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University of Saskatchewan – Indigenous studies class develops oral history inventory for descendants of Big Bear – Education News Canada

by ahnationtalk on April 10, 201992 Views

April 10, 2019

During the last semester, seven students were enrolled in a class taught by Dr. Winona Wheeler (PhD), a professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies in the College of Arts and Science. The course INDG 351.3: Indigenous Oral Histories Research explored the forms, qualities, diversities and cultural foundations of Indigenous oral narratives and addressed the practical aspects of gathering, recording, interpreting and utilizing them.

For the community service learning component of the class, students worked on a project with the Big Bear Cultural Society (BBCS), a non-profit group comprised of descendants of the original Big Bear band. On April 4, the students presented their findings to BBCS members.

As part of their coursework, the students searched for oral history transcripts and various archival materials related to Big Bear. Although they didn’t have previous archival research experience, the students were able to develop an oral history inventory sheet for BBCS that outlined more than 100 sources, including online links.

“It feels good doing real-life work that’s going to go to a good cause and also to a community,” said Michelle Zinck, an Indigenous studies student who learned a lot about Big Bear in the process.

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