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On March 29 & 30, Education Directors and NEO’s attended a workshop in Halifax on Adult Education. The purpose of the workshop was to begin to work together to build capacity in adult learning and education. It was an opportunity for stakeholders to identify the challenges, barriers, gaps, successes and trends. They also wanted to get a snapshot of where adult learners are and what is available across the province.

 

The workshop was facilitated by Nancy Macleod and all communities were invited but some were unable to come due to the weather.

 

Participants discussed what was going on in their own communities. They discussed what the needs are of their students (issues such as bussing, life skills), along with their partnerships (some communities have partnerships with mets, economic development, NSCC etc).

 

Through these discussions it was noted that “funding patchwork” is happening in communities but it's not to the scope of what needs to be done. There are requirements for more room and more options many communities.

 

There is very little budget or support for the needs of all communities. There was discussion around the fact that many students are coming in struggling with life issues and those have to be dealt with before they can begin to focus on school.

 

One of the key issues that they focussed on was that there needs to be greater coordination at the community level between METS, NEO, and education in order to find funding. It is often the case that mature students usually have the most success but they are usually last to receive the funding that is allotted for post secondary.

 

 

One of the issues many communities have is with testing and student placement. All participants in the workshop were notified about some free assessments which will be offered across the province in April through literacy Nova Scotia. These assessments, called CARA, help to determine what levels students are at. Interested participants should contact their Education Director for more information. 

 

 

On Day 2, there were several presentations from different provincial organizations such as Literacy Nova Scotia, Labour and Advanced Education, LAMPSS, (labour market program support system) apprenticeship NS. They shared the many resources and programs that are available throughout  the province.

 

On Thursday March 30, 2017, the Master Apprenticeship Program participants from across the province met in Truro to share their experiences. 

 

The Master Apprenticeship Program was an opportunity for a language apprentice (learner) to be paired with a language master for 100 hours in order to learn the Mi’kmaw Language in a one on one setting. 

 

During their meeting the participants shared their goal coming into the project, where their learning happened and what they focussed on during their learning. Everyone had different stories and techniques that they used. They shared their successes and struggles.

 

"To do this program you really have to be comfortable with the person you're working with,” explained Jasmine Mas’l. “You have to throw your pride away and not be afraid to be wrong.”

 

They discussed how they felt about being corrected. Some felt that the tone of the person correcting them really mattered. If someone is sarcastic about it, it didn't work. Others felt that because humour is such a big part of the Mi’kmaq culture, it was also helpful during the learning experience. They shared a caution with this though saying that some people have shame over losing that part of their culture so having someone laughing at them for their mistakes when speaking might make things worse.

Almost all of the feedback from participants was very positive and insightful;

 

“This program made me really aware how I struggle to use the language. I often choose to use English even though I think in Mi'kmaw. Sometimes there aren't words for things and I had to substitute actions for words.”

 

“I needed more time. It was a lot to fit in in 2 months. I want it to continue.”

 

“Making mistakes are part of learning. I know that being corrected is a part of trying.”

 

As far as the program continuing, funding has been applied for. Notification of approval will happen some time this spring. This time there are hopes to include up to 15 groups for 400 hours and it will start in August and end in March.

 

“Regardless of what route people chose to take in their learning, everyone was so dedicated,” said Blaire Gould, Mi’kmaw Language Consultant. “I feel like the program was so successful.”

 

Educators, parents, elders, youth, Chiefs and other community representatives gathered at the Best Western Plus in Dartmouth from March 8 -10th, 2017, for the annual Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Symposium.

The theme of this year’s planning session was ‘Empowering Youth Leaders’

 

The keynote speaker was Bridget Stevens, business owner and boxing trainer originally from Eskasoni, Nova Scotia.

Stevens shared stories about her struggles in her early life and the obstacles she has overcome. She spoke of the importance of her family, particularly her grandfather and husband, for being her inspiration. 

Each community then had the opportunity to share their success stories with the group. Most of the communities shared what they have been doing to empower the youth. There are many wonderful and exciting things happening in every school and community! 

Day two began with a presentation from Geordy Marshall and the Red Road youth. He shared two videos that showed what the youth have been learning over the past year. The youth also had an opportunity to introduce themselves and share a little about themselves.  

Up next was a presentation from the iTunes U team who shared their work and how technology can be used to engage the youth. 

Rebecca Scirocco followed this presentation with a quick update on the literacy programming that is taking place across the province. 

Blaire Gould was up next with a presentation on the L’nuimk Assessment and the importance of using this type of holistic assessment to gain a full picture of our young learners. 

Rounding out the morning was Kevin Burton who provided an update from the First Nation Help Desk. 

In the afternoon,Brendan Smithson spoke about the importance of youth sport and gave an update on Team Nova Scotia NAIG 2017. 

This was followed by Allan Mackenzie who explained some different Google Apps for Education. 

To end the day, Newell Johnson and Geordy Marshall shared a video that was prepared by Janean Marshall. The video showed Eskasoni high school students explaining the artwork they created for a project that Janean directed.  It was entitled Fire-Keepers: igniting the flame.  Communities spent the rest of the afternoon developing strategic and operational plans for the upcoming school year, drawing from best practices shared over the past two days.

Later that evening, we held our banquet which was followed by a beading workshop hosted by Mariah Battiste, a painting workshop with Rebecca Scirocco and music with Brandon Johnson.

The third and final day of the Symposium kicked off with a presentation by Newell Johnson and Liz Cremo who shared all of the exciting things they are working on with the youth in Eskasoni. This was followed by a presentation on Treaty Education from Jaime Battiste. The day concluded with some sharing and reflection on how to make the symposium even better next year. 

 

Thank you all for coming together to make yet another Symposium a wonderful learning and sharing experience, and helping us make Mi’kmaw education in Nova Scotia a continued success!

 

On Saturday November 5, 2016, the inaugural Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Sport Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was held at the Hampton Inn in Millbrook NS.

 

The event was held as part of the Annual Sports Awards Banquet, where male and female athlete and coach of the year are recognized for their efforts and achievements.

 

This year the induction included eight members - four athletes and four builders. 

 

This year’s inductees and award winners are as follows:

Builders:

Russell Marshall

Wallace Bernard

Joe B Marshall

Peter Julian

 

Athletes:

Sara-Lynn Knockwood

Seymour Doucette

Jim Maloney

Hank Peters

 

Male Athlete of the year

Leon Denny Jr.

 

Female Athlete of the year

Selena Denny

 

Male Coach of the year

Levi Denny Sr.

 

Female Coach of the year

Angie Gillis

 

 

 

The Role Model ceremony, which honours elders for their hard work and dedication to their community, has been taking place for many years at Allison Bernard Memorial

High School(ABMHS). Each year, the students get together and decide who they would like to honour. This year, they chose Helen Sylliboy. 

 

 

Helen is the daughter of Tana’s and Theresa Sylliboy and the mother of Duma, Crystal, Clifford and Logan. For the ceremony, PR George made a video and wrote a beautiful biography. Helen was overwhelmed with tears of joy for being recognized for all her work in the community of Eskasoni. 

 

Helen holds a very impressive educational resume, including a Counsellor Diploma from the University of Toronto, a Diploma in Adult Education from StFX, a Bachelor of Education Degree from UNB, and a Certificate in Immersion Teaching from St Thomas University. 

 

Helen’s career involved working for organizations such as Indian Affairs and the Eskasoni School Board as a counsellor. She also helped create the ladies club, the Native Women’s Association and the Young Christian Student Club. Helen began to work as a Language Technician and Program Developer for the Eskasoni School Board in 1999. Helen has been involved in many translation projects such as the Hieroglyphic book, Mi’kmaq creation stories to published books, the Good News readings in Mi’kmaq (which had 150 readings and took six years to finish), and she has been hired by publishers and government to translate numerous articles and projects. Currently Helen is working on translating the bible.

 

Helen’s advice to students is to never stop learning and pray every day. Take pride in who you are, a Mi’kmaq, and work hard to fulfill your dreams.

 

 

Congratulations Helen!

 

Close to 80 students from across Nova Scotia attended the fourth annual Aboriginal Youth Trades fair in Halifax from November 6th - 8th.

   The activities began on Sunday evening with a banquet where students had the opportunity to sit with trades people and ask questions about their trade. They also heard from Austin Christmas, a business owner from Membertou who is a strong advocate for the Apprenticeship Program and the trades.  

   On day two, students were separated into two groups. One group attended sessions with Skills Canada while the other group went to the Trades Hall. The following day, they switched locations so that all students who attended the fair had the opportunity to explore the trades and participate in the hands-on sessions requiring problem solving and teamwork.

   During the evenings, students were entertained by going to the movies, shopping and doing cultural activities such as ornament making, basket making, and story telling.

   “We’ve had another successful year with a great group of kid at our Trades Fair” said Ann Sylliboy, Post Secondary Consultant. “I am looking forward to the next one!”

 

 

 

Inspired by the stories in the Living Treaties book, the idea of having a gathering to bring together Gaelic and Mi’kmaw Communities to begin the process of reconciliation was born. On October 25, 2016, a symposium was held in Wagmatcook which highlighted the similarities to the shared stories of the Gaelic-speaking settlers and the Mi’kmaq.  

The symposium allowed participants to hear the shared stories of being displaced by military might, by the loss of lands and tradition, by starvation, by economic and political and cultural hegemony—in effect, cultural genocide—people resigned themselves to new realities and, in the process, nearly lost their language in order to survive.

 

The loss of land, language and life by the Mi’kmaq continues to be both misunderstood and ignored by the dominant society, yet with great effort, the language is being spoken by a new generation. The loss of land and language by Highland Gaels is well documented, both in Scotland and throughout the Scots diaspora, and great strides have been taken to recover the language, as well, and to make it relevant to a new generation of learners. 

 

“The process of reconciliation is going to be a long journey; However when we have events where people from different backgrounds and culture can come to gather in the spirit of peace and friendship, we are on the right path,” said Jaime Battiste, Treaty Education Coordinator. “It was great to see the sharing of culture, learning about how both the Mi’kmaw and Gaels have struggled with displacement and language loss, and how they are trying to revitalize it. “

 

Attendees of the symposium spent the day sharing their experiences. Speakers shared their knowledge on topics such as language revitalization and the importance of the land. There was also opportunity for reflection on the past and a look ahead to a bright future. Music, dancing and the sharing of a meal made for an excellent day. 

 

 

 

In mid October, Adeva and Aveda Googoo, 8 year old girls who attend ESK in Eskasoni, had the opportunity to visit a school in England while their family was on vacation there. During the planning stages of their vacation, the girls were curious about what schools were like in England. Arrangements were made in advance of the trip to visit Hampton Hill Primary School. 

 

When they arrived at the school, the girls were able to join the other children for break time in the playground followed by the school assembly, which is a daily normal event in their school where all classes get together for notices and celebrations.

 

The girls father, Craig Paul helped with the presentation with the girls. Sharon Paul, the girls' kiju, obtained 27 hand made little dream catchers which the girls gave to each of the class members. The children loved them and Craig explained what they should do with them and how they dispel nightmares. Craig also talked about hunting and fishing and history of the Mi'kmaw people and about the arrival of the white people and how it impacted the Mi'kmaq. 

 

At the end he asked the class for questions and the children were full of them. The first one was "Do you have cars?" They also asked if Craig and the girls lived in a teepee, how deep the snow is in Canada, how many eels Craig would catch when he went eel fishing and what the girls wear to school.  

 

After the presentation to the class called Year 5 which has 9-10 year olds, the family met with the school principal who asked if the ESK immersion class or school could keep up contact with his school through pictures and/or letters.

 

 

As they were leaving the school, one little girl practiced the first Mi'kmaw word she had ever heard saying “namultes"!

 

On October 7, 2016, students, community members, leaders and Mi’kmaw language advocates gathered at Essissoqnikewey Siawa’sik-l’nuey Kina’matinewo’kuo’m (ESK) in Eskasoni to celebrate the Grand Opening of their Immersion School. ESK is the realization of a distant dream of what Mi'kmaq education could look like when Eskasoni took local control of their education in 1980. Determination and foresight led their

former director the late Marian Paul and a handful of educators to start up the immersion program in the elementary school sixteen years ago. Since then, the immersion program has expanded, succeeded and grown into this historic standalone school.

 

“I am filled with pride at what the Eskasoni School Board has created today. Every time I enter this building, I feel the sense of home, comfort and ease that come from being surrounded by the language,” expressed Elizabeth Cremo, Eskasoni Education Director. “I think the immersion school is a living breathing tribute to honour our people who attended the residential school; a place where our language and culture are treasured and passed on to the next generation with pride. “ Attendees of the grand opening were delighted to be given a guided tour of the building by students who showed great pride in their school. This was followed by performances by the school drum group and dancers. They also heard from several speakers who spoke about the importance of having a school where students have the opportunity to hear Mi’kmaw being spoken all day.

 

Students have been attending school in the old TEC building since last fall. The school accommodates over 120 students from K4 - Grade 4. They have a small gym, music classes, a kitchen, and complete immersion in all subjects.

 

 

Congratulations Eskasoni!!

What is your name, age, school, and what community are you from?

My name is Jane Riley Basque I am eighteen years old and I was born and raised in Potlotek.

 

 

What’s your favorite subject in school?

Law 12! This class was my favorite because I like to be informed and aware of my rights. I believe this is important because we need to know how to protect and practice our treaty rights. I enjoyed discussing and debating controversial issues. I have also always been fascinated with criminal justice issues and could see myself furthering my education in this area.

 

 

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why?

I would like to visit Texas or Tennessee. I grew up on country music and would love the opportunity to go to see some local and lesser known bands and artists. 

 

 

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Pretty much anything outdoors; I really enjoy being surrounded by nature. I like to fish, hunt, and I especially enjoy photography. I also like to spend time with my sister. She is a big part of why I have made it this far; I try to set a good example for her and show her education is key. 

 

 

Do you have a role model? If so, who? And why?

My role models are my parents and my teachers. They believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. They encouraged me through some of my hardest days to keep trying. 

 

What is your best memory from your high school years? 

Some of my best memories from my high school years were spent outside at the basketball court with my best friend Matt. Everyone makes me laugh at my school. We’re like a family because we spend so much time together and we always try to make the best of it . 

 

What is the best thing about your school?

The best thing about my school is the staff. They are always there for you. If you go to school having a bad day they don’t try and make it worse. They let you be and let you know that they are always there for you. The teachers always encourage us to do the best we can. They let us come in early for extra help if we need (which has definitely helped me bring my marks up). We recently got a brand new building! For the last 5 years we have been in the Education Office and Mi’kmawey School. We shared the buildings and always made it work. We’re very appreciative of our new building; it’s a thirty second walk to our sweat lodge and our trail in the woods. Elders and community members have come in to teach us about our culture, history, and traditions throughout these years. We had pipe/naming ceremonies, drum and basket making workshops, eeling and fishing trips, and canoeing/kayaking to the Island. We take time to learn about our culture, history and take part in community events (like the new Canal design meeting). My favourite thing about my school is our relationships with each other.  

 

Who has made an impact on you?

My parents had a huge impact on me. They always encouraged me to stay in school and work hard for my education because nobody else is going to do it for you. You’re responsible for the life you live. 

 

Is there something you'd like to see in your school or community that isn't there now?

If anything, I would like to see more funding for sports and activities for the youth to help people be more physically active. I would also like to see more places for teens and kids to hang out and socialize. I think a gym would be an amazing thing to have here in Potlotek.

 

Words of advice, a personal favorite quote, or a thank-you?

 

 “It's the oldest story in the world. One day you're 17 and planning for someday...and then, quietly, and without you ever really noticing...someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” - Nathan Scott

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