October 17, 2022: Visit Four Directions Teachings to learn about Indigenous knowledges from five diverse First Nations through a stunning digital resource!

Four Directions Teachings is a visually stunning audio-narrated digital resource for learning about Indigenous knowledges from diverse First Nations in Canada. Inside their website, teachers and educators may select any combination of videos representing the traditions of the five First Nations – Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk and Mi’kmaq – and further explore their chosen focus with the help of the accompanying age-appropriate lesson plans. The goal of the project is to create an engaging website where people can experience Indigenous knowledges and philosophy and where educators can incorporate the site into their curriculum. Four Directions Teachings honours oral traditions by creating an environment where visitors are encouraged to listen with intent as each elder and traditional teacher shares a teaching from their perspective on the richness and value of cultural traditions from their nation. This week in the mentoring circle, we will visit Four Directions Teachings to learn what this beautiful digital resource offers.

Four Directions Teachings was made possible through the Canadian Culture Online Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage to honour the timelessness of Indigenous oral traditions. For this reason, audio narration by elders and traditional teachers is provided throughout the site complimented by beautifully animated visuals. Celebrate Indigenous oral traditions by listening with intent to elders and traditional teachers: Dr. Reg Crowshoe and Geoff Crow Eagle from the Black First Nation, Mary Lee from the Cree First Nation, Lillian Pitawanakwat from the Ojibwe First Nation, Tom Porter from the Mohawk First Nation and Stephen Augustine from the Mi’kmaq First Nation. Each of the elders and traditional teachers who have shared a teaching on the Four Directions Teachings site was approached through a National Advisory Committee of Indigenous people concerned with the protection and promotion of Indigenous knowledges. This committee was formed directly for the purposes of the Four Directions Teachings project to ensure a community-based approach that was respectful and accountable.

Four Directions Teachings is a vibrant and interactive online experience with an accompanying Teacher Resource Kit and a rich collection of supporting materials and activities. 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. This Teacher Resource Kit is an educator’s guide to optimizing learning applications based on the Four Directions Teachings website. These lesson plans have been developed for junior grades (1-6), intermediate grades (7-9), and senior grades (10-12). Educators of kindergarten children and adults will also find suitable exercises that can be used with relatively minimal modification. The kit was developed with the classroom teacher in mind, and without assuming any prior knowledge of Indigenous cultures or traditions on their part. It is assumed that the teacher will be resourceful and flexible in coordinating learning activities. The curriculum is provided in downloadable PDF that can also be read online through the Teacher Resource Kit link.

The Four Directions Teachings website is informed by a curriculum grounded in specific community realities and cultural sources to celebrate Indigenous oral traditions and honour Indigenous ways of being. Dr. Jennifer Wemigwans from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory on Manitoulin Island, Ontario is the producer of the Four Directions Teachings project. She is a new media producer, writer and scholar specializing in the convergence between education, Indigenous knowledges and new media technologies. Her research examines how Indigenous knowledge sites online contribute to the efforts and goals of Indigenous nation-building and therefore represent a new cultural form and social movement. During last year’s BC Campus Spring workshops, Dr. Wemigwans gave a keynote on her new book, A Digital Bundle: Protecting and promoting Indigenous knowledge online where she discussed the importance of the Four Directions Teachings website. Click on the image to watch the keynote.