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A four-day welding camp, the first of it’s kind in Nova Scotia, was held at the Strait Area Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College in August. The

camp, which was part of a program offered by CWB Welding Foundation, blends learning the trades with traditional teachings.

 Twelve Mi’kmaw youth, ages 12-15 took part in the camp, which taught them how to weld several items, including an eel spear.

 “I liked learning how to weld,” said Maya Johnson, 12, of Potlotek. “It was kind of scary at first with all the sparks flying in your face but then it was cool watching the metal stick together.”

 The group spent their days at the NSCC campus in Port Hawkesbury learning the trade, and spent their evenings at a camp in Orangedale, taking part in traditional activities with different elders each night.

 “The cultural component to this and every camp we offer is so important,” explained Ann Sylliboy, Post Secondary coordinator with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey. “We believe that our youth need a strong sense of identity, to be proud to be L’nu, so we ensure that they spend time with elders every chance we get.”

 The camp was put on by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and was also funded in part by the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.

 “ The Mind over Metal camp was a huge success”, said Jude Gerrard, Chief Diversity Officer with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency. “”Participants were able to gain hands-on experience in the welding shop and see trades as a viable career. We are hoping this is something that can be replicated to expose youth to other skilled trades as well.”

 Because of the success of this camp, there are plans to offer it again next year

On March 28 and 29, Education Directors, Native Employment Officers, Mi'kmaq scholars and academics gathered to discuss the possibility of creating an L’nu post-secondary institute in our region.

 

The purpose of this first session was to gather some feedback and ideas on what communities want and need from an L'nu College.

We have many students who enter university but not all are finishing their degree. Our leadership want’s to know why this is the case and what we can do to to support our students and communities.

We have been successful in getting students interested in post secondary education when they are young. Activities like the trades fair, post secondary tours, job fairs, etc. have encouraged the youth to think about their future.

We have also developed initiatives to support our students who are enrolled in Post Secondary institutions such as tutoring and having support on campus but we are still seeing our students struggle. 

 

 

“We see the L’nu College as an opportunity to support our students as they transition from high-school and navigate the Post-Secondary system,” said Ann Sylliboy, Post Secondary consultant for Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey.  “It’s not just about transitioning students into Post-Secondary but it is also a way to bring back the things we have lost over the years. It is a perfect way to bring back our traditional knowledge.”

Over the two-day event, questions around strengths and challenges were examined and many ideas were discussed.  Because this was just the initial session, there are plans to investigate the idea further in the future. 

 

It has been 20 years since the signing of our education agreement which gave us autonomy over our own education. This year at our annual symposium, we celebrated how far we have come and reflected on the past to plan for the future. 

 

On March 7 & 8, 2018, Education Directors, Chiefs, students, educators, elders and community members attended the annual Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey Strategic Planning Symposium at the Delta Dartmouth. 

To kick off the symposium, Chief Leroy Denny, Chair of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey welcomed everyone. He spoke of our many successes over the years and the numerous initiatives that are put in place to ensure that promoting the Mi’kmaw language remains a top priority. He also focussed on some of the feedback from the organizational review. The review showed that although we have been successful in many areas, there is still a lot of room for improvement in how we support communities in exercising their jurisdiction over education. 

Chief Leroy’s welcome address was followed by an amazing Keynote Speaker, Morgan Toney of Wagmatcook. Morgan, a recent graduate, engaged the room with his story of going to high school in the community of Wagmatcook. His pride in his community, culture, and school was evident in his every word. Morgan’s powerful words and honour song reminded everyone of the reason for the symposium - the education of our students. 

Following the keynote address, the remainder of the day was dedicated to community presentations and networking sessions. 

Each community was given 20 minutes to present and they all did an excellent job of showcasing the wonderful things that are happening in their communities.

During each section, 4 community presentations were followed by a 30 minute discussion session. Each table was asked to choose a question to discuss. Their responses were documented by a Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey staff member who recorded the discussion at each table. 

During lunch on day one, Geordy Marshall and Tammy Bernard shared a video with the group of the Red Road youth going ice fishing. The video will be posted to the Red Road Facebook page so anyone who would like to watch the video or share with others can find it there. 

 

Day two of the Symposium began with an opportunity to do some strategic planning but because of an impending storm, the activities planned for the day were cut short. The group still heard from SchoolsPlus about the work they have been doing in Eskasoni, Ulnooweg and their upcoming events on coding, Nadine Bernard and her slow cooker program, and they all got to participate in a quick version of Treaty Education Trivia with Jaime Battiste. 

This year, we had a group of Chiefs, educators, and directors from Saskatchewan attend our symposium and visit LSK school in Sipekne’katik. They shared stories about their community schools and wanted to learn about ours. They also presented gifts made by their community members. We were very honoured to have them attend and are looking forward to working with them in the future. 

 

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!

 

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. 

 

Often times in education, we plan great activities for youth but with very little input from them. During the weekend of January 20 & 21, our future leaders, our Red Road youth, were invited to be part of the creation of something for their schools as they provided input into the curriculum framework of Jenita’simk or Mi’kmaw Mindfulness.  

 

Over the course of the weekend, the youth took part in several activities that were facilitated by Janean Marshall, Student Services Coordinator, their Red Road coordinators, Elders, and Breathing Space Yoga. These activities were a representation of things that youth could do to learn the practice of mindfulness to find stillness in their very busy lives. Our Red Road leaders that were able to participate are truly amazing youth that are gifted in so many ways. They took part in a smudging ceremony , a talking circle, a workshop on spirit and ceremony with Jane Meader and her daughters Paulina and Sinead. All of these were done with our Red road leaders Geordy Marshall and Tammy Bernard, Janean Marshall, our elders Lottie Johnson and Jane Meader, and Paulina and Sinead Meader. They did a Mindfulness workshop with Blair Abbass and had a clearing yoga practice with Jenny Keirstead form Breathing Space Yoga. They also had a planning session on mindfulness and the concept of Jenita’simk with Janean. The youth also took a clearing break to jump around at Get Air. All this after a very close call where our bus was struck with ice and could not go any further as the windshield caved in. A special thanks to Waycobah’s teacher and bus driver Rob Smith who’s quick thinking kept our kids safe and sound. 

 

 

“There will be a follow up session with them during their upcoming Eel camp to go a little deeper into Jenita’simk and pick their brains a bit more,” said Janean Marshall.  “After the weekend we realized that this was just scratching the surface of what this could do for them, they have tons of ideas to contribute to this project.” 

 

The youth who took part really loved the learning and the nurturing they received from our elders and presenters especially right before exam week.

 

How long have you been teaching the Mi'kmaw language? 

This is my first time teaching Mi'kmaq other then teaching my girlfriend, which took sometime but she understands and can speak a lot of Mi’kmaq now.

 

What are some of the things you like to do with the classes you teach to keep them engaged and interested in learning? 

Most of my teaching involves a lot of conversation. I rarely use handout or sheets. With the lower grades I try to teach them words that they will hear everyday. I also have 1 on 1 conversations with them like greetings. They will come to the front of class ask me in Mi’kmaq how am I doing and I’ll answer and then ask them what about you. With grade 1 to 4 we do some writing and a lot of conversations. We also read books and I try my best to help them understand the books that were given to us by MK. With higher grades they seem to understand a bit more so I try to help them with animate and inanimate plus with some past, present, future tense. I don't want to push too much and expect them to know it right away. We are also going to do a puppet play where the students make their own skits and I help translate it but they will do the skit in Mi’kmaq themselves. With the new curriculum that is being developed, it would be a really great asset for the next few years where we hope we will help revitalize the language. 

 

Are there any challenges you are facing and how are you overcoming those challenges? 

My challenge is that there are not any fluent speaking students but a lot of them understand it. I speak Mi’kmaq to all the students and staff in the school because if they keep hearing it eventually they will understand it.  It's interesting because I really want to see students speaking Mi’kmaq to one another in the school and it's going to be a break through when it happens. 

 

Who are some of your teachers/mentors that you go to when you have questions?

I would have to say Terry Denny because he and Anne Marie pushed me to apply in Potlotek. They have supported me in every way possible. When the school year started me and Terry talked about why the language is not going forward and we both agreed that the more you hear it, you'll eventually know it rather then writing it down and not looking at it again. So I had a plan of what to do and it's to teach them words they hear 3 to 5 times a day then slowly engage them in other words.  Eventually it will carry over to conversation. The whole staff at Mikmawey school is amazing including the teachers, cook and teacher aides. 

 

What is your favourite part about working in Potlotek? 

My favorite part in all honesty is just being there. Our students are really lucky because our staff  treats them good. Plus they get to also learn more depth about Mi’kmaq from Terry. Mikmawey school is an amazing place Potlotek should praise themselves for having one of the best educators I've worked with. No other school has what we have here in Potlotek our children here are lucky and also they are really respectful. Thank you for raising your children to be respectful we appreciate it greatly.  Also to the community thank you for giving me the opportunity I appreciate it.  Just one last thing - I know a lot of people speak Mi’kmaq in Potlotek. Don't hide it - speak it! Lets revitalize it together.  Welalin 

 

 

On October 26, 2017, students, community members, and leaders gathered in Bear River to celebrate the Grand Opening of their K-2 School.

 

The ceremony began with an opening prayer given by elder Agnes Potter, followed by some drumming performed with the assistance of the youth, and speeches from their leadership.

 

Community leaders spoke about the impact this school has already had, and will make on the lives of the students who attend. The students are now excited to go to school and look forward to it every day.

 

Congratulations Bear River!

Some exciting news this month! The second session of the Master Apprentice Program kicked off in early October. Participants met for the first time in Membertou to review the outline of the program and discuss some expectations and goals.

 

Each learner was asked to reflect on why they applied to be a part of the program, their personal language journey, and their goal. Their responses were recorded and documented for future reflection.

 

During the first meeting participants received tips and handbooks to help them on their journey. They discussed some of the learning tips from Leanne Hinton, Professor of Linguistics and creator of the Master/Apprentice program, on how to be the most successful. Some of those tips include teaching in conversation, focus on listening and speaking instead of writing, leaving English behind, etc.

 

Participants each received an iPad with an iTunes account attached to download apps that will assist their learning during the program. They were also all invited to join a private Facebook page where they will have a forum to share with each other, ask questions or ask for guidance from their peers.

 

In advance of the October meeting, the Advisory group reviewed all of the applications and provided feedback on the scheduling, plans, etc. This feedback was given to the participants in Membertou to review and take into consideration when they create their learning plans.

 

During the next few months, the language learners will work with their teachers for 400 hours. They will have a whole group meeting part way through their learning journey and again at the end of their 400 hours.

 

This program has been made possible, in part, by a huge contribution from Canadian Heritage Aboriginal Languages Initiative.

Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and Treaty Education Nova Scotia announce a creative art contest

As part of the ongoing mandate of Treaty Education Nova Scotia, and in celebration of Mi’kmaw History Month we would like to announce a contest that inspires students across Nova Scotia to contribute to the development of future resources for Treaty Education. 

Treaty Education is currently in the process of developing resources for students in grades K-6. We are asking students to share their creative ideas about our Treaty relationship by submitting either stories, original art work, and poems or songs that help us teach about the following:

·      Who are the Mi’kmaw?

·      The importance of Treaties?

·      What happened to the Treaty relationship?

·      How do we promote reconciliation?

 

 “We challenge the youth of today to help create resources for the next generation”, said Jaime Battiste, Treaty Education Lead. “We invite teachers to help inspire their students to be creative and we have assembled a great team of Mi’kmaw poets, artists and song writers to sit on the review panel.”

 The Treaty Education Implementation Committee will be working with Poet Laureate Rebecca Thomas and national award winning artist Gerald Gloade in selecting successful applicants.

 More than $5,000 in prizes will be awarded, with grand-prize winners in each of the categories receiving $1,000.00 and their submission being published as part of the Treaty Education Resources that will be utilized in classrooms across Nova Scotia in the future. 

 Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni stated “We are happy to give our youth a chance to help create the resources for Treaty Education. Our youth continue to amaze me with their talents and I know their participation in this initiative will be inspirational and educational.”

 The deadline for submissions will be Nov 1st at midnight. The contest is open to all students attending school within Nova Scotia, including the Mi’kmaw Community schools. 

The Master-Apprentice Program is currently accepting applications for 2017/18. The program began last year on a trial basis and was a huge success. Last year, there were 10 groups who met for 100 hours. This time around, there will be room for 20 groups and they will work together for 400 hours. To apply to become a part of the program, please visit the following website and complete the application:

https://goo.gl/forms/PPkEt8VcPnLpyUuK2

For more information about the program please contact Blaire Gould at blaire@kinu.ca

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