An Introduction to the Aboriginal Lens


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History, Culture, Social Justice and Contemporary Issues of Aboriginal peoples in Canada are explored for purposes of equity education and orientation on an Aboriginal perspective.

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An Introduction to the Aboriginal Lens

  1. 1. An Introduction to The Aboriginal Lens History, Culture, Social Justice and Contemporary Issues
  2. 2. Who are the Aboriginal People?At the insistence of various Native organizations, Section 35 is insertedinto the Constitution Act of 1982 explicitly affirming the existence ofAboriginal and treaty rights; guaranteed to both sexes. It includes Indian,Inuit and Métis peoples in the definition of “Aboriginal peoples ofCanada”, as well as a commitment to Aboriginal participation inconstitutional talks before any amendments are considered for itemsdealing directly with Aboriginal rights.
  3. 3. Relationships to Land Aboriginal people have a very unique relationship to the land. From it springs forth their culture, spirituality and traditional ways of being. The colonisation of land has radically altered the trajectory of Indigenous cultures the world over. The fundamental issue facing Aboriginal people is deeply involved with the settling of land claims issues. The creation of Nunavut in 1999 is an example of how Canada can move forward together with Aboriginal people.Discussion Question: What does this image of North America say to you?
  4. 4. Colonised LandDiscussion Question: What do you know about the impact of colonisationon Aboriginal people ?
  5. 5. 28 Language Families = 100’s of Indigenous LanguagesDiscussion Question: What do you know about the relationship Aboriginal peoplehave with the land?
  6. 6. North America by SatelliteAn Aboriginal orientation ofrelating to the land is notconcerned with ownershipso much as traditional use.There are seasonal migratorymovements through the landThat define traditionalland areas of the First Nations,Métis and Inuit people.The Aboriginal relationshipto the land is based on respectfor its sustenance and life givingcapacity.
  7. 7. Tribal Distributions at the time of Contact approx. 1770’sVarious treaties were signed to redefine the land as Canada.
  8. 8. The First Nations of CanadaEach coloured dot represents a different unique First Nation’s regional location.
  9. 9. Aboriginal CanadaToday there are 630 First Nations communities. In the past few decades,Canada’s First Nations have stepped forward to reclaim their history and heritage.For Aboriginal people North America is a place called Turtle Island, which cameinto being after the Great Flood. Today, some 630 distinct First Nationscommunities in Canada, speaking more than 60 languages, tell some version ofthe Turtle Island story. Judy Waytiuk, 6 May 2010For more specific information on the 630 First Nation Communities:
  10. 10. A Timeline of Aboriginal EventsArcheological timelines continue to shift further back in time in with regards to dating the firsthumans in North America. 24,500 BCE is the date of the first evidence of human tools found inthe Bluefish Caves of the Yukon Territories. This timeline starts with the first proclamation ofcolonial ownership of Canada.1763 The Proclamation Act is passed by the British Government.. The Act establishes acolonization pattern in which settlers cannot simply take over indigenous lands without firstobtaining some form of surrender or cession of the land.1862 One of the worst small pox epidemics sweeps British Columbia, killing one-third of theFirst Nations population in the province.1867 Canadian Confederation1871 Treaty #1 is signed at Upper Fort Garry. This treaty covers much of southern Manitoba.1876 The Indian Act is passed by the Government of Canada. It influences all aspects of a FirstNations persons life from birth to death. Indian Bands were created and Indian Agents becamethe intermediaries between First Nations people and the rest of the country.
  11. 11. Timeline Contd.1880 The Department of Indian Affairs is created by the Government of Canada.1884 Anti-potlatch laws were enacted under the Indian Act. Responsibility for theeducation of children was given in large part to church-run residential schools. There wasresistance to the aggressive polices of the governments. The people retained a profoundconviction that their hereditary title still exists.1880s- More than 140 church-run Indian Residential Schools operate across Canada.1996 (Most schools were closed in the 1970s; the last one remained open until 1996.)1909 First Nations make application to King Edward VII to have the Privy Councildetermine aboriginal title. The request was denied.1910 Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier supports recognition of aboriginal rights. There isdeep division between the federal and provincial government as to the recognition ofaboriginal title.1927 Indian Act amended to make it illegal for First Nations to raise money or retain alawyer to advance land claims, thereby blocking effective political court action.1930 Control of Crown Lands is transferred from Federal to Provincial Governments bymeans of the Natural Resources Transfer Act.
  12. 12. Timeline Contd.1951 Parliament repeals Indian Act provisions of anti-potlatch and land claimsactivity.1960 Aboriginal people finally gain the right to vote.1969 Pierre Trudeaus Minister of Indian Affairs, Jean Chretien, releases a WhitePaper that proposes to abolish the Department of Indian Affairs, and eliminate specialstatus for Indian peoples and lands. It is vehemently opposed by Aboriginal leaderswho say its language of equality masks a sinister assimilation agenda.1972 Indian Control of Indian Education policy document written by National IndianBrotherhood advocating parental responsibility and local control over First Nationseducation. This policy is accepted by federal government a year later.1982 Patriation of the Canadian Constitution, which includes the Charter of Rightsand Freedoms that recognizes Aboriginal and treaty rights.1990 Prime Minister Mulroney’s Meech Lake Accord is defeated, in part by ElijahHarpers famous stand in the Manitoba Legislature.1990 Plans to create a golf course on Aboriginal burial grounds lead to the Oka Crisisin Quebec.
  13. 13. Timeline Contd.1991- The federally created Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples becomes the 1996 longestand most expensive royal commission in Canadian history.1992 Prime Minister Mulroney’s national referendum on the Charlottetown Accord isdefeated. The Accord promises to recognize the “inherent right to self government” of Aboriginalpeople.1992 Four of the five First Nations that signed the 1977 NFA sign subsequent 1996implementation agreements.1997 20 Manitoba First Nations sign a Treaty Land Entitlement framework agreement withCanada and Manitoba. It sets out a program to fulfill obligations of treaties with respect to landallotment. The Oka land claim crisis resolved.1999 Nunavut, the largest, northernmost and newest territory of Canada is establishedthrough the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act. Inuit is one of the three official languagesspoken by the predominantly Inuit population.2006 Aboriginal people and citizens of Caledonia, Ontario enter into a heated and muchpublicized land dispute.2010 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission holds its first public event in Winnipeg.More nuanced timelines can be found at:
  14. 14. Struggling to Escape A Legacy of Oppression
  15. 15. Who invented Apartheid: South Africa or Canada ?Numerous articles, websites and essays report that officials visitedSouth Africa in the early to mid 1900’s to study Canada’s reservationsystem as a means to assist them to develop their system of apartheid. While there is great similarity between reserves in Canada and theBantustans created by South Africa to segregate Blacks, there is nospecific confirmation of these visits. However a historical parallelbetween these two former British colonies with regards to the denialof rights and the creation of a separate, second class of citizen doesexist.•For further information see the essay, “Terminologies of Control:Tracing the Canadian-South African Connection in a Word” by Maria-Carolina Cambre printed in Politikon, The Journal of South AfricanStudies, April 2007.
  16. 16. 2012 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Conclusions.The Commission has concluded that:1) Residential schools constituted an assault on Aboriginal children.2) Residential schools constituted an assault on Aboriginal families.3) Residential schools constituted an assault on Aboriginal culture.4) Residential schools constituted an assault on self-governing and self-sustainingAboriginal nations.5) The impacts of the residential school system were immediate, and have beenongoing since the earliest years of the schools.6) Canadians have been denied a full and proper education as to the nature ofAboriginal societies, and the history of the relationship between Aboriginal andnon-Aboriginal peoples.Discussion Question: How can we as educators work to fulfill this last conclusion?
  17. 17. Truth and Reconciliation – A Missed Opportunity?In order for healing to take place the vital component of a truth andreconciliation commission is to hear the voice of the oppressor speak.No individual or representative has claimed responsibility or hasspoken about the truth of what was done to Aboriginal people or toask them for forgiveness. Discussion Question: What is inter-generational trauma?
  18. 18. Themes related to Social Justice for Aboriginal People• The Cycle of Destruction• Breaking the Cycle• Poverty/Inequality• Health Care• Employment Barriers• Education• Self-DeterminationMaterial Sourced from the Centre for Social Justice:
  19. 19. The Cycle of DestructionSince colonisation a variety of themes continue toafflict Aboriginal people in Canada. Poverty, ill health,educational failure, family violence and otherproblems reinforce one another. Marginalization anddiscrimination further complicate the circle ofdisadvantage.These issues are historicaland complex. The repetitivecycle of destruction willrequire dynamic solutions toaddress them collectively.
  20. 20. Breaking the CycleDespite the systemic nature of the countlessoppressive forces that continue to burden manyAboriginal people, Aboriginal communities aremaking strides along their healing path. Thereare now many Aboriginal scholars, artists,activists and leaders that are working tochallenge the status quo for Aboriginal peoplesand create a fairer world that offers meaningfuland fulfilling opportunities.
  21. 21. Poverty/InequalityOn Reserves:Poverty begins for Aboriginal communities when they were forced to relocate ontoReserves, small pockets of land with no infrastructure, planning or economy providedto develop these relocated people.Access to their traditional ways of being had been destroyed or outlawed.Gross poverty, a lack of shelter, health care and food resulted in disease, death anddestitution.Off Reserve:When Aboriginal people were allowed off the reserves many sought out access to thematerials and resources of Urban Centres. But here they faced ingrained racistattitudes that marginalized them in cities.
  22. 22. Poverty/Inequality•1996 Census data showed that Aboriginal peoples in urban areas were more than twice aslikely to live in poverty (as defined by the Low Income Cut-Off) as non-Aboriginal people.•On average, 55.6% of Aboriginal people living in Canadian cities were poor in 1995.•52.1% of all aboriginal children were poor in 2003.•Shelter is a significant issue among First Nations communities, as only 56.9% of homeswere considered adequate in 1999-/00.•Many reserves still do not have the resources required to raise the standard of living outof third-world conditions.What Next?Developments in Aboriginal Leadership, Education, Law, Self-Government and localcommunity development have created a new path towards increased prosperity.Non-Aboriginal people also have a role to play in lobbying the government and addressingissues of discrimination and marginalization.Shifts in federal and provincial policies that will address and provide financial and otherforms of support to help develop indigenous communities.
  23. 23. Health Care • Europeans brought diseases that devastated Aboriginal populations who were neither immune nor knew how to cure them. • Only white settlers had access to health care • Traditional medicine practices were dismissed or even banned by the Europeans • Federal, provincial and jurisdictional disputes, cultural barriers and geographic isolation have impeded Aboriginal peoples’ access to the health care system. • Tuberculosis rate among First Nations people remained 8 to 10 times that seen in the Canadian population as a whole. • Dental decay rates for Aboriginal children in Ontario are two to five times higher than rates among non-Aboriginal children. They are far less likely to be decay-free.
  24. 24. Traditional Healing is HolisticIt does not focus on symptoms or diseases but deals with the totalindividual.“It is our belief that because our white man’s medicine is verytechnical-oriented, very symptom-oriented, very drugs- and surgery-oriented, that it lacks something that Native medicine has, which wedesperately need but don’t practice: spirituality….In many of thesethings we are talking about — family violence, alcohol abuse, trauma,suicide — I believe that the Native public health nurses, Native nurses,Native doctors would have that in their approach as well — a spiritualcomponent.”Statement to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal PeoplesDavid Skinner, Non-Aboriginal doctor
  25. 25. Employment BarriersPoverty, ill health, a lack of education combined with a history of racism andignorance helped to create many barriers to employment as well as feelingsof mistrust, anger and resentment towards the white population.•1996 Census data estimated unemployment rate for Aboriginal people isdouble that of the national average, in some areas of the country the rate isfive to six times higher than that recorded for non-Aboriginal people.•In 2001, Aboriginal Youth 15-24 were twice as likely to be unemployed.•A 1995 survey found that 77 percent of employers faced challenges in hiringand retaining Aboriginal employees. They cited barriers in the followingareas: communication, culture, skills and training, misconceptions. Similarly,low educational attainment affects the participation of Aboriginal and FirstNation people in the Canadian labour market.•Only 31 percent – about half the Canadian average – of the Aboriginal on-reserve population has a high school education.
  26. 26. Employment BarriersChanging Trends•The good news is that many of these trends arechanging, and the Aboriginal labour force isincreasingly highly educated and skilled.•In 1969, only 800 Aboriginal peoples had a post-secondary education. By 1991, the number was150,000.•In the mid-1960s, there were about 200 StatusIndian students enrolled at Canadian colleges anduniversities. By 1999, the number was more than27,000.
  27. 27. Aboriginal Employment Trends
  28. 28. EducationStarting in the late 1800’s the Canadian Gov’t. and Church bodies began removingchildren from their home and placed them in Industrial schools which were latercalled Residential schools.Devastating ConsequencesResidential schools focussed on removing Aboriginal culture andidentity for assimilation into mainstream Canadian society.7 decades of abuse (emotional, physical and sexual producedteenagers with limited knowledge of their own culture, somemanual labour skills and a large degree of illiteracy.A Euro-centric focus and lack of cultural sensitivity did notencourage Aboriginal youth to become part of the mainstreamsociety and resulted in alienation and limited success•In 2001 only 8% of the 25-34 age group of Aboriginal peoples had acompleted university degree, while 28% of all Canadians did.•In 1996, 68% of Aboriginal youth were in school compared to 83%of non-Aboriginal youth.•Only 24% of Aboriginal peoples under 25 were able to converse inan Aboriginal language
  29. 29. Aboriginal Education is Holistic Forward Movement The Assembly of First Nations, Canadian Government, Provincial Ministries of Education and Universities have all worked over the last four decades to raise awareness and develop programs to address specific needs around the reality of Aboriginal Education. The focus needs to be on creating a holistic model that responds to unique aspects of Aboriginal identity and culture. •In 2000, 98% of the schools on reserves were administered by First Nations themselves. •There are presently 502 schools on reserve and all but 8 are under First Nations management. •Over 2000 students attend the First Nations University located at U of Regina.
  30. 30. The Education Role of non-AboriginalsA Necessary ShiftTo properly address education for Aboriginal peoples there must be greaterunderstanding of the history, and culture of Aboriginal people by non-Aboriginalchildren. By understanding the basics of Aboriginal culture and by promoting this inthe school system we can move forward together in a respectful manner.•A guide to Canadian Aboriginal Education Resources:•To visit the Coalition for the Advancement of Aboriginal•To learn more about the Indigenous Education Network,, click “Resources,” click “Education” and scroll down to “Indigenous Education Network.
  31. 31. Self-DeterminationThe restriction and denial of political and civil rights, including the right to vote, has historicallystopped Aboriginal people from gaining access to a political system required to address the manyissues that they face. Issues of status, treaty rights and civil rights have been ongoing divisiveissues that have restricted Aboriginal peoples from being able to determine their own future.This negotiation with the Government of Canada is an ongoing process.Current Agreements•To date, Canada has completed 18 comprehensive self-government agreements involving 32communities.•Currently, some 393 Aboriginal communities are represented at 83 tables at various stages ofnegotiation From Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Developments August 2, 2012•Federal Court ruling that says it was "unreasonable in all circumstances" to appoint an outsidemanager to Attawapiskat First Nation to take over financial management in the community.•There are currently 11 third party managers in place in various communities across Canada.
  32. 32. Aboriginal Political TraditionsThe League of Six Nations was a sophisticated system that embodiedhighly democratic values including:•decision-making by consensus,•the liberty of the individual, and•leadership by persuasion rather than coercion•limited self-government in the form of the band council system isseen as seriously flawedThe Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples identified the need tonegotiate and reconcile Aboriginal governments within Canada as onekey step towards resolving the concerns of Aboriginal peoples.
  33. 33. Aboriginal LeadersShawn Atleo, the newly re-elected national chief of the Assembly ofFirst Nations, called on all Canadians to unite with his people in makinga new future for native people, saying they “are on the cusp of majortransformative change. It is about time we pull back the veil onmisunderstanding and we engage all Canadians to walk with us and giveeffect to the notion... we are all treaty people.” July, 2012
  34. 34. Canadian Electoral Firsts Ethel Blondin-She was the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Andrew, Dene, 1951 -Parliament of Canada. Blondin-Andrew is a Dene first elected inthe 1988 election. She was one of the first accredited Aboriginalteachers in the North. She was re-elected in 1993 and wasappointed Secretary of State for Training and Youth, making herthe first Aboriginal woman to become member of the PrivyCouncil and Cabinet. Re-elected in the 2004 and namedMinister of State for Northern Development under Paul Martin. First Aboriginal Canadian elected to a Legislature in Canada: Frank Arthur Calder, BC New Democratic Party 1949- 1975 was a Nisgaa politician in Canada, the first Status Indian to be elected to any legislature in Canada. Calder was the first Indian to graduate from the Anglican Theological College of UBC and was a hereditary chief of the House of Wisinxiltkw from the Killerwhale Tribe . August 1913 - November 2006
  35. 35. Worldviews and Traditional Culture
  36. 36. “The Five Planes Deity”We natives believe in thefollowing saying: Our God isNative. The Great Deity ofthe Five Planes is so. We areneither for nor against, Wespeak not of Christ nor ofGod. We say, Let them be.We follow the Spirit on itsInward Journey of Soulthrough attitudes andattentions. Remember weare all in a big School andthe Inner Master teaches usExperience over manyLifetimes.Norval Morrisseau “Christ” by Norval Morrisseau
  37. 37. The Language of the Circle“In the circle there is a stone for you and for me, stones for mothers, fathers, all livingthings, stones for governments, philosophies, for all nations. All things are containedwithin the the circle and all things are equal within it. The circle is the total universe.” From “Elders Share Perspectives on Traditions & Spirituality by Noel Archie Starr Voices of the First NationsCircles represent important principles in the Aboriginal worldview and belief systems: Equality Continuity Interconnectedness Renewal InclusionThe movement of animals and people are continuous, like a circle, like the cycles of theseasons and the sun. It is used in the construction of teepees, sweat lodges, the medicinewheel, the dream catcher and in other powerful symbols.
  38. 38. The Talking CircleThe Talking Circle symbolizes completeness and equality.•All circle participants’ views must be respected and listened to.•All comments directly address the question or the issue, not the commentsanother person has made.•An object is used in the circle that symbolizes a connection to the land isused to designate the speaker ( a talking stick, feather, or stone for example)•Participants can indicate their desire to speak by raising their hands.•Going around the circle systematically gives everyone the opportunity toparticipate.•Silence is also acceptable – any participant can choose not to speak.From “Aboriginal Perspectives: A Teacher’s Toolkit” MOE 2009
  39. 39. The Spiritual Language of the Land Medicine wheels, or sacred hoops, are circular stone structures with spokes constructed by indigenous peoples for ritual, healing and teaching purposes. Alberta and British Columbia, have two- thirds of all known Medicine wheels (47) which suggests that Southern Alberta was a central meeting place for many Plains First Nations tribes who followed Medicine Wheel ceremonies.“A Medicine Wheel can best be described as a mirror within, which everything aboutthe human condition is reflected back. It requires courage to look into the mirror andreally see what is being reflected back about an individuals life. It helps us with ourcreative "Vision", to see exactly where we are in life and which areas we need towork on and develop in order to realize our full potential. It is a tool to be used forthe uplifting and betterment of humankind, healing and connecting to the Infinite.”By Sandra Laframboise and Karen Sherbina
  40. 40. Inclusion: The “Medicine Wheel”Photo of what is believed to be the oldest wheel from a 7000 year old culture.This wheel was built 300-800 years ago at the Bighorn Wheel Site in Wyoming.
  41. 41. A Holistic Vision of The World
  42. 42. The Cree Medicine Wheel
  43. 43. TRIBES model• an extension of the talking circle is a way of seeing Aboriginal culture at work in schools to help create a positive, safe climate in schools• What is Tribes?• Tribes is a “way of learning and being together” (5). It is a process that uses a learning-community, whole-school model to create a positive school climate through improved teaching and classroom management, positive interpersonal relations, and opportunities for student participation. The Tribes process consists of four key agreements that staff, students and parents are expected to abide by:• Attentive listening• Appreciation/no put-downs• Mutual respect• Participation/right to pass.
  44. 44. Storytelling“Our stories and our traditions are the very foundation of our culture. Our stories teachus how to live, give us the reason for why things are as they are, record our history,entertain us, help us, help us make meaning of our experiences, counsel and comfortus. If schools don’t use our stories and traditions then schools become one of theagencies that make us lose our identity.” From Martha Demientieff’s “Our Stories: The Roots that Bind Us The Voices of First Nations: The Senior Issues Collection, Ahenakew, Gardipy, Lafond; McGraw Hill Ryerson, 1995.Activity: At tables in groups of four:1. Share who told you stories as a child. What was a favourite story of yours?2. Share how you learned about your racial, ethnic or cultural origin.3. Compare the different ways people in your group learned about theirhistories.
  45. 45. Gender Equity: The Drum & Mother EarthThe beat of the Drum is the Heartbeat of the Medicine Earth Women, MotherEarth.The heartbeat of all creatures on Mother Earth are in rhythm with this heartbeat.The four seasons are also in rhythm with the many heartbeats of nature. Mostdrums are round and could be linked to the four directions. The drum is an integralpart of Aboriginal life. The drum is afforded the same respect as your own Biological Grandmother. Taking care of that drum is of paramount importance. You would not leave her out In the rain, uncovered. You Do not lend it to someone you do not know. The drum should be sounded often so we do not forget her heartbeat.
  46. 46. The Aboriginal Social EducationSitting in a Circle“All are welcome, all nations, all people, sit together in a circle. When we sit in acircle there are no lines, no hierarchies. There are only two sides to a circle – in orout. We can all see each other in the circle.”Our First Song“The drum is the heartbeat – when we come to this world singing our warrior song,our own cry, our mother placed our head on her heart and we heard our first song.The drum comes from grandmother and she has the power to take it away.”How do we support men?“Grandmother teaches young men to understand their feelings at an early age, notto shun other emotions but to embrace them all, to be a whole person.Grandmother teaches young men that it is alright to cry.”Elder Joe Paquette, Turtle Clan, Ojibway speaking at St. Francis Xavier S.S. 2007
  47. 47. Healthy Relationships: Teachings From My Mother1. Love each other2. Share and care for each other3. Respect each other4. Be honest with each other.5. Be gentle with each otherFrom a teaching session by Elder Joe Paquette, Turtle Clan, Ojibway speaking atSt. Francis Xavier S.S. 2007 “Mother and Child” by Norval Morrisseau
  48. 48. Family and Community StructureAboriginal community dynamics andinterpersonal relationships are founded upon asense of caring for all.The familiar phrase that has been adopted theworld over, “it takes a village to raise a child,” isan indigenous concept. We are responsible forthe well being of each other and for the wellbeing of each other’s children.
  49. 49. Niizhwaaswi Mishomisag: Seven Grandfathers Kinomaagi’ oonan: Traditional TeachingsWisdomLoveRespectBraveryHonesty/HonourHumilityTruthThese are the Gifts, which were passed on fromthe vessel of the grandfathers. From The Mishomis Book by Edward Benton-Banai1988
  50. 50. The Traditional Teachings in OjibwayNbwaakaawin: (Wisdom) To cherish knowledge is to know wisdomZaagidiwn: (Love) To Know love is to know peaceMnaaden diwin: (Respect) To honour all of the creation is to have respectAakdehwin: (Bravery) Is to face the foe with integrityGwekwaadziwin: (Honesty/Honour) In facing a situation is to be braveDbaadebdizwin: (Humility) Is to know yourself as a sacred part of CreationDebwewin: (Truth) Is to know all of these things. Compare these teachings to FAITH RESPECT the D-PCDSB’s Virtues Program: EMPATHY KINDNESSThere are many overlapping and shared CONSCIENCE LOVEvalues to be found between a Catholic and HOPE ACCEPTANCEAboriginal worldview. SELF-CONTROL FAIRNESSFor a detailed look at Traditional Teachings, or the Seven Grandfathers, and how theyare interpreted in a contemporary manner:
  51. 51. Two-Spirited: Sexuality and Gender AlternativesThe Way Of The Two Spirited People addresses Native American concepts of genderand sexual orientation by Sandra Laframboise and Michael Anhorn•The two-spirited person is a native tradition that researchers have identified in someof the earliest discoveries of Native artifacts. Much evidence indicates that Nativepeople, prior to colonization, believed in the existence of cross-gender roles, themale-female, the female-male, what we now call the two-spirited person.•In Native American culture, before the Europeans came to the Americas, "two-spirit"referred to an ancient teaching. This type of cross-gender identity has beendocumented in over 155 tribes across Native North America (Roscoe 1988).•Our Elders tell us of people who were gifted among all beings because they carriedtwo spirits, that of male and female. It is told that women engaged in tribal warfareand married other women, as there were men who married other men. Theseindividuals were looked upon as a third and fourth gender in many cases and in almostall cultures they were honoured and revered. Two-spirit people were often thevisionaries, the healers, the medicine people, the nannies of orphans and the caregivers. (Roscoe 1988).
  52. 52. Your Experiences of Aboriginal Culture: Talking Circle Pt. 2ActivityBack to talking circles and three questions:1) What was your first experience ofAboriginal people?2) When did you first know that Aboriginalpeople were treated differently in Canada?3) In what ways are we connected toAboriginal people in Canada?
  53. 53. Curriculum Infusion“By its very nature, Native studies is integrative.” Native Studies, The Ontario Curriculum Grades 9 & 10•Aspects of Aboriginal culture, history and knowledge can be infused across the curriculum inmany disciplines as suggested by the ministry of educationSome Curriculum Links•Use of Literature across the panels: Aboriginal Literatures in Canada by: R. Eigenbrod and J.Fiddler 2003• for younger kids inthe elementary panel•Voices of the First Nations from the Senior Issues Collection by Ahenakew, Gardipy and LaFond“Given the cultural topics and contemporary issues explored in the Native studies curriculum,teachers will find it necessary to reach beyond the usual sources in preparation for instruction.Important resources include First Nation community-based resources, Aboriginal elders, andelectronic media.” Native Studies, The Ontario Curriculum Grades 11 & 12
  54. 54. School Culture IntersectionsHow can schools intersect withAboriginal Culture?•Heritage and history monthacknowledgements across the year•Use of healing circles and restorativejustice practices•Be conscious of appropriaterepresentations of indigenous cultures inthe school Discussion Question: What is the role of education with regards to raising awareness of the history and culture of Aboriginal peoples and better participate in the successful development of Aboriginal Culture and People?
  55. 55. Appropriation of Aboriginal Culture in the WestAspects of Aboriginal culture havebeen exploited in mainstream culturefor decades in mass media, movies,the naming of sports teams, fashion etc.Understanding the Aboriginal Story in Canada requires personal investigation,to move past the historical derogatory stereotypes, exploitation andmisinformation.For more information on this topic consider the following resources:•Marketing the Imaginary Indian: from the Voices of First Nations DanielFrancis•The Truth about Stories Thomas King•Legitimizing IndigenousArt:•The Pocahontas Myth•“A Short History of Indians in Canada” by Thomas King
  56. 56. Inclusive or Stereotype? How do schools create a balance between both historical/traditional and contemporary ideas about Aboriginal culture? Does this image on the left promote or work against stereotypes? Is its representation of Aboriginal peoples different from the image bottom right? Lesson Idea: Stereotypes and Tonto - Hollywood’s stereotyping of the ‘Indian.’ Click the link below to get this lesson.
  57. 57. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesThis general assembly declaration was not legally binding but was still votedagainst by four countries: Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealandwhen it was passed in 2007.Eventually, these four countries did adopt the resolution whose goal is to setstandards of treatment for indigenous peoples to help eliminate humanrights violations against the 370 million indigenous people.Canada has been repeatedly criticized at the United Nations GeneralAssembly for its treatment of Aboriginal peoples with the living conditions inAttawapiskat to be the most recent criticism leveled against the CanadianGovernment.Canada continues to create legal norms and to help assist Aboriginal peopleto combat discrimination and marginalization as proposed in the UNdeclaration.
  58. 58. The Global Resurgence of Indigenous PeoplesAcross the planet there is a growing international movementthat recognizes the impact of colonisation and globalisationon indigenous peoples.Global Indigenous movements•There is a rise in urban populations of indigenous people.•A reclaiming of lands and a reclaiming of culture throughboth traditional and contemporary means.•Growing trends towards recognizing the rights, status andland ownership of indigenous people•Global connections with other indigenous cultures’experiences of displacement and resurgence
  59. 59. Canadian Forward Momentum• Reforms/Changes to the Indian Act• Land Claims Resolution• Shifts in Education, Health Care, Housing• Rights to Self-Determination• Status rights regained for Grandchildren of women who married non-natives• Increase in native law development in B.C. and in in aboriginal youth pursuing degrees in areas of law.• Integration and promotion of Aboriginal Culture and history in main stream societyDiscussion Question: What is your role in all of this? What story will you share with people you know?
  60. 60. Reflection: Stories to ReadRead a formative short story selectionfrom Our Story: Aboriginal Voices onCanadas Past and bring back yourreflection for the following class.For more aboriginal stories to use inclass or for personal reading theLibrary Archive of Canada has anincredible collection of First Nations,Métis and Inuit books available to readonline at
  61. 61. The Canada CollectionsTwo samples from the Canada Collections and Library Archive of “our stories” which containcomplete colour pdf’s of stories by First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples.
  62. 62. Important Related LinksA Canadian portal for Curriculum and Education Programs as well asEducational Resourcesétis Culture and Heritage and Resource Centrehttp://www.Mé Nation Nations Histories of Native American History Resources on the Internet History of North American Native Peoples and Resources