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Center which provides an overview of how educators (particularly non-Indigenous educators) can teach in a respectful manner about sustainability including an Indigenous perspective. There are some great resources, written by Indigenous Educators, interviews with other important community members and links to other schools and organizations that might be useful for individuals (Indigenous or not) who have an interest inrespectfulIndigenous Education.

#3 Rekindling Traditions

From the Saskatchewan Eco-Network I found myself on a particularly interesting website which included units that combined TEK and Indigenous values with “Western Science”. Their goal is to provide resources so that “students are not expected to set aside their culture’s view of the material world when they study science at school”. The project is funded through 3 school divisions, the University of Saskatchewan, the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation and the Cameco Access Program for Engineering and Science and is called the Cross-Cultural Science and Technology Units Project.

One of the things I particularly liked about this website was that the way a user moves through it. For example, in the units menu you pick an animal to enter a section. The animals are in a circle. Whoever designed the website made a concious effort for it to be aesthetically more holistic (less linear) and perhaps more meaningful to Indigenous users. Even entering the website requires that you click on the raven, instead of an “enter” sign.

The resources specific to certain grades/topics and are very well laid out, providing additional resources for teachers and students in a print or web-based format. Contributors include teachers, elders and community members. A collaborative process like this, where the correct sources and individuals participate in a meaningful way, is a good example (or starting point) for how technology education can include Indigenous values in a respectful and meaningful way.

September 19, 2012   No Comments

Forests and Oceans for the Future

#1 Fisheries and Oceans for the Future

While searching for another link to the video “Return to Gitxaała” I came across the website Forests and Oceans for the Future. This website has a wealth of information about the Gitxaała Nation and their resource management strategies.

The website includes information on how the Gitxaała are combining their TEK with “western science” resource management strategies to meet the needs of their community. The process is undertaken by faculty and students at UBC and community members. They are focussed on resource management strategies in Northern BC with but they include research from parts of America, Western Europe and New Zealand. One of their underlying goals is fostering mutual respect and effective communication between stakeholders.

The focus of the website is on public education, policy research and ecological research with regards to resource management. To this end they include links to publications that are related to research with Indigenous groups, podcasts on the topic, and links to blogs where issues relating to TEK and resource management are being discussed.

In addition, the website provides links to public access lesson plans, which, although they are more suitable to secondary students could be altered for an elementary classroom. I found it to be a very interesting site with a lot of options for further research.

September 17, 2012   No Comments