Aboriginal Education Resources

DRS Friesen

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Publications 2005-2007

DRSfriesen
Canadian Aboriginal Art and Spirituality: A Vital Link
John W Friesen and Virginia Lyons Friesen (2006) Detselig Enterprises

During the late nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century, Aboriginal art, like virtually every other component of the First Nations’ lifestyle, received short shrift in Canadian historical literature. Aboriginal philosophy was mislabeled, Native culture was misunderstood, and Indigenous art was misinterpreted and called craft. Even the spiritual bases of Aboriginal art were discounted or ignored...

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Today the scene is changing, thanks to the availability of more thoroughly researched accounts provided by anthropologists, artists, archeologists, educators, and historians, but most of all, due to the efforts of Indigenous researchers. Their historians, poets, artists, and elders have worked hard to set the record straight by describing historical events and cultural practices from their perspective. They have been tireless in their efforts, which are slowly bearing fruit. Aboriginal art is finally being regarded as art in its own right in the best sense of the word.

The book presents a literary and visual journey, reflecting on Indigenous lifestyles and artwork of the seven major culture areas of Canada: Maritime, Eastern Woodland, Plains, Plateau, Northwest Coast, Northern, and Métis. Most of the cited Aboriginal artists are internationally known, and their careers represent a wide variety of artistic undertakings including architecture, carving, ceramics, drama, film, graphic arts, jewellery-design, mask-making, media, painting, photography, print-making, and sculpture.

Canadian Aboriginal Art and Spirituality: A Vital Link, explores history, symbolism, current and historic influences, and the multi-faceted meaning of Aboriginal artistic expression in various Indigenous cultures. From the totem poles of the Northwest First Nations and the flamboyant Red River Jig of the Métis, to the intricate basketry of Maritime tribes and unique architectural design employed by the Inuit, the authors offer a holistic overview of Canadian Aboriginal Art.

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The Friesens' literary journey is actually an educational opportunity of a lifetime, and for educators, students, libraries and others who count on well-documented facts to guarantee accurate results, one that shouldn't be missed. Just as they have in all eight of the titles they've co-written since 2001, John and Virginia Friesen have used thorough research techniques that ensure historical accuracy...It is an outstanding piece of craftsmanship that proves there's nothing more powerful than the written word...

--John Copley, Alberta Native News, February 2006

...as Calgary writer, Education professor and minister John W. Friesen argues, Native spirituality and Biblical theology actually have a lot in common... Friesen should know -- an ordained minister in the All Tribes Presbytery of the All Native Circle Conference, the United Church of Canada, he found himself an active participant in Native ceremonies like the sweatlodge and sweetgrass. Participating in their ceremonies always did something to me spiritually. I went in with an open mind and I was always blessed, he says.

--Paula E. Kirman,Prairie Books Now, Summer 2001

Chapter three is the real meat of the book--this is where the authors delve into Aboriginal spirituality and its relationship to art. ...Aboriginal spirituality does not target an activity or cause, it is not a significant component of life; in a very real sense, it constitutes life itself. ...the chapter on Aboriginal spirituality is a must read. ...Well-organized and fact-filled...a great reference book.

-- Native Journal, May 2006

DRSfriesen
First Nations in the Twenty-First Century: Contemporary Educational Frontiers
John W Friesen and Virginia Lyons Friesen (2005) Detselig Enterprises

As the twenty-first century gets underway, happenings in Aboriginal communities are increasingly gaining the attention of Canadians. Some headway has been made in several significant areas such as constitutional status, treat-negotiation, economic development, land claims, residential school litigation, and health and welfare. The number of Aboriginal youth graduating from high school has increased, and a greater number of Aboriginal youth are enrolled in post-secondary institutions...

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Despite these gains, however, there are a number of related frontiers to conquer if Canada’s First Nations are to gain equality with other Canadians. Six of these frontiers are outlined in this book and constitute vital topics of concern. First, is the frontier of Spirituality and the challenge is for Canadian educators to realize that Aboriginals perceive spirituality as the foundation for all learning. Another frontier is that of Eldership and the role for respected elders to play in the milieu in which their children are being educated. Language is another important frontier and the concern that without access to original languages, the essence of their cultural life will be lost.

A fourth frontier is that of Self-identity, which leads into a fifth frontier, that of Curriculum. The challenge is to develop pertinent curriculum, which avoids erroneous or denigrating accounts of Alberta cultural heritage. The final frontier pertains to the Quality of teacher training, and the authors raise the question, Are teachers who find employment in Native communities properly prepared for the unique challenges they will face?

Undoubtedly, these frontiers will be conquered over time as the Indigenous people of Canada continue to show their ability to survive against the odds.

review

The first half of First Nations in the Twenty-First Century explores the historical background, examining how the early Europeans forced their "education" on the indigenous people of North America, suppressing traditional practices. The second half focuses on how First Nations people can take back control of their education, dealing with each of the six frontiers separately, but noting always that each one is integral to the rest. The critical message in First Nations is that achieving educational equity for Aboriginal people with the rest of Canadian citizens shouldn't mean sacrificing traditional beliefs and practices.

--Perry Grosshans, Prairie Books Now, Spring 2006

If you've ever read a John Friesen/Virginia Lyons Friesen book, you'll know that you're going to get your money's worth, so get ready to go out and buy a copy of their latest manuscript masterpiece, First Nations in the Twenty-First Century. ...I guarantee that this 2005 Detselig Enterprises publication will entice you, educate you, enlighten you and instill upon you a sense of reality that no TV show can offer. It would take 30,000 words to decipher all the lessons one can learn in the Friesen's latest offering, but that is another compelling reason to read the book. The Friesens' unique writing style doesn't lay blame, but it points out the errors; it doesn't claim to have all the solutions, but it does provide plenty of food for thought. Most importantly this new book release goes into detail, as to why it is so imperative to imporve the education system for Aboriginal Canadians and why it never worked properly to begin with. ...It's an outstanding read and its been written for a meaningful cause.

--John Copely, Alberta Native News, May, 2005

Overall the book achieves its purpose of synthesizing information essential to educators today who are concerned with being at least somewhat informed about perspectives of First Nations peoples and how these can be addressed in the classroom....this text is effective in suggesting avenues for further exploration for postsecondary educational programs and teachers who desire more in-depth knowledge about the needs of First Nations students.

-- Paul G. Letkemann, The Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology


DRSfriesen
Legends of the Elders Handbook for Teachers, Homeschoolers, and Parents
Virginia Lyons Friesen and John W Friesen (2005) Detselig Enterprises

Legends of the Elders Handbook for Teachers, Homeschoolers, and Parents is a teaching guide to accompany the original four books of the Legends series.

DRSfriesen

The stories in the series are brought to life through fun and educational lessons that have been designed specifically to promote active student participation for ease of learning. Lessons focus on particular areas of instruction such as Mathematics, Computer Research, Language Arts, and Physical education, as well as an important developmental abilities like Comprehension, Fine Motor Skills, Critical Thinking, and Cooperation.

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The Legends Series is intended to encourage students to gain understanding of Native American history, cultures, lifestyles, and heritage through the study of legends. This objective coincides with provincial and state curriculum requirements. The activities included in this handbook will provide students with a fun, hands-on, historical, and cultural experience.

The Handbook contains an activity and a suggested grade level for each legend from the four books in the series. These activities may be adapted to use with other legends, or at different grade levels.

Each Legend Activity includes an explanation of how to use the material provided and may include some or all of the following components:

1. Tribe/First Nation: identifies the tribe that is acknowledged as narrating a particular legend;

2. Curriculum Connection: addresses required subject matter such as physical education, art, and many others;

3. Grade Level: suggested grade level for the activity;

4. Objective: student goals or teacher objectives;

5. Background: points that need to be clarified to enhance understanding of the legend;

6. Focus Questions: for use at the beginning of the lesson to accentuate student interest, and:

7. Activity: enhances the study of each particular legend and makes learning fun.

review



Legends Books Series:

Each book, authored by southern Alberta writers, John and Virginia Friesen, retells many interesting stories form the Aboriginal community and in doing so offers readers a privileged look into the past, to a time when the stories of the Elders were accepted for what they really were, lessons about life.
...an ideal gift item for any child and every adult who loves to read...thought provoking tales and legends...Although the Friesens' books carry just about every type of legend, they don't cross the line when it comes to Indigenous spirituality.



Legends of the Elders Handbook for Teachers, Homeschoolers and Parents:

As educators, both understood the value that the stories could have for school-aged children and as a result they compiled an interesting and very helpful, Legends of the Elders Handbook for Teachers, Homeschoolers and Parents, a professionally designed 209 page book that provides teachers, caregivers and parents with a hands-on guide that offers procedures, objectives and activities and includes information on where to locate background material in the Legends books.

...a teacher-friendly instruction manual...Games, puzzles, various glossaries and a short introduction accompany nearly 200 pages of instructional text...which provides all the tools they'll need to deliver the interesting lessons that comprise the instruction book.


-- John Copley, Alberta Native News, April 2006


DRSfriesen
Even More Legends of the Elders
John W Friesen and Virginia Lyons Friesen (2005) Detselig Enterprises

Even More Legends of the Elders is the final volume of a collection of four Legends titles. This time, Drs. Friesen depict Native cultural legends in relation to historical events, as well as narratives that explain the natural world, thereby showing a unique point of view...

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Indigenous peoples are well known for being in touch with the natural world and their legends regarding how and why things are the way they are reflect this notion. Colored with the richness of Aboriginal culture Even More Legends of the Elders completes the Legends of the Elders series and honors the symbolism of four in Native culture.

review

Legends Books Series:

Each book, authored by southern Alberta writers, John and Virginia Friesen, retells many interesting stories form the Aboriginal community and in doing so offers readers a privileged look into the past, to a time when the stories of the Elders were accepted for what they really were, lessons about life.
...an ideal gift item for any child and every adult who loves to read...thought provoking tales and legends...Although the Friesens' books carry just about every type of legend, they don't cross the line when it comes to Indigenous spirituality.


--John Copley, Alberta Native News, April 2006

DRSfriesen
Still More Legends of the Elders
John W Friesen and Virginia Lyons Friesen (2005) Detselig Enterprises

Still More Legends of the Elders is the third in a four-volume collection of stories passed down through generations of North American First Nations. "More Legends" inspire young readers to develop said principles, while "Learning Legends" encourage them to seek understanding of the world around them. The "Trickster Legends" have the well-known mischievous character bringing a wide variety of life’s lessons to our attention through surprise and laughter.

info

The tales found within Still More Legends of the Elders offer insight and amusement, while providing readers with a rich tapestry of traditions woven from the very fabric of North American Indian culture.

review

Legends Books Series:

Each book, authored by southern Alberta writers, John and Virginia Friesen, retells many interesting stories form the Aboriginal community and in doing so offers readers a privileged look into the past, to a time when the stories of the Elders were accepted for what they really were, lessons about life.
...an ideal gift item for any child and every adult who loves to read...thought provoking tales and legends...Although the Friesens' books carry just about every type of legend, they don't cross the line when it comes to Indigenous spirituality.


-- John Copley, Alberta Native News, April 2006


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