Tag Archives: Indigenous

Three intricately carved and painted totem poles standing in a tranquil forest, their vibrant colors of red, black, white, and turquoise contrasting with the muted tones of the surrounding trees and foliage. The central totem pole features an extended wing-like structure. The ground is covered with grass and fallen leaves, indicating a fall season.

Indigenous languages are dying. Here’s how we fight that trend

March 28, 2024 | Toronto Star via UVic News

Onowa McIvor, an Indigenous Education professor at the University of Victoria, emphasizes in a Toronto Star op-ed, the shared duty in reviving Indigenous languages, a key part of Canada’s history. Despite decades-long efforts to restore these languages, a 2023 survey revealed a decline in Indigenous language proficiency, largely due to the aging population of native speakers and past colonial efforts to sever cultural ties.

However, the survey also highlighted a 30% increase in new speakers of Indigenous languages like Haisla, Halq’emeylem, Heiltsuk, and Michif from 2016 to 2021, demonstrating the success of language rejuvenation initiatives. This progress reflects the commitment of Indigenous communities and their supporters to ensure future generations can fluently speak their ancestral languages.

McIvor, of Swampy Cree and Scottish-Canadian descent, and a language revitalization specialist, underscores the importance of collective action in supporting Indigenous rights and cultures. The article suggests actions like using Indigenous languages on welcome signs, restoring Indigenous place names, acknowledging traditional territories at meetings, learning about local Indigenous peoples, and advocating for Indigenous language education. It highlights the University of Victoria’s strategic plan as an example of institutional commitment to Indigenous Peoples’ rights and concludes by urging everyone to contribute to the revival of Indigenous languages.

In her role beyond academia, McIvor serves as the Project Director for the NEȾOLṈEW̱ Research Partnership, a national initiative based at the University of Victoria. For those interested in exploring her work or the contributions of the NEȾOLṈEW̱ Research Partnership, UVicSpace offers a comprehensive repository of their publications.

Open Education Week 2022: March 7-11

Open Education Week 2022 is being held internationally from March 7-11. It is celebrated every year as a community-built forum to raise awareness and highlight innovative Open Education successes worldwide. It was first launched by Open Education Global in 2012.

OE Week gives practitioners, educators, and students the chance to learn more about open educational practices and be inspired by the amazing work that is being done by the community across the world.

What is Open Education?

According to a definition from Opensource.com, Open Education is a philosophy about how individuals should generate, distribute, and build on knowledge. Open education advocates believe that everyone around the globe should have access to excellent educational experiences and materials, and they strive to remove obstacles to that aim. High monetary costs, outdated or expired resources and legal restrictions that limit collaboration between students and educators are examples of such hurdles. A collection of different definitions of Open Education can be found here.

Which core concepts behind Open Education bring the idea to life?

  • Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning, teaching, and sometimes research resources that have been published under an open license (such as Creative Commons) or that are part of the public domain. No technological or copyright-related barriers should exist to freely reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute OERs (the 5Rs).
    While the roots of OER reach back further, the term was established during a UNESCO forum in 2002. To this day, UNESCO remains one of the most important contributors to the evolution of OER and has issued its Recommendation on Open Educational Resources, which is the world’s only international framework for establishing norms in this field. Promoting Open Education, especially OER, is also part of UNESCO’s efforts to meet the United Nations Sustainability Goals. Find the UNESCO definition for OER and detailed information on their commitment in that area here.

  • Open Pedagogy is a concept that aims to open up the entire teaching, learning, and study experience, not only through the use of OERs but also by challenging established methods of knowledge creation. By using dynamic, open, and innovative methods, students, hand-in-hand with instructors, liberate themselves from the role of passive consumers of lectured “chalk and talk” content and become an active part of the educational process, for example by creating a textbook together with their instructor over the course of a semester.
    It is important to note that the Open Education movement did not
    invent alternative pedagogical approaches but can draw on many groundbreakers in this area. What is new in this context are the chosen methods and the strong association with the Open philosophy.

What are Indigenous perspectives on Open Education? Which resources address the relationship between Indigenous ways of Teaching, Learning and Knowing and Open Education?

Indigenous ways of knowledge building and sharing can be fundamentally different from Western approaches. The desire to (re)open access to knowledge and education for all only emerges from a predicament created by a Western claim to education and educational resources as a potentially marketable good and means of gaining distinction and power, which may not necessarily be found in Indigenous practices around knowledge creation, retention, and sharing.

The white paper Community First: Open Practices and Indigenous Knowledge by Skylee-Storm Hogan and Krista McCracken offers a first perspective on the relationship between Open Education and Indigenous Knowing and emphasizes that this relationship needs to be reflected on more, as the Open Education movement gathers momentum around the world.

UBC hosted The 6R’s of Indigenous OER: Re-imagining OER to Honour Indigenous Knowledge and Sovereignty, an online talk about the relation of Indigenous Knowledge Systems and OER on March 10 as part of OE Week. Find the recording of that session here.

Pulling Together: A Guide for Curriculum Developers by Asma-na-hi Antoine, Rachel Mason, Roberta Mason, Sophia Palahicky, and Carmen Rodriguez de France is a companion on the Indigenization of curricula and other educational contexts, that was developed as a collaboration between Royal Roads University, University of Victoria, and Arrive Consulting. It is part of the Pulling Together series, a set of professional learning guides stemming from a project on the Indigenization of post-secondary institutions in B.C.
The series is available as OER in the BCcampus Open Textbook Collection, each in a variety of formats.

What role does Open Education play in the UVic community?

Awareness of and advocacy for Open Education is widespread among stakeholders on UVic Campus.

  • An overview of Open Education and Open Educational Resources (OER) is being provided by the Office of Scholarly Communications at Uvic Libraries. 
  • UVic awards OER grants, to foster the adoption, adaptation or creation of Open Educational Resources (OERs). The aim is to replace existing textbooks or other educational resources with OERs that will be useable not just at UVic, but other post-secondary institutions, bringing down prohibitive barriers like high cost along the way.
  • The University of Victoria Student’s Society (UVSS) is providing a template for an advocacy letter, ready to be sent out to professors and lecturers to inform them about the benefits of OER. Read more about the initiative here.

Where can resources around Open Education be found?

Events for Open Education Week

The OE Week website lists a large number of events being organized around the globe
Events hosted in BC, sometimes with a provincial focus, are being listed on the BC Campus website. Some archived events of note include:

This blogpost was created adapting material from the following sources, which are licensed under a Creative Commons license:

Love Data Week 2022: Feb 14-18

Love Data Week is an international celebration of all things data, scheduled annually in the week of Valentine’s day. Its aim is to engage community and increase awareness with events that highlight the prominence, value, and appropriate handling of data in our lives and research.

For Love Data Week 2022, libraries at SFU, UBC, UNBC, and UVic collaborated to offer a series of talks and workshops. All events will be hosted online via Zoom and registration is open to everyone. 

You can check out all of the Love Data Week events and workshops through the UBC Library Research Commons. All events are online and completely open.

This year’s keynote presentation is by Sonia Barbosa, the Manager of Data Curation for Harvard Dataverse. The presentation is titled Lessons learned: 20 years of data acquisition and management services  and will be held on Monday, February 14th from 10am-11am, You can register for this talk here.

Featured Thesis: GULE | The masks we carry

By Kl. Peruzzo de Andrade

https://dspace.library.uvic.ca:8443/handle/1828/12159

An M.A. thesis in the Social Dimensions of Health Program.

Abstract:

This thesis documents and discusses the production of a film about the Gule Wamkulu Mask Dance, in the village of Mzonde, in the area of traditional authority of Nkanda, Malawi. Through an Ubuntu framework of place-based epistemology, critical race theory and the principles of Indigenous research, I describe my journey of self-reflection about what it means to be Caá-Poré Cafuzo and how I came to understand belonging in the context of diasporic, Black and Indigenous relationships and governance.

To read more, visit UVicSpace

*UVic’s open access repository, UVicspace, makes worldwide knowledge mobilization possible. Through this platform, researchers at any institution have access to dissertations (and theses and graduate projects) published by our graduate students. This also makes works available to the interested layperson, who may be engaged in learning more about the research being done at UVic, with no paywall. UVic’s graduate students are doing valuable research every day – but sometimes it goes unsung. Our goal with this series is to shine a light on our students by featuring excellence, one achievement at a time.

The UVic LIbraries ePublishing Services Team

Featured Dissertation – Dechen ts’edilhtan: implementing Tsilhqot’in law for watershed governance

By Alan Hanna

https://dspace.library.uvic.ca:8443/handle/1828/11933

Alan Hanna is also an assistant professor in the UVic Faculty of Law, JD/JID program.

Abstract:

The people of the Tsilhqot’in Nation have, and continue to, govern their lands according to dechen ts’edilhtan, the laws of their ancestors. Through their history, their control over their lands and waters have faced opposition from outside forces which include neighbouring nations and settler governments into the colonial present. Over time, their laws have remained strong and deeply internalized, and yet have been exercised to maintain their contested control up to the present. One profound moment when Tsilhqot’in laws became apparent to outsiders was when laws relating to access to the nen (Tsilhqot’in land) effectively proved the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s claim of Aboriginal title over a portion of their territory at Canadian law in 2014. This dissertation provides a deep analysis of dechen ts’edilhtan as it applies specifically to use of and access to surface water in the Tsilhqot’in nen. The purpose is two-fold. First, to continue the ongoing work of understanding and articulating Tsilhqot’in law. Second, to facilitate the identification of possible methods through which ancestral laws may engage Canadian legal and political systems for the benefit of Tsilhqot’in people, and indeed, all Canadians.

To read more, visit UVicSpace

*UVic’s open access repository, UVicspace, makes worldwide knowledge mobilization possible. Through this platform, researchers at any institution have access to dissertations (and theses and graduate projects) published by our graduate students. This also makes works available to the interested layperson, who may be engaged in learning more about the research being done at UVic, with no paywall. UVic’s graduate students are doing valuable research every day – but sometimes it goes unsung. Our goal with this series is to shine a light on our students by featuring excellence, one achievement at a time.

The UVic LIbraries ePublishing Services Team

Featured Thesis: Social-ecological change in Gwich’in territory

An M.A. thesis in the School of Environmental Studies, by Tracey Angela Proverbs

https://dspace.library.uvic.ca/handle/1828/11086

Abstract:

In the territory of the Gwich’in First Nation, in Canada’s Northwest Territories, environmental, sociocultural, and economic changes are affecting relationships between communities and the land and water. In this thesis, I used two research projects to explore the impacts of social-ecological change in Gwich’in territory by examining cumulative impacts in the cultural landscape, and determinants of access to fish and well-being. In the first part of my MA, I used spatial overlay analysis to quantify and map: 1) cultural feature intensity, 2) cumulative environmental disturbance, and 3) overlap between disturbances and cultural features. I also interviewed four regional cultural heritage experts, who contributed critical insights into representing Gwich’in cultural features. The first two analyses indicated that overlay methods can facilitate understandings of land use and cumulative impacts, illustrating Gwich’in territory as a cultural landscape encompassing widespread, dense cultural features and diffuse, lower intensity cumulative environmental impacts. The third analysis showed that overlaying cultural feature and disturbance data is a novel, straightforward step to better incorporating cultural impacts in cumulative impact assessments. Many of the changes I mapped are affecting fishing practices central to Gwich’in livelihoods. To better understand these changes, in the second part of my MA I explored the relationship between drivers of access to fish and well-being amidst social-ecological change, by interviewing 29 Gwich’in individuals. My interviews showed that socioeconomic and environmental barriers have decreased access to fish. However, access to fish remains critical and related to well-being, driven by various socioeconomic factors. Many of these factors are reflected in sharing networks and adaptive practices that are encompassed in ecological monitoring and land-based education. These factors may strengthen Gwich’in fishing livelihoods, and highlight the importance of programs like the Rat River Char Monitoring program, and land-based education like the Ganahghootr’onatan – Teetł’it Land Based Learning Project.

To read more, visit UVicSpace https://dspace.library.uvic.ca/handle/1828/11086

*UVic’s open access repository, UVicspace, makes worldwide knowledge mobilization possible. Through this platform, researchers at any institution have access to dissertations (and theses and graduate projects) published by our graduate students. This also makes works available to the interested layperson, who may be engaged in learning more about the research being done at UVic, with no paywall. UVic’s graduate students are doing valuable research every day – but sometimes it goes unsung. Our goal with this series is to shine a light on our students by featuring excellence, one achievement at a time.

The UVic LIbraries ePublishing Services Team

Google Features UVic Project in Latest Launch

August 9, 2019 | UVic News

‘…a new Google project is highlighting an initiative led by UVic anthropologist Brian Thom and Indigenous languages teacher yutustanaat Mandy Jones (Snuneymuxw First Nation).

The “Celebrating Indigenous languages” Google Earth Voyager project is a curated set of high-quality stories published through Google Earth. It is available in 10 languages internationally and encompasses 55 Indigenous languages in 27 countries from Australia, India, Ecuador and Chile to Cameroon, Pakistan, Turkey and Finland.

And, thanks to yutustanaat, the new tool includes words, phrases, a proverb and songs in the Hul’q’umi’num’ language, as spoken by yutustanaat (pronounced “Yah-TUS-tuh-naught”).’

The Copyright and Scholarly Communications Office encourage you to explore this dynamic resource and to further read more of Brian Thom’s important work by visiting UVic’s institutional repository, UVicSpace.

Featured Thesis: Whose Water is it Anyway?

UVic News recently announced that UVic ranks among the top performers in 10 fields, according to the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject.  To celebrate, we would like to feature some of our graduate research. Today, we feature a 2018 Faculty of Law Thesis*:

Whose water is it anyway? Indigenous water sovereignty in Canada: an Indigenous resurgence analysis of the case of Halalt First Nation v British Columbia

by Michelle Zakrison

Abstract:

Colonialism is ongoing in Canada and continues to affect Indigenous-state relations in a number of political and social areas, including water governance. Few other studies link colonial and decolonizing concepts to Indigenous water governance including discussions of power as well as structural and political assumptions, which speak to systemic factors and barriers to increased Indigenous water sovereignty. The purpose of this study is to undertake an in-depth decolonial analysis of the dynamics occurring in a legal water management dispute between an Indigenous community and the Canadian state. More specifically, the goal of this investigation is to identify how ongoing colonial factors affect the Halalt First Nation’s sovereignty over their waters. To this end, the research question is: Using an Indigenous resurgence (IR) analysis, what does the Halalt First Nation v British Columbia (Minister of the Environment) (Halalt v BC) caselaw reveal about the state of Indigenous water sovereignty in Canada? I employ a case study methodology where I analyse the Environmental Assessment (EA) and legal court case of Halalt v BC. I seek to provide a decolonial perspective, so in this study I use an IR theoretical framework. I collect data through interviews with ten participants including three Band Council staff members involved in the Halalt v British Columbia EA and court case study. I analyse the findings using three Indigenous resurgence themes of transfer of power from the state to an Indigenous community, increased respect and use of Indigenous worldviews, and Indigenous self-determination in light of the primary data I collected via key informant interviews and case study participants. The data reveals that there was no evidence that Indigenous resurgence is taking place in the case study as per Halalt participants’ experience of the case study nor the other participants’ opinion of the case study. In this thesis, I advocate for decolonization in the form of increased Indigenous political authority for the Halalt and all Indigenous communities in Canada.

To read more, visit UVicSpace https://dspace.library.uvic.ca/handle/1828/10432

*UVic’s open access repository, UVicspace, makes worldwide knowledge mobilization possible. Through this platform, researchers at any institution have access to dissertations (and theses and graduate projects) published by our graduate students. This also makes works available to the interested layperson, who may be engaged in learning more about the research being done at UVic, with no paywall. UVic’s graduate students are doing valuable research every day – but sometimes it goes unsung. Our goal with this series is to shine a light on our students by featuring excellence, one achievement at a time.

The UVic LIbraries ePublishing Services Team