Although treaties in Nova Scotia have a fairly lengthy history, Treaty Education is relatively new. On October 1st 2015, an MOU was signed with the province and a promise was made that Treaty Education would be taught in all schools, in all classrooms across the province. Since that time, many different events have taken place and the Mi’kmaq and provincial government officials have been working together to develop Treaty Education programs and services for schools, the civil service, and broader public.
The Speakers Bureau is a new initiative which has brought together a diverse group of about twenty-five Mi’kmaq knowledge holders who will deliver the Treaty Education message of hope and reconciliation to the public.
A training session was held on March 1 and 2, 2018, in the community of Millbrook, where educators such as Tuma Young, Jane McMillan, John R Sylliboy, Sherry Pictou and Patti Doyle-Bedwell shared their insight and knowledge of Treaty history with the group.
They learned about some of the history of the treaties, the legal battles, the treaty denial period, and the reconciliation process of today. Group members had the opportunity to share their stories about their diverse backgrounds, family history and knowledge, and what made them interested in taking part in the speakers bureau.
At the end of the first day, there was a gathering in the evening where the group was treated to supper which was catered by Chef Ray Bear, followed by some entertainment provided by different members of the group who were excited to share their talents.
There are plans to have a follow-up session in late spring or early summer. Planning and development of resources and materials for that session are currently underway. Part of the planning is going to involve development of a general presentation that the speakers can use to share the Treaty Education message. Because our group is so talented and diverse, members of the Speakers Bureau will also have an opportunity to add their personal touch to the presentation.
After training is complete, contact information for the Speakers Bureau will be made available on the Treaty Education and Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey websites.