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Week 2- Indigenous Curriculum and Media

Week 2- Indigenous Curriculum and Media

“When selecting resources for your curriculum, it is important to incorporate authentic Indigenous resources. But what does it mean to be authentic? And how can such resources be incorporated in a respectful way?” (Antoine, Mason, Mason, Palahicky, and Rodriguez de France, 2018, pg. 36)

In my English classroom, I have often looked to bring in texts created by Indigenous creators, and recently taught the text “Indian Horse” by Richard Wagamese. I had originally looked at texts created by Joseph Boyden, as several of his books deal quite beautifully with the interplay between Indigenous and non-Indigenous worldviews and ways of life, and have literary value worth discussion. Ultimately I chose not to, as the disputes about Boyden’s Indigenous heritage made it difficult for me to feel that the I was incorporating authentic Indigenous texts.

First Peoples Principles of Learning:

The British Columbia government has asked that schools look at ways to incorporate the First Peoples Principles of Learning into their curriculum. One of the principles is that “Learning recognizes the role of Indigenous knowledge.”  Another says that “Learning involves recognizing that some knowledge is sacred and only shared with permission and/or in certain situations.” As an educator, I think it is important that I try to make sure that both of these principles are brought into the way that I select materials to aid in learning. While I make sure to show video of Indigenous people discussing their traditional beliefs about their people’s arrival in the area we live in as a way of including Indigenous knowledge in our classroom exploration of the anthropological origins of humans in BC, I also am careful not to tell these stories myself; that story is a sacred one to the people of this area, and not my story to tell. The ability to use video within my classroom allows me to bring Indigenous voices and perspectives into the learning environment in a way that feels respectful. As a non-Indigenous Canadian, I have been careful to think about how I can bring in Indigenous understanding, and share Indigenous knowledge without appropriating it. For me, when it comes to selecting multimedia to use in the classroom this has been mostly about taking the time to carefully select and sift through teaching tools online to find those that were created by Indigenous voices, that were meant to be shared. It also means taking the time to ensure that students understand the context behind these materials creation, as well as crediting the makers of the media.

One of my favourite videos to use when discussing the power of the internet as a tool to share and amplify the voices of young people (something I typically do with my Grade 8 English classes during our storytelling and podcasting unit) is the work of the N’we Jinan Artists collective. This group helps amplify young Indigenous voices from across Canada through working with them to create exceptional multimedia productions involving music and video. You can check out my favourite, called “Firemakers” below:

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