Appendix G: Incorporating Diverse Sources of Indigenous Knowledge

Activity: Authentic Indigenous Resources

Type: Individual Activity

Look at the following resources and determine if they are authentic Indigenous resources. Why or why not? You will see that the answers can be quite complex, and many resources require thought and further investigation to ensure authenticity. You can do this activity with the actual resources selected from your university library. Ask a librarian to help set up a similar exercise, and then invite colleagues to join for a discussion of authentic resources.

Answers

The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative by Thomas King. CBC Massey Lectures. © 2003 Dead Dog Café Productions and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Yes, this is an authentic resource, because it has an Indigenous author, discusses themes that are important to Indigenous Peoples, and uses Indigenous storytelling features.

No, this is an authentic resource, because it has an Indigenous author, discusses themes that are important to Indigenous Peoples, and uses Indigenous storytelling features.

Dances with Wolves, an academy award winning film starring, produced and directed by Kevin Costner. © 1990 Majestic Films International.

No, this would not be considered an authentic resource, because it was not created by Indigenous filmmakers and reinforces stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples.

Yes, this is not considered an authentic resource, because it was not created by Indigenous filmmakers and reinforces stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples.

Explore the Animals: Northern Coast First Nations and Native Art Colouring and Learning Book. © 2010 Garfinkel Publications.

Perhaps. It is tricky to authenticate because no information about the author or illustrator(s) is provided, and these could be appropriated images. Further investigation is required to determine if the publishers had permission to use the images in this book.

Perhaps. It is impossible to tell, because no information about the author or illustrator(s) is provided, and these could be appropriated images. Further investigation is required to know whether the publishers had permission to use the images in this book.

Orca’s Song by Anne Cameron. Illustrated by Nelle Olsen. © 1987 Harbour Publishing. Includes dedication “When I was growing up on Vancouver Island I met a woman who was a storyteller. She shared many stories with me, and later, gave me permission to share with others.”

No. This is not an authentic resource as the author does not state that the original storyteller was involved in creating or editing the book in any way or if the original storyteller received any profits from the book. While partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors are acceptable, this does not appear as a true partnership or a relationship based on equality.

Yes. This is not an authentic Indigenous resource. The inner flap explains that permission was given to reproduce these stories, but there are too many questions to be sure that such permission was fully granted. For example, what Nation was the woman Klopinum from? Did she have the authority to give permission for the stories to be rewritten and shared in text form? The author does not state that the original storyteller was involved in creating or editing the book in any way or if the original storyteller received any profits from the book. While partnerships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors are acceptable, this does not appear as a true partnership or a relationship based on equality.

Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Perhaps. This is a tricky resource without a clear answer. Until recently, this book was widely considered to be an authentic resource. Then the author’s Indigenous ancestry was called into doubt, and now many people see it as an example of cultural appropriation in which the author pretended to be Indigenous to be seen as authentic. One’s view on whether this resource is authentic is connected to what it means to be an Indigenous person and who defines an individual’s Indigeneity.

 

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Appendix G: Incorporating Diverse Sources of Indigenous Knowledge by Asma-na-hi Antoine, Rachel Mason, Roberta Mason, Sophia Palahicky, and Carmen Rodriguez de France is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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