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Issue #24
November, 2011

In Pursuit of Adventure: The Fur Trade in Canada and the Northwest Company

Source: McGill University

Summary: Professional Development:In Pursuit of Adventure: The Fur Trade in Canada and the North West Company is a scholarly research site, which illustrates and documents, in part, the heroic age of the fur trade in Canada by examining the exploits of the North West Company and other Montreal-based fur trading companies at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. The story of the North West Company is closely tied to the evolving economic, geographic and political history of Canada and Quebec, especially after France seceded Quebec to Great Britain in 1763. At the core of this site are the full texts of thirty-eight manuscripts that are known collectively as the Masson Papers and cover the period ca 1790-1820. The patrimonial importance of these diaries is of the first order and provide important insights into the history of the North West Company and the fur trade in general.

Although the Masson Papers have appeared in print, first in 1889 and in subsequent editions, they appear here for the first time in a searchable full-text database. Of particular note is the fact, as is explained in the introduction to the Manuscripts, the transcription team has painstakingly produced what is in effect a new critical edition of the Masson Papers. This was no small achievement and this alone will be of enormous benefit to researchers.

To assist users of the site, particularly, students and the general public, we have included additional material including a specially commissioned history of the Fur Trade with special emphasis upon the activities of the North West Company, its evolution and eventual assimilation by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1821. Additional online tools have been included: a chronology, a glossary, a selected bibliography and a list of related web sites. We have included, when appropriate, images and maps to enrich the site. The creators of the site envision In Pursuit of Adventure a project in evolution and new material will be added when time and resources permit.

Walking together for a Better Future: The Aboriginal Enhancement Network of Schools is helping to realize the vision of a better future for the learners they serve

Source: Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert

Summary: The vision of the schools in the BC network of schools is every learner crossing the stage with dignity, purpose and options. The Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) represents one effort to make the goals of individual district enhancement agreements come alive in classrooms through inquiry, teamwork and creating relationships of respect. The work

in AESN schools reflects a small part of the work that is taking place across schools and communities in BC to strengthen the learning experiences of Aboriginal learners. This article describes the way in which AESN schools are ‘walking together’ to realize the vision of a better future for the learners they serve.

Improving Academic Performance among Native American Students: A Review of the Research Literature

Source: William Demmert Jr

Summary: This literature review examines research-based information on educational approaches and programs associated with improving the academic performance of Native American students. A search reviewed ERIC’s over 8,000 documents on American Indian education, as well as master’s and doctoral dissertations and other sources of research on the education of Native Americans. Selected research reports and articles were organized into the following categories: early childhood environment and experiences; Native language and cultural programs; teachers, instruction, and curriculum; community and parental influences on academic performance; student characteristics; economic and social factors; and factors leading to success in college or college completion. The status of research and major research findings are reviewed for each of these categories; brief summaries of research findings with citations are included following the review of each category. Also included are an annotated bibliography of more than 100 research reports, journal articles, and dissertations, most published after 1985; and a bibliography of 23 additional references to other literature reviews and non-Native studies.

Wapikoni Mobile

Source: Corporation Wapikoni mobile, National Film Board of Canada

Summary: 10 short films by young people from Aboriginal communities in Quebec.

Since 2004, Wapikoni Mobile has been giving young Aboriginals the opportunity to speak out using video and music. The following 10 films were made with the guidance of these travelling studios and are a mosaic of rich, contemporary and original works.

  • The Amendment
  • The Lost Children
  • A Mother’s Dream
  • The City
  • Generation Mobilisation
  • The Little Prince
  • The Great Departure
  • Renaissance
  • She and I
  • Fighter

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Going: Learning to Read in Northern Canada

Source: Julia O’Sullivan, Ph.D., Janet Goosney with the International Expert Panel Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada 2007

Summary: Canada’s North is an immense region crossing six time zones, inhabited by a young, culturally and linguistically diverse population living in communities that differ immensely in size and economic base. For this paper we define the North as Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Labrador, and large northern areas of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec.

In Canada there are 1,980,605 young school-age children; 133,405 (or 6.7%) live in the North.

Like five- to nine-year-olds in the rest of Canada, young northern children spend much of their time focused on learning to read. Today in Canada we expect all children to read well, usually by the end of Grade 3 and children’s reading at that time is a strong predictor of high school graduation.

Children who do not read adequately by Grade 3 are at high risk for school failure, dropping out, chronic un- or underemployment, and low-income and associated difficulties in adulthood.

The timeframe for learning to read well must take into account the child’s language of instruction, the language that is the both medium (that children learn through) and the object (that children learn about) of instruction. For many northern children it is the language of their home and of the community. For others, it represents a second language. The timeframe for learning to read well will vary depending on the language of instruction context.

This report describes the learning opportunities young northern children need to get ready, get set, and get going on the road to reading success by:

  • Outlining learning opportunities, then summarizing world-wide research evidence and describing the northern context;
  • Drawing on success stories from Canada’s North and from its northern neighbours to the east and west, and identifying evidence-based best principles that can be used to guide decisionmaking about frameworks that support early reading; and
  • Providing recommendations to help move these best principles into widespread use in the North.

Native Languages of the Yukon

Source: The project was conceived and implemented by Yukon Native Language Centre (YNLC) staff working closely with Elders and fluent speakers of the various Yukon languages

Summary: The Yukon Territory is in the northwest corner of Canada and borders on Alaska. There are eight aboriginal languages used there. Seven are from the Athapaskan family which spreads from central Alaska through northwestern Canada to Hudson Bay. These seven are Gwich’in, Hän, Kaska, Northern Tutchone, Southern Tutchone, Tagish, and Upper Tanana. There are also pockets of Athapaskan in the lower 48 states including Navajo and Apache. Tlingit is found mostly along the southwest Alaskan coast. Inland Tlingit is spoken in parts of British Columbia and southern Yukon. Tlingit is very distantly related to the Athapaskan family. (For more information on Athapaskan and other languages please see the sites listed by the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas. You may also be interested in the site of the Alaska Native Language Center since ANLC works on many joint projects with YNLC on Athapaskan languages and Tlingit.)

Yukon Native people are working actively to teach, document, and enhance their languages. The YNLC was established by the Council for Yukon Indians in 1977, and over the years it has developed writing systems for the languages and trained people to read, write, and teach Native languages. The Centre also sponsors adult literacy classes and works cooperatively with schools and First Nations in developing language teaching curricula. It publishes dictionaries and compiles collections of stories and place names. At Yukon College in Whitehorse, the Centre offers Certificate and Diploma programs for Native Language Instructors, both developed in response to the growing need for teachers and instructional programs and materials.

The Learning Circle Ages 8-11

Source: Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Canada (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada) The First Nations Confederacy of Cultural Education Centres and the National Association of Friendship Centres

Focus: Junior level students

Summary: The Learning Circle has been produced to help meet Canadian educators’ growing need for elementary-level learning exercises on First Nations. It is the second in a series of three classroom guides on First Nations in Canada.

Because First Nations are culturally diverse, the information in this activity book does not necessarily apply to all groups. To learn more about particular First Nations, and to get help with learning activities, teachers are encouraged to consult local Aboriginal Elders, cultural education centres or friendship centres. Some key addresses and contact numbers are listed at the end of this guide.

The Learning Circle is organized in thematic units, each with its own teaching activities. Units are designed to give teachers and students simple but effective exercises, projects and activities that will encourage students to learn more about First Nations. Educators can follow some of the exercises as stand-alone units on First Nations topics, or integrate them with existing curricula on Aboriginal peoples.

Most exercises in The Learning Circle can be completed in one period. Certain others will take several periods, days or weeks.

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