Niitsitapiisinni: Real Peoples' Way of Life

Niitsitapiisinni: Real Peoples' Way of Life is a program option within the Master of Education (MEd), Interdisciplinary route. Visit the MEd, Interdisciplinary Route page for complete MEd details including fees

Niitsitapiisinni: Real Peoples' Way of Life is a topic area (4-courses, 12 units) offered as part of the Interdisciplinary Master of Education (MEd) program. Centered in Niitsitapii ways of knowing, being, and doing in relation to aistomatoominniki (coming to know your heart, Blackfoot epistemology; Bastien, 2004), these courses involve in-depth exploration of Niitsi'tapiipohsinni (Blackfoot language), kiipatahpiisinoon (our way of life), and aakahtapiiyiitsiniksiin (old stories) through Niitistapii art and storytelling. This four-course topic area is designed for educators, school leaders, health care professionals, service providers and other community members who are currently working with or planning to work with Indigenous communities. 

This offering is a direct response to identified community needs among the local Siksikaitsitapi (Blackfoot/Blackfeet) communities. This offering presents an important step in both language and cultural revitalization and preservation among the Siksikaitsitapi, which is critical given that the Blackfoot language is currently threatened. Further, this topic area addresses the recommendations of The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP; 1995) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC; 2015). Of note, the four courses in this topic address several of the TRC calls to action, with an emphasis on those falling under Education, and Language and Culture. Importantly, the courses within this topic area further respond to Alberta Education’s (2016) forthcoming Teaching and Leadership Quality Standards. Specifically, these courses address foundational knowledge in First Nations ways of knowing, being, and doing, that will build competence in areas including: treaties and agreements, residential schools and their legacy, engaging in community-based approaches to First Nations education, using and creating resources that highlight the strengths and diversity of Indigenous people and communities, and in-depth education and engagement with First Nations worldviews, cultural beliefs, languages and values, such that teachers and leaders will develop confidence in their abilities to work with Elders, knowledge holders, community members, cultural advisors, and families to incorporate culturally relevant, community-based curricula and pedagogies as appropriate. This program reflects a working collaboration between the University of Calgary, Red Crow Community College, and Blackfeet Community College. This topic is unique in its focus on Niitsitapii knowledges across the Canada-United States border, drawing upon strengths across tribes within the Blackfoot Confederacy, which was divided with the creation of the current colonial nation-states.

The place-based learning experiences in this MED Interdisciplinary topic are scheduled to take place face-to-face off-campus at Red Crow College, in Standoff, Alberta and also at Blackfeet Community College, in Browning, Montana, USA. Students who are registered in this MED Interdisciplinary topic will require appropriate travel documentation (a valid passport) and the ability to cross the border into the United States of America to take part in coursework.

Program Schedule

Term 1 - Summer

EDER 669.24
Class #50811         
Niitsitapii: Blackfoot Language I
Off-campus

Term 2 - Fall

EDER 659.01
Class #75939
Kiipatahpiisinoon: Niitsitapi History & Politics
Off-campus

 

Fall into Winter

EDER 669.25B
Class #23067
Niitsi'tapiipohsinni: Blackfoot Language II
Off-campus

Term 3 - Winter

EDER 655.02
Class #23068
Aakahtapiiyiitsiniksiin: Niitsitapi Art and Storytelling
Off-campus

Course Descriptions

Outlines are normally available 1-2 weeks prior to the start of term in D2L.


Course Delivery

Courses will take place in summer, fall, and winter semesters.

The Summer course in this topic will take place face-to-face off-campus at Red Crow College, in Standoff, Alberta. Learning experiences will take place both outside on the land and in classroom space in Standoff, Alberta.

Fall and Winter courses will take place face-to-face off-campus at Red Crow College, in Standoff, Alberta. Learning experiences will take place on selected Fridays and Saturdays throughout the Fall and Winter terms both outside on the land and in classroom space. 


3 units per course

EDER 669.24 Niitsi'tapiipohsinni: Blackfoot Language I

A general introduction to Niitsitapi grammar and vocabulary, with a focus on both oral and written language acquisition. Importantly, course assignments will focus on applied student projects that aim to contribute directly and immediately to language revitalization and preservation among the Siksikaitsitapi through creative and innovative methods, including new media. The course will be delivered using traditional Niitsitapii pedagogical practices of experiential learning, oral knowledge sharing, and cultural mentorship, in addition to conventional language instruction.

EDER 659.01 Kiipatahpiisinoon: Niitsitapi History and Politics

This course will focus on kiipatahpiisinoon (our ways of life) through understanding history, politics, and traditional governance systems among the Siksikaitsitapi. Students will learn through creation stories, Napi stories, how the Niitsitapii got their bundles and their helpers, Niitsitapii heros and historical figures, and will span from the creation days to litotasimahpi limitaiks (the dog days), to Ao'ta'sao'si Ponokaomita (the era of the horse), to Ao'maopao'si (from when we settled in one place) to today.

EDER 655.02 Aakahtapiiyiitsiniksiin: Niitsitapi Art and Storytelling

This course will focus on aakahtapiiyiitsiniksiin (old stories) through Niitistapii art and storytelling. Students will learn about traditional forms of art, including petroglyphs, painted lodges, winter counts, war counts, ceremonial clothing and regalia, and designs such as beadwork and quillwork through to contemporary art. Students will learn how art and stories convey and promote Niitsitapi value systems, ontological responsibilities, and understanding themselves in-relation to ohtsitappspii (the purpose of their Niitsitapii existence) through the generations.

EDER 669.25 A/B Niitsi'tapiipohsinni: Blackfoot Language II

Students will continue to advance their learning in Niitsitapi grammar and vocabulary. Niitsitapi language concepts will be connected with and reinforced by land-based and cultural activities. Importantly, course assignments will focus on applied student projects that aim to contribute directly and immediately to language revitalization and preservation among the Siksikaitsitapi through creative and innovative methods, including new media.


Contact Us

Have Questions

Have Questions?

Lisa Llewellyn Graduate Program Administrator (GPA) 403.220.4394, lisa.llewellyn@ucalgary.ca

Sandra Manyfeathers

Academic Program Coordinator

Sandra Manyfeathers Instructor, Academic Coordinator Blackfoot Language, Culture and Education scrazybu@ucalgary.ca

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