Ever since 8th Fire aired last week I’ve seen dialog about the show everywhere, from twitter to facebook.  I’m happy to see that this topic is finally being talked about and people are being educated. It was well put together and researched, very educational.

I found myself looking back on my life, this brought up other realizations of stereo types or myths about being Native/Indigenous/Aboriginal/First Nations in Canada ;

“Nice costume” – I’ve heard this many times throughout my life.  This comment refers to Native/Indigenous/Aboriginal/First Nations reglia (reglia – Mens/Womens Fancy/Shawl outfits; Womens/Men Traditional outfits).  Which is often seen at Pow-wows.  The reglia/outfit has cultural and used to, and still may to some have a spiritural meaning.  Womens Fancy/Shawl has meaning and a story has to how it orginated, as do the other style of dances.

“How Native are you?” – Growing up, once non-native people learned that I was Native/First Nations, they would look at me baffled and ask this question, “How Native are you?”  Because they either thought there were no more Native/First Nations people left in Canada. In fact, most people thought I was Spanish, or something other than Native/First Nations.  

“I am part Native myself you know” – In attempt to relate most non-native people would end up saying something a long these lines.  Or, ask if you know “so-and-so”, because their Native/First Nations too.

“I really love your hair! Can I touch it?” – Yes, to some Native/First Nations people there are still traditional reason as to why they grow their hair long. For some men, the reason is: it is believed that the Earth is of a female spirit which gives humans things to sustain our life; then there are women whom bring life into the world, by giving birth. Therefore, men show their respect and honor for the female by growing his hair.  But, growing our hair long as locked us into a stereo type that many have come to accept and only recongize.  But, today many Native/First Nations people  have many different hair styles.

Below, are among other stereo typical comments that I will go further into at a later time. But as you can see there are many.

“I learned all your people’s way”; “My great-great grandmother was full-blooded Native princess”, “You do not look Native”, “What is a reserve?”, “Do you live in a Tipi?”, “What is the meaning behind the pow wow?”, “What is your feeling about casinos? Do they really help your people or are they just a short-term fix?”.

8th Fire Documentary


I thought with everything that’s going on in the media in regards to the Topic of First Nations/Aboriginal people I’d do some research and remind people of the positive and successful contributions FN/Ab. people have brought to Canada. Especially, seeing as many people have never been taught these things within our Education system, and at the same time may be provide teachers with the resources to assist them in class; and to plant a seed for those who are willing to share our knowledges amongst each other.

Frontier to Freeway: A History of Highways in British Columbia

In most of the province, the original trail builders were members of British Columbia’s First Nations, whose people used these routes for millennia. The trails blazed then were the forerunners of today’s highways, which span the wide interior plains of British Columbia, climb the mountains and skirt the inland water ways.



Provinces and Territories – The origins of their names

There are two theories as to the origin of the name. (1) It is of Assiniboine origin: Mini and tobow meaning “Lake of the Prairie”, or in French “Lac des Prairies”, the name used by La Vérendrye. (2) The more probable source is the Cree maniotwapow, “the strait of the spirit or manitobau“. http://geonames.nrcan.gc.ca/education/prov_e.php


Aboriginal Veterans


Aboriginal Veterans Honor List


Aboriginal Canada Portal



Native Hockey Players

Ice hockey was first observed by Europeans being played by Micmac Indians in Nova Scotia in the late 1600’s. It was called ricket by the Natives. The game was played utilizing a frozen road apple as the first puck. Eventually, they began to carve pucks from cherrywood, which was the puck of preference until late in the century when rubber imported by Euro-Americans replaced the wood.

Native role models.


1.)  Aboriginal Resource List 

2.) Aboriginal Organization Guide 2011/2012


3.) Native Science Primer (Resource for Science Teachers)

Native Science Primer 

4.)  Bill’s Aboriginal Links: Canada and U.S.


*Note: If you have any questions please feel free to ask, there isn’t a question that I haven’t heard 1,000 times before, which most likely means it also won’t offend me.  Or, if you agree or like the things I’ve mentioned and would like to have me in to talk to your Organization or Company please feel free to contact me at ctabobandung@gmail.com

1.)     Aboriginal/First Nations people DON’T pay taxes.

This is NOT TRUE! All Aboriginal/First Nations people who do not live on a Reserve (land set aside for Aboriginal/First Nations people), are required to pay taxes.  Only time Aboriginal/First Nations people DO NOT pay taxes are when purchases are made on the Reserve (IndianLand).

 2.)    All Aboriginal/First Nations people are the same.

AcrossCanadathere are many different groups of Aboriginal/First Nations people. There are currently over 630 recognized (this does not include ones that are not recognized) First Nations governments or bands spread acrossCanada. Roughly, the total population is nearly 700,000 (this is just an estimate) Aboriginal/First Nations people.

 3.)    What’s the difference between a ‘BAND’ and a ‘RESERVATION’?

‘Band’ is the Government of Indian and Northern Affairs designation for a Nation/Group of Aboriginal/First Nation people who live on a Reserve. That has a governing system which has been delegated by the Government of Canada.

 ‘Reservation’ is the land in which Aboriginal/First Nations people reside on, that the Government of Canada opposed upon Aboriginal/First Nations people, through the ‘Indian Act’.

 4.)     Isn’t ‘BAND’ and ‘TRIBE’ the same thing?

NO, Band and Tribe is not the same thing.

‘Band’ is the Government of Indian and Northern Affairs designation for a Nation/Group of Aboriginal/First Nation people who live on a Reserve. That has a governing system which has been delegated by the Government of Canada.

‘Tribe’ is the specific group or Nation that an Aboriginal/First Nations person belongs to.

 5.)      All Aboriginal/First Nations people do is whine and complain, want everything for free or just handed to them without ever having to work for it!

This is also, NOT TRUE! Aboriginal/First Nations people’s Claims, Title and Rights were specified in The Royal Proclamation of 1763, which is protected in section 25 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The proclamation forms the basis of land claims of aboriginal peoples in Canada – First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Proclamation_of_1763 This article stipulates that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizes the aboriginal people by the Royal Proclamation.

 *Note: If you have any questions please feel free to ask, there isn’t a question that I haven’t heard 1,000 times before, which most likely means it also won’t offend me.  Or, if you agree or like the things I’ve mentioned and would like to have me in to talk to your Organization or Company please feel free to contact me at ctabobandung@gmail.com


What I like about this article and agree with, is the fact that the school incorporates aspects of Aboriginal history and way of life, such as: “all grade 4 students from across the Bulkley Valley school district are taught a unit on Wet’suwe’ten cultures”, “grade 7 students learn the history of residential schools and their impacts”, “establish closeness with the families and students”.

When we as Aboriginal people talk about a need for Aboriginal Education within the mainstream education system and curriculum, we’re not just talking about the Aboriginal cultural and tradition. We’re talking about the true history of Residential Schools, the truth of how Aboriginal people served in War to defend Canada, the history of the Indian Act. But most of all, how Aboriginal people, since Canada’s birth have worked cooperatively throughout history to help create Canada what it is today. Aboriginal people across Canada need the Recognition and Positive acknowledgment.

Due to the impacts of Residential School’s we have a large population of Aboriginal people who have an innate fear of the education system.  First and second generation families are hugely impacted. This has established the lack of participation and trust in schools today. Today we have Aboriginal families coping with the impacts of being torn apart by Residential Schools, along with being forced into an educational institution expected to be successful within the school system upon re-locating to the city.

Many Aboriginal families come from remote communities that are small and close-knit, where everyone is related and many of the children are monitored by extended family.  When these families have to re-locate to urban areas for whatever reason, this need and desire for the connectedness does not just disappear.  Most Aboriginal families find that living in the city divides people, is based on individualism and separation.  This mentality of thinking within our societies cannot continue.

Our responsibility as the educated; educators, policy and curriculum developers, community service providers, and school board trustees to work cooperatively together to ensure the success of Aboriginal students within the education system. I find that this article speaks to how this one community has developed strategies to overcome these barriers. And also, acknowledges how these strategies work for all students, thus, no more exclusive programming within schools just for Aboriginal students.

Its fall 2008, I jump on UBC 99 express bus to head to my Ethnic Relations class. It is the week of my 30 birthday and my last semester of University and because of that I found myself pondering many different things in regards to myself: life, where I was, and where I wanted to be.  In class, I sat listening and observing as they discussed the relations between ethnic groups and of the interplay between ethnicity and other social factors.

It was because of this class I quickly learned to understand some of my own questions I had about race and ethnicity. During class the professor asked the class, “How many you can tell me what your ethnic background is?” Out of approximately 17-21 students I was the only student that was able to distinguish my many ethnicities as a First Nations person.

After this exercise I had come to my own conclusion that the society we live in and the government upon which governs us, keeps us in racial and ethnic groups to better benefit the majority ruling government currently in place.  Because, the majority is considered to be European, but truthfully, if we were to break Europeans down into ethnic groups, would they end up being the minority group?

The next day I was sitting in my First Nations Studies class where I learned that not many students had the opportunity to learn about First Nations people in the mainstream education system. Many of the non-Native students had said that they couldn’t really remember learning about First Nations people after the history of the Fur Trade, or what they do re-call being taught in elementary and secondary school was only about 3 major groups of First Nations people.  Here on the West Coast it is the Haida, Nishga, and Coast Salish and on the East Coast it is the Mohawk, Ojibway, and Cree.

Most of the students of non-Native background stated that it was pretty sad that they had to wait until University to learn the real truth about the history of First Nations people.  This is why I majored in First Nations Studies.  When I tell people what I majored in, they ask “So what can you do with a Degree in First Nations Studies”, “What is a Degree in First Nations Studies?” or “What do you plan on doing after University?”

Starting University I had no idea what I wanted to do. During University I gain somewhat of an idea. But I would have to say that it was an accumulation of my life and educational experiences in the end that helped to discover my true calling and absolute passion in life. To Facilitate and Advocate for First Nations Education, Cultural Awareness and Sensitivity training.  

I would like to work with, assist and encourage all parties within the Education system, right from daycares, pre-school, elementary and secondary to be more culturally sensitive in regards to First Nations people. It is important for people to recognize how cultural backgrounds affect individual perceptions and actions; and how cultural awareness can improve the relationship between people from differing cultural backgrounds.

{October 31, 2011}   Aboriginal Cultural Awareness

Today, there are many of us who come from different places in the world.  And when individuals from differing cultural backgrounds interact, there is often miscommunication, misunderstanding, and frustration. 

Growing up, I’d find myself looking at my reflection I saw brown hair, brown eyes, and brown skin. I looked no different than all the others around me. There was never any question of whom or what I was, I was Native. In fact I was an Anishnabe-kwe of the Ojibway tribe, and I belonged to the Beaver clan.

There was not a time in my childhood that I can remember, where my identity, cultural background, or family history was ever questioned.  Just like any other child who grew up or have lived in Canada most of their lives, I grew up going swimming and camping almost every summer. In the winter I made snowmen, had snowball fights and even went sleigh riding.

Growing up, I was never taught to hold ill thoughts or feelings towards others that were not Native. I was taught to be respectful towards all living things, no matter how different.  Racism, prejudice was never a topic of discussion in my household.  None told me that people would call me a drunk just because I was Native, or that non-Native men would try and force themselves on me because I was a Native women and they hear we Native women were easy.

Well, now that I am an adult I have to tell you that there isn’t one comment that I haven’t heard a 101 times before. “Wow, your Native, you don’t have to pay Taxes do you?” “I hear that Native people have the largest incarceration rate inCanada?” “Why are Native people drunks?” The list of questions could go on.

So here, now I stand, looking back on my life and it not being anything like that of which society has been told about or has been made to perceive about Native people to be like. I know and understand who I am and where I come from.  I am Native, in fact I’m an Anishnabe-kwe of the Ojibway tribe, and I belonged to the Beaver clan.

I figure, I have one of two choices: one I can break down and accept my fate based on the perceptions of non-Native people. That I’ll never amount to anything, that all I’ll remain as a Native person is an uneducated, drunken Native person who’s just lazy and wants a free ride from the Canadian Government.  

But, I choose the lather; I’m going to Stands with Pride, with every ounce of strength and all the pride I have as a Native person to change these ignorant and uneducated perceptions of Native people.

I believe these obstacles can be overcome by assisting and encouraging all parties to be more culturally sensitive. It is important for people to recognize how cultural backgrounds affect individual perceptions and actions; and how cultural awareness can improve the relationship between people from differing cultural backgrounds.



Amidst the Big City, an Aboriginal Public School?

Vancouver’s school board sees potential in a school designed from curriculum up to appeal to urban First Nations youth. Fourth in a series. http://thetyee.ca/News/2011/09/14/Vancouver-Aboriginal-School-Proposal/

In today’s day and age, our world and the society we live in is growing extremely fast, the vast diversity of people should be taught and educated about the positive contributions of Native in Canada.

Throughout my many years of climbing the educational ladder, I’ve discovered and learned that most individuals in the main-stream education system either learn very little or stopped learning about Native people after the fur trade. So does that mean according to Social Studies classes that Native people seem to have dropped off the face of the earth?

Everyone, everywhere can benefit from learning about Native/Aboriginal cultural, history and knowledge.

Staff, parents fear impact of school funding cutbacks http://www.westender.com/articles/entry/staff-parents-fear-impact-of-school-funding-cutbacks/

Many people, parents a like struggle with all of the same issues when it comes to poverty.  The struggle to provide our children with a safe and healthy quality of life. The stress of paying the bills, not having enough money to pay the bills, can have a huge effect on the family.

These issues should no longer be held in the shadows of our communities or society, they should not be frowned upon, or be taboo.  I am willing to have the strength and courage to share my own personal experiences, that I’ve over come and changed in hopes that it encourages other individuals whom may be suffering the same fate to speak up. To help them find their voice.

et cetera