Posted to the Ethnos Project by on January 27th, 2013

A few days ago, Jennifer Wemigwans with Invert Media sent me a message suggesting a resource for the Ethnos Project Resource Database: Four Directions Teachings. Thought I’d step it up a notch and dedicate a post to the site. Four Directions is a vibrant and interactive online experience with an accompanying teacher resource kit and a rich collection of supporting materials and activities.

Four Directions

About Four Directions Teachings

From the Four Directions website: “The goal for the project was to create an engaging site where people could experience Indigenous knowledge and philosophy and where educators could incorporate the site into their curriculum. honors oral traditions by creating an environment where visitors are encouraged to listen with intent as each elder/traditional teacher shares a teaching from their perspective on the richness and value of cultural traditions from their nation.

Four Directions Teachings celebrates Indigenous oral traditions by honoring the process of listening with intent as each elder or traditional teacher shares a teaching from their perspective on the richness and value of cultural traditions from their nation.

In honor of the timelessness of Indigenous oral traditions, audio narration is provided throughout the site, complimented by beautifully animated visuals. In addition, the site provides free curriculum packages for grades 1 to 12 to further explore the vast richness of knowledge and cultural philosophy that is introduced within each teaching. The curriculum is provided in downloadable PDF and can also be read online through the Teacher’s Resources link.

Each of the elders and traditional teachers who have shared a teaching on this site were approached through a National Advisory Committee of Indigenous people concerned with the protection and promotion of Indigenous knowledge. This committee was formed directly for the purposes of this website to ensure a community based approach that was respectful and accountable.”

The elders and traditional teachers represented on the site are:

Dr Reg Crowshoe and Geoff Crow Eagle, Blackfoot Teaching
Mary Lee, Cree Teaching
Lillian Pitawanakwat, Ojibwe Teaching
Tom Porter, Mohawk Teaching
Stephen Augustine, Mi’kmaq Teaching

On a personal note, I was very excited to see Tom Porter Sakokwenionkwas (a member of the Bear Clan of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne) involved with the project. I first met Tom Porter when I was involved with the Saratoga Native American Festival in 2006 and 2007 where he delivered the Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen (the traditional Haudenosaunee Opening or Thanksgiving Address). Tom is the spokesperson and spiritual leader of the Mohawk Community of Kanatsiohareke in the Mohawk Valley near Fonda, New York – an incredible man by any standard.

Full Circle Cultural Learning Framework

The Four Directions website is informed by a conceptual framework called the Full Circle Cultural Learning Framework. From the Full Circle document embedded below: “The Full Circle project is grounded in specific community realities and cultural sources. These sources are respected and acknowledged as the basis of the framework and applied to wider, contemporary and urban needs.

Aboriginal languages and cultures are threatened everywhere, especially in the city. The rapid pace of cultural loss is not being addressed fast enough to ensure survival of indigenous knowledge among urban aboriginal youth. This knowledge is badly needed today, but non-aboriginal society generally fails to see why aboriginal cultural revitalization matters, at best supporting aboriginal approaches superficially, and valuing success only as defined from non-aboriginal views. There is a need for models addressing how indigenous knowledge can be more fully and respectfully passed to urban youth, in ways that apply to their environment and help them contribute to the world around them.”

To see the document full-screen or print it, use the far right icon or click here.



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