I come from Metis heritage out of Thompson, Manitoba, though I grew up in West Kootenays. I started to be interested in how Aboriginal issues are discussed at the post-secondary level when I started sharing my classroom experiences with fellow Aboriginal students. The discussions I had were a very useful way for me to process my own experiences with these issues; as well, they identified a need for there to be a better way for instructors and students to engage with Aboriginal issues in a way that would produce more productive and professional discussions in the classroom.
During my undergraduate degree I had the opportunity to work as a peer advisor and program assistant in First Nations Student Services, now Aboriginal Student Affairs. This experience gave me a better understanding of how the university engages with Aboriginal students and the services that are provided to help recruit and retain these students. I think that it was this experience that led me to think of the classroom as one of the spaces that potentially affects students and their ability to function at the university. I hope this project will be the beginning of discussions about how to improve students post-secondary experiences.
I come from Sto:lo heritage from the Pilalt territory. I approached this project as a student of Aboriginal heritage, having had many conversations with my peers about alienating classroom experiences and how to address them; in fact, this project developed out of one of these conversations. Our discussions also showed us how powerful students’ experiences were when told in their own voices, and in order to most effectively communicate the impact of their stories, we designed the project to interview participants using digital video.
My background is in film and video studies and First Nations studies, and over the past several years I’ve become interested in the potential of media and new technologies for moving forward the discussion of Aboriginal issues. We developed the project with this in mind, using new technologies and web-based tools to develop key components of the project with the goal of engaging a broad public in a dialogue on having more effective classroom discussions of Aboriginal issues. I hope that you will find these materials useful, and look forward to to thoughts and feedback.