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Issue #13
December, 2010

The Belinda Stronach Foundation: One Laptop Per Child

The Belinda Stronach Foundation launched the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Canada program in September 2010. Five thousand laptops will be distributed to children aged six to 12 in Aboriginal communities across Canada.

With support from Vale, BMO Financial Group and the Government of Ontario, the OLPC Canada program leverages leading-edge technology combined with culturally relevant programming to deliver a unique platform of learning tools to Aboriginal children.

Each laptop is equipped with the customized educational software as well as more than 30 other programs developed by OLPC, and wireless capability, designed to improve the recipient’s connectivity to the world at large and allow for community-building within the students’ own networks.

Customized programming includes:

  • Owl Vision – Literacy: The program includes vowel and consonant recognition, word matching, sounds, and comprehension.
  • The Meeting Place – Mental Health, Substance Use and Well-Being: The program addresses a variety of topics including: bullying, smoking, alcohol, solvents, family violence, suicide, drugs, depression and anxiety.
  • Swift Feet – Physical Fitness: A high energy and up-beat action program with twenty different exercises and 10 different dances set to music take users through high, moderate and low impact movements.
  • Ekominiville – Financial Literacy: The basics of money management are offered through a series of activities and games addressing investment, want versus need, saving and the value of money.
  • Healthy Heart – Food and Nutrition: Based on Canada’s Aboriginal Food Guide, Healthy Heart helps children assess their recommended daily intake of food.
  • Drum Beats – Science of Sound: Buffy Sainte-Marie walks children through the Nature of Sound and Native American/Aboriginal Instruments in order to introduce children to what sound is, the characteristic of sound, wavelengths and how sound travels.
  • Future Generation – Virtual Library: The laptop contains 25 books written by First Nation, Métis and Inuit authors. Some books are offered in various Aboriginal languages and one book is fully narrated.
  • Calm Waters – Water Safety: Through stories about frozen and free-flowing water, children learn the importance of safe water behaviour and begin to understand what can happen if poor choices are made.

The pilot sites are:

  • British Columbia: Maaqtusiis School
  • Alberta: Gift Lake School
  • Saskatchewan: Kakisiwew School
  • Manitoba: Otetiskiwin Kiskinwamahtowekamik
  • Ontario: J.R. Nakogee School, Lloyde S. King Elementary, Shawanosowe School, John C. Yesno Education Centre
  • Quebec: Ulluriaq School
  • Newfoundland Labrador: Jens Haven Memorial School
  • Northwest Territories: Weledeh Catholic School
  • Nunavut: Simon Alaittuq School

For more information please visit the Belinda Stronach Foundation at:

Building Aboriginal Literacy: Share your Language, Share your Culture

Source: North West Territories Literacy Council, Funded by the NWT Early Childhood Development Framework for Action

Summary: Language is used to pass on culture, traditions and stories from one generation to the next. For a language to survive, it needs to pass from generation to generation. Ideally, this happens in the home where family members learn the language from birth and use it as part of their everyday lives. The first few years of a child’s life are important learning years. Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers. Everyone in the community can take part in language activities, especially Elders and others who are fluent in the languages.

The NWT has eleven official languages – nine of these are aboriginal. This booklet will help families support language development within the family in order to maintain and revitalize these languages.

The Fur Trade “Jimmy Goes Home”

Source: Parks Canada: Teacher Resource Centre
Focus: Grades 4-6

Summary: The story Jimmy Goes Home, written by Susan Dobbie, follows a fictitious character, a young boy of mixed ancestry, as he and his family travel from a Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in Northern BC to another in Southern BC. The story is based on the history of Hudson’s Bay Company activities west of the Rocky Mountains in the 1850s, but much of the historical background of this story is applicable to the fur trade across North America.

The lesson plans are designed to help students gain a better understanding of Aboriginal and European contributions to the development of Canada. Comprehension questions draw out some of the pertinent points of the story a mapping exercise helps students with a spatial representation of the story, and a journal writing exercise gives students a chance to creatively empathize with the characters of the story. Additional activities contrast two different types of aboriginal housing as well as compare bartering to a monetary system of exchange. The story and lesson plans are aimed at grades 4 through 6 and can be used as an integrated unit that incorporates Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies.

Australia’s National Curriculum Services: Indigenous Education Resource Update

Source: Joint project among the Australian Government, Dare to Lead, and What Works: The Works Program

Summary: The Indigenous Education Resource Update is a comprehensive regular email newsletter about emerging resources in Indigenous education. It details nationally appropriate resources, their availability, a brief description of content and utility, and a hyperlink to the resource.

Resources for Aboriginal Studies

Source: University of Saskatchewan Libraries and University of Saskatchewan Archives
Focus: Teachers, senior students and researchers

Summary: The first phase of Resources for Aboriginal Studies project began in June 1995. During this phase the University Libraries and the University Archives began indexing and digitizing archival and published materials relating to aboriginal and Mètis studies. The project team created four databases with 2900 records, digitized more than 300 photographs, 60 documents and 60 law cases. Since 1995, work has continued. There are 647 photographs entries, 363 archival materials, and 527 law cases.

The University of Saskatchewan Libraries and University of Saskatchewan Archives began this project because of the enormous increase in demand for First Nations materials, from the University, First Nations communities and the general public. Providing electronic access to materials by, for and about Saskatchewan First Nations peoples through indexes and full text documentation to these materials would be a cost-effective means of increasing their availability.

Links to Canadian Provinces Curriculum Sites

Source: The Canadian Foundation for Economic Education (CFEE)
Focus: Teachers and Administrators

Summary: To help improve the economic capability of Canadians, CFEE has a wide range of resources and programs including publications, multimedia, teacher training, curriculum consultation, and research. This particular site lists all the Canadian provincial curriculum sites in one location providing the opportunity to search for Aboriginal resources available in Canada through district school boards.

Labrador Inuit through Moravian Eyes

Source: The University of Toronto Libraries, Memorial University Libraries and the Bibliothèque de l’Université Laval gratefully acknowledge the support of Canadian Culture Online.
Focus: Secondary teachers and students

Summary: This site provides information on the 250-year relationship between Moravian missionaries and the Inuit of Labrador. This interaction led to the establishment of settlements for a formerly nomadic people, their conversion to Christianity and exposure to aspects of North American culture. The information has been gathered from a variety of sources that shed light upon this unique adventure.

The teacher toolkit provides teachers with historical background, essays, pedagogical strategies and resource workshops designed to facilitate student inquiry into the relationships between the Moravian missionaries and the Inuit of Labrador. The educational resources section contains five instructional units for grades 7 to 10 covering a range of themes.

The student toolkit is a resource that enables students to explore the relationships between the Moravian missionaries and the Inuit, their ideologies, and the impacts of these cultural exchanges through the archival record and beyond. Included in these sections are historical vignettes, essays, and research and critical literacy workshops to help students look deeper into the world views of the Labrador Inuit and the Moravian missionaries.

Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of Residential Schools

Source: Legacy of Hope Foundation
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: This is a virtual classroom site whose primary objective is to promote awareness among the Canadian public about residential schools and try to help them to understand the ripple effect those schools have had on Aboriginal life. The purpose also is to bring about reconciliation between generations of Aboriginal people, and between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

Through this site students will experience an interactive history of the Residential School system in Canada, travel through maps and timelines to visit schools and explore the Residential School Era. Students can explore the Mohawk Institute Residential School through a 3D tour, listen to survivors share their stories of life before, during and after residential school, and visit the original “Where are the children?” exhibit.

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