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Issue #89
April, 2017

Research Involving the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada

Source: Government of Canada
Focus: Teachers

Résumé: This chapter on research involving Aboriginal peoples in Canada, including Indian (First Nations), Inuit and Métis peoples, marks a step toward establishing an ethical space for dialogue on common interests and points of difference between researchers and Aboriginal communities engaged in research.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities have unique histories, cultures and traditions. They also share some core values such as reciprocity – the obligation to give something back in return for gifts received – which they advance as the necessary basis for relationships that can benefit both Aboriginal and research communities.

Research involving Aboriginal peoples in Canada has been defined and carried out primarily by non-Aboriginal researchers. The approaches used have not generally reflected Aboriginal world views, and the research has not necessarily benefited Aboriginal peoples or communities. As a result, Aboriginal peoples continue to regard research, particularly research originating outside their communities, with a certain apprehension or mistrust.

The landscape of research involving Aboriginal peoples is rapidly changing. Growing numbers of First Nations, Inuit and Métis scholars are contributing to research as academics and community researchers. Communities are becoming better informed about the risks and benefits of research. Technological developments allowing rapid distribution of information are presenting both opportunities and challenges regarding the governance of information.

This chapter is designed to serve as a framework for the ethical conduct of research involving Aboriginal peoples. It is offered in a spirit of respect. It is not intended to override or replace ethical guidance offered by Aboriginal peoples themselves. Its purpose is to ensure, to the extent possible, that research involving Aboriginal peoples is premised on respectful relationships. It also encourages collaboration and engagement between researchers and participants.

Guide to Inspiring Initiatives: For Educational Success of Aboriginal Students

Source: Ministère de l’Éducation, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche, Québec

Summary: This guide is intended for educators working with Aboriginal students. The aim of measure 30109, entitled Educational Success of Aboriginal Students, is to allow a greater number of Aboriginal students to acquire an academic profile comparable to that of other students in their public school by consolidating the language of instruction.

The Direction des services aux Autochtones et du développement nordique, Ministère de l’Éducation, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche (MEESR), visited 25 French- and English-speaking elementary schools offering language of instruction consolidation services funded through the Educational Success of Aboriginal Students measure. The schools in question were from 15 different school boards whose territories were spread over seven administrative regions in Québec. The purpose of the visits was to gather information and produce a document presenting inspiring practices.

The meetings with project leaders in the regions visited confirmed the importance of maintaining the Educational Success of Aboriginal Students measure and making good use of the monies available through it. The materials gathered at the meetings were used to produce this “inspiring initiatives” guide, which presents the achievements and experiences of project leaders who provide support for Aboriginal students attending schools in Québec. A further aim of the guide is to promote networking between school boards through computer links and Web sites.

In the wake of the discussions, and based on the requests made by the project leaders, the Direction des services aux Autochtones et du développement nordique has made a number of improvements to the way in which the measure is managed. The “inspiring initiatives” presented in this guide should also help to improve actions in the field.


Source: Tepi’ketuek Mi’kmaw Archives
Focus: General interest

Summary: It is a Mi’kmaw tradition of giving and receiving for the collective to flourish. We created this site as a portal and archive in order to share the Mi’kmaw journey, promoting and encouraging Mi’kmaw knowledge, all the while preserving it online for future generations. We invite you to explore the Mi’kmaw Archives created by Mi’kmaq about Mi’kmaq. The first generation of the website is dedicated to Mi’kmaw authors/writers/researchers and the second generation will include non-Mi’kmaw authors writing about Mi’kmaq.

The Mi’kmaq resided in, and for a considerable time after the onset of the Europeans, a civilization where respect for the good works of the Great Spirit was its cornerstone. In line with those teachings children were taught from early childhood that they must live honorable lives, share all material goods with their entire community, and make strangers welcome. Greed was discouraged in these teachings. Significant events such as marriages, births, puberty, start of the hunting season, etc., and death were marked and celebrated by ceremonies, stories, songs, chants, and many other traditional practices.

Featured in this section is a glimpse into the Mi’kmaw way of life – past, present and how it is shaping our current reality.

Clouds of Autumn

Source: A film by Trevor Mack & Matthew Taylor Blais
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: This is a 14 minute film set on the Tsilhqot’in plateau in the 1970s, Clouds of Autumn focuses on a young Indigenous boy named William and his older sister Shayl whose carefree childhoods are torn apart when Shayl is forced to attend a residential school. Singular visual interpretations infuse co-director Trevor Mack’s family history with a slowly shifting tone that evokes loss and love.

Code Talkers

Source: Native Words Native Warriors
Focus: Grades 6-12

Summary: This website explores the lives and experiences of American Indian Code Talkers, the servicemen who used their traditional tribal languages to transmit secret messages for the United States military during World War I and World War II. The content focuses on the Code Talkers’ wartime experiences, as well as their pre- and post-war lives. Their highly honored military achievements are placed in a larger cultural and historical context to encourage deeper appreciation of and respect for the complex and difficult challenges they faced as American Indian people of the twentieth century.

Features of the website include:

  • Introduction: Code Talkers
  • Languages: Living the Culture
  • Boarding Schools: Struggling with Cultural Repression
  • Code Talking: Intelligence and Bravery
  • Coming Home: Strength through Culture
  • Survival: Hard Times and Racism
  • Recognition: Medals and Praise

Oneida Stories

Source: Oneida Language and Cultural Centre
Focus: Junior/Intermediate

Summary: The oral tradition of the Iroquois is embedded with stories of tribal history, events, and protocols for behavior, which are passed on from one generation to the next through the telling of stories. There is no one, single official version as stories change to suit the particular reason for telling them. Committing the telling of a story to written form restricts the freedom and movement of the story (with the exception of the Creation Story, which forms the basis of most Iroquoian teachings).

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