First Nations Learning Resources No. 2

When going through my list of most commonly used resources I discovered that I could fill an ongoing blog just about the powerful pieces I use in my teaching, and I was elated. It was short days ago that resources with or from  First Peoples perspective were scarce or shockingly hegimonious. Not to say that there weren’t stand out pieces of brilliance, just that they were fewer and farther between. Today is truly a new day. My personal shelves, the library, my colleagues, bookstores, and internet are bursting with resources. Now we get to be a bit choosier, and find those “just right” pieces, rather than those, “I can make this fit”.

4) The Rabbits

Carrying on from yesterdays post we will begin with The Rabbits. A brilliant piece of literature created through the co-operative efforts of Shaun Tan, and John Marsden. It is extremely difficult to find this book as a stand alone text unless you are lucky enough to live in Australia, where both Shaun and John are from. However, it can be found in the Shaun Tan book Lost and Found. Thank you Viki for figuring this out. This book is unique as it is the story of colonization told through the perspective of the colonized. What a novel idea. I use this book to kick off my colonization unit. I have uploaded the first lessons in that series. Check them out. It’s always great to have ready made pieces student tested, teacher approved.

Lost and FoundAt First We Didn't Know What to Think

It Leads you through the process of colonization just as it happened. From early working relationships and curiosity to destruction and oppression. All told through an omnipotent faceless voice speaking on behalf of the colonized.

They Came by Water And Took Our Children

This book truly is a team effort. The story and the art of equal importance. Together they tell the ugly history of colonization in a way that knocks down preconceptions, and creates a real understanding of its impact. I have an extensive lesson based around The Rabbits that I will be explaining in my next post. It never ceases to amaze me how much it grabs the hearts and minds of students. I am always blown away at how rich their learning is thanks largely to this incredible book.

Below are some helpful links I have used with this resource to help bring it to life.

This link is to a two-part movie made from The Rabbits. It is nice because it holds the images a long time and allows the students ample time to study and notice the details. Also Bernard Kotze, who made this video, wrote the music specifically for this book. It is very well done. Part Two can be found to the side, remember this is only part one and therefore you will not see the end of the book unless you also watch part two.

This is a link discussing the upcoming musical operetta based on this amazing book. Very interesting piece.

The following is a link to a fantastic and detailed lesson plan the begins with the story of The Rabbits, but extends the theme into other resources.

5) Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices

This book is a real original. It is chock full of stunning art work, pictures, allegories, true stories, poetry, and a host of other attention grabbing pieces. Because it is contemporary it bridges a gap and spends its time looking at the lives of Native youths in the here and now. I have found that people cannot help but pick this book up, the cover art alone speaks to you and demands that you look inside.

From Me to You by Laura K. Harris

Dreaming in Indian

Silenced No More

The first image is called “From Me to You”, by LauraLee K. Harris. You can see more of her art in the documentary From the Spirit (2009). The middle image is the cover art and is a compilation collage by Inti Amaterasu with images from Ishmil Waterman, Denise Payette, Kit Thomas and Chasima Edd. Silenced No More was photographed by Kim Perterson depicting the graffiti art painted in various locations around the now defunct residential school of St. Michael’s in Alert Bay, British Columbia.

6) Babakiueria

This is a mockumentory that depicts the Aboriginal people as colonialists and looks through the lens of colonial output through this flipped perspective. I am always amazed at how surprising students find it when the racial biases that Aboriginal people live with everyday are reversed. The first moment that the Minister for White affairs appears on-screen we always have to pause while the students insist that this is just too far-fetched. The second after the learn that there is an actual Minister of Indian affairs is the moment this piece really drives home the ridiculous nature of the implementation of colonialism.  It is a must see, and a fantastic jump off into colonialism, self-determination, human rights, and hegemony. What makes it even better is the tongue in cheek manner in which it is portrayed.

These six resources are a great place to start, but certainly this doesn’t even graze the tip of the iceberg. I really look forward to hearing about resources you all use.

Make each moment count, Zan


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