Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), in partnership with MusiCounts, is helping to keep music alive in two Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey community schools. This afternoon MusiCounts and APTN presented Eskasoni Elementary and Middle school with a $10,000 Band Aid Grant in the form of 19 new instruments.

"We're incredibly excited," said Lisa Munroe, the school's music teacher and band program director. "Most students now are renting their instruments, and there are many more that would like to join the band program, but cannot afford the rental. This grant allows more students to participate in band, and to practice their instruments year-round."

The presentation featured a performance by the school band as well as local pop-rock group Black and Grey. APTN was on site to film the event.

MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity associated with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) that provides grants which impact thousands of young Canadians and supports diverse music programs. Many First Nations communities from coast to coast are amongst the beneficiaries.

APTN has contributed $10,000 to the program and MusiCounts matched that amount. MusiCounts Band Aid Grants were awarded to two schools specifically through this partnership, Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School, and Mi'kmawey School in Membertou. These schools have also been selected based upon the location of APTN’s Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration twin stage being held in Halifax on Saturday, June 21, as well as the criteria that MusiCounts uses to select their grant recipients which includes economic need in the school community, size and condition of the schools’ instrument inventory, dedication of school staff and overall impact a grant will make within a community.

"APTN recognizes the significance of musical legacy to First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples’ cultures," says Jean La Rose, APTN Chief Executive Officer. "Music is an inspiration for many, and it’s important to foster creative expression at an early age. As a national broadcaster of cultural content, APTN is honoured to have the opportunity to travel with Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration to another part of Canada."

The partnership between APTN and MusiCounts is only part of a larger investment that this program makes. In fact, a total of $80,000 will be invested in school music programs in First Nations communities across Canada. MusiCounts mission is to ensure that children in Canada, regardless of socio-economic circumstances or cultural background, have access to a music program through their school.

“From British Columbia, to Nova Scotia, to each of the Territories, MusiCounts will be providing grants in First Nations communities across Canada this year,” said Allan Reid, Director, MusiCounts. “Music is a universal language that is understood by all of the diverse cultures represented in Canada. We are truly thankful for the support we have received through APTN that will help us keep music alive for the next generation of Canadians.”


MusiCounts, Canada's music education charity associated with The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) is helping to keep music alive in schools across Canada. MusiCounts' mission is to ensure that children in Canada, regardless of socio-economic circumstances or cultural background, have access to music programs through their schools. MusiCounts includes Band Aid musical instrument grants, the TD Community Music Grants, the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award, Scholarships and other music education initiatives. MusiCounts is funded by annual contributions from Bell Media; TD; Sirius XM Canada; the Slaight Family Foundation; Music Canada, Vista Radio, Morningstar Canada and supported since inception by Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc.; Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada Ltd.; along with JUNO Songwriters' Circle presented by SOCAN in association with Manitoba Film & Music and The Asper Foundation as well as JUNO Cup. Since MusiCounts' establishment in 1997, nearly $7,000,000 will have been awarded to help support music education in Canada. These funds have impacted over 600 school communities from coast to coast, supported over 300 post-secondary music program graduates and honoured 9 extraordinary music teachers through the MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award. For more information, visit

About APTN: 

September 1, 2013, marked the 14-year anniversary of the launch of the first national Aboriginal television network in the world with programming by, for and about Aboriginal Peoples to share with all Canadians and viewers around the world. APTN is available in approximately 10 million Canadian households and commercial establishments with cable, direct-to-home satellite, telco-delivered and fixed wireless television service providers. The network launched its high definition channel, APTN HD, in the spring of 2008. APTN does not receive government funding for operations but generates revenue through subscriber fees, advertising sales and strategic partnerships. APTN broadcasts programming with 56% offered in English, 16% in French and 28% in Aboriginal languages. For program schedule or for more information, please contact APTN at (204) 947-9331 or toll-free at 1-888-278-8862, or visit the website


Angelo Spinazzola and Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School students have recorded and released Volume II of the First Nation Song Sessions. Listen here:


Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), will host a Tutorial Program for Mi’kmaq recruits. The Tutorial Program will take place in Eskasoni (location TBA) June 3 to June 5, and the test will be administered June 6, 2014.

The Program is open to all Mi’kmaq from Nova Scotia. It will be made available through videoconferencing, and the test must be written in Eskasoni.

For more information, contact CPL. Jay Marshall at the Eskasoni RCMP detachment at 902-379-2822 or 902-759-3047.

Calling all students! Let your creativity shine by entering APTN's Aboriginal Day Live Flag Contest!

If you're between 12 to 17 years of age, you're invited to design a flag that reflects what National Aboriginal Day and being Aboriginal means to you! This is your chance to be creative and design something original that shows your pride in the culture and heritage of Aboriginal Peoples.

The winner's school will receive $750 towards the purchase of classroom learning materials. The winner receives $500 and a trip to Halifax with their parents/guardian to be part of APTN's Aboriginal Day Live celebrations. The winning design will be made into an actual flag, unveiled during Aboriginal Day live and Celebration 2014 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The deadline for entries is May 6, 2014 at midnight EST. For more information and submission specifications please read the contest rules available at


Nomination deadline extended until April 30, 2014.

Do you know an outstanding teacher or educator? You now have two more weeks to nominate them for Canada's most prestigious teaching award.

Awards are worth up to $5,000! Winners honoured by the Prime Minister.

Download your nomination form today at 

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) invites all First Nation students - grade school and high school - to participate in a video contest telling us "What's cool about your school?". Is there a subject you would like to learn more about? How does your school help you succeed? What is your school like and what do you like about it? How is your school making a difference in your life?

All students participating in the contest will have the opportunity to win a school visit by National Chief Atleo. A lottery will be held for all participants and a name will be chosen at random. National Chief Atleo will visit the winner's school sometime during the 2014 school year!

The contest runs from March 2014 to April 2014. All videos will be posted on the AFN website and Facebook Page. 

To submit an entry, post your video on YouTube and e-mail a link to For information on creating a free YouTube account, visit 

Don’t ever think it’s too late to go after what you want.

Seven months ago, Stephanie Paul of Eskasoni went after her GED after dropping out of high school thirteen years ago. 

Last September, the single mother of three enrolled in Unama’ki T.E.C’s Adult Program to pick up where she left off more than a decade ago. Four months later in December, she successfully completed the necessary General Educational Development tests. 

Stephanie confessed that while waiting for the test results to come back, she had little faith in herself. 

“I thought I might pass some,” said Stephanie. “But certainly not all.”

Stephanie ended up passing every subject. This allowed her to stay in the Adult Program at TEC and work toward another educational goal. With a GED under her belt in less than four months, Stephanie turned her focus to a university degree, something that was just a fleeting dream a month before.  

The road to where she is now hasn't been smooth. For years Stephanie feared crowds, and lacked confidence and self-esteem.

The worst part, she said, was when her children would struggle with their homework and she couldn’t help them. 

“I felt helpless,” said Stephanie. 

So after walking out the school’s doors more than a decade ago, she turned around and walked back in.

“I knew going back to school would help me stay sober, away from drugs, and save money.”

But even more so, she says she returned to school to better the life of her children by becoming a better mother.

She says that since she’s returned to school, her family has said she’s more positive and has more self-esteem.

“My family looks at me in a more positive way because I am doing something to better my life,” Stephanie smiles. 

She says she now worries less about what others think of her, and that her relationships with friends and family members have improved. 

Each year, Literacy Nova Scotia invites adult learners from across the province to write about their literacy journeys and submit these stories to the organization’s Adult Learners’ Week Contest. With encouragement from her teachers, Stephanie submitted her story. And she won. 

During the Adult Learners’ Week celebration in Halifax on April 4, Stephanie, alongside three other winners, presented her story to The Honourable Kelly Regan, Minister of Labour and Advanced Education. 

During a conversation with Stephanie the evening prior, she admitted that she felt nervous and afraid - the same feelings that had paralyzed her for years and kept her from returning to the classroom.

But this time, she had confidence on her side. 

With a shy smile, she nodded and said, “I’m nervous, yes.... but I’m excited, too.”

Stephanie is now taking two high school courses, Environmental Science 12 and English 12, two courses she hopes will help her future application to the Bachelor of Science, Environmental Studies program at Cape Breton University. 

She says she will always be grateful for the help and guidance of her teachers at Unama’ki T.E.C.

“I know now that age doesn’t matter. It’s never too late to return to school. This new light has deepened my appreciation of life and all it has to offer.”

On March 24 and 25, thirty-four teachers from MK schools received training on the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) by Pyramid Canada. PECS is an augmentative/alternative communication intervention package for individuals with autism spectrum disorder and related developmental disabilities. It teaches an individual to give a picture of an item to a “communicative partner” who honours the exchange. It teaches the discrimination of pictures and how to put them together in a sentence. 

MK Student Services Consultant Janean Marshall says through this session, teachers have learned how to refine their practices. 

“Teachers are interested in learning how they can use pictures within their lessons to increase attention spans, and develop both English and Mi’kmaw language skills.”

The PECS training, she says, allows educators to teach using prompting and reinforcement strategies that lead to independent communication. 

For more information on this training, visit

An advisory committee of MK educators has translated seven Robert Munsch books into the Mi’kmaq language. The books will be distributed to students in every MK community.


The seven translated books are Thomas’ Snowsuit, Love You Forever, Mud Puddle, I Have To Go, I’m So Embarrassed, Andrew’s Loose Tooth, and A Promise is a Promise.


An advisory committee made up of Mi’kmaq language and literacy specialists from every MK community has worked on the translations for the past year, ensuring correct Mi’kmaq translation and that the messaging and presentation still properly represents Robert Munsch.


Janice Ciavaglia, MK Literacy Consultant, said they wanted to bring stories into the classroom that many students remember from their childhood.


MK Mi’kmaq Language Coordinator Blaire Gould agreed, but said the number of books published in Mi’kmaw was limited, especially children’s books.


“It’s important to make connections between English and Mi’kmaq when you’re young, and Robert Munsch’s iconic books jumped out at us as the perfect opportunity to build that bridge,” said Gould.


Along with the books, teachers will receive a lesson plan and a CD of the Mi’kmaq readings.


“Not all teachers in our schools are proficient in Mi’kmaq, but that shouldn’t stop our students from being able to learn in their language,” said Ciavaglia. “These readings and lesson plans will be a valuable resource for both teachers and students in the classroom for years to come.”


The project was funded through the Education Partnership Program and Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey.


Eastern Woodland Publishing is publishing the five hundred copies of each book, as well as the 150 lesson plans. They will be distributed in May. 



Advisory committee members: Elizabeth Paul and Barbara Sylliboy (translators), Jane Meader, Phyllis Googoo, Josephine Peck, Maynard Marshall, Rosemary Marshall, Jacqueline Sullivan, Jackie Alex, Curtis Michael, Goldie Simon, Rose Meuse, Melanie Robinson, Yolanda Denny, Blaire Gould.


Lesson plan committee: Blaire Gould, Ann Landry, Brittany Fitzgerald, Angela Maloney, Kyla Bernard, Corinne Phillips, Janice Ciavaglia, Darlene Gillis, Ambrah MacNeil, Yolanda Denny, Jane Meader, Barbara Joe, Fran Young, Josephine Googoo. 

On March 10, 11 and 12, more than 80 Mi’kmaw junior high and high school students from 12 Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia attended the inaugural Nova Scotia Aboriginal Youth Skilled Trades Fair at the Comfort Inn in Halifax. Over three days, students explored ten skilled trades and learned about their apprenticeship processes, and funding, education and training opportunities.

Students visited experiential skilled trades booths and spoke one-on-one with skilled tradespeople working in their respective fields. They learned about a typical workday on-the-job, and the necessary education and work experience that are required to launch a career.

Acadia First Nation Chief Deborah Robinson addressed the youth at the fair’s opening ceremonies, encouraging them to keep their eyes, ears, and minds open to every career possibility, and to take the time to network with others.

She stated Mi’kmaw are being more active and visible in our province’s economy, and that we need and want our people, now more than ever, to gain essential skills and give back to our communities.

“It’s our priority to equip our students with the right education, skills and training, so they can find good jobs, succeed in the workforce, and give back to their communities,” said Robinson. “This starts with giving junior high and high school students hands-on learning experiences, and access to information so they can make the right academic choices.”

Al Gould, a grade nine student at Eskasoni Middle School, said he was excited to learn that he could start getting his hours towards an electrician certification while in high school.

“My dad is an electrician and I’ve been watching and learning what he does since I was ten. I work with him in the summertime and I think it's what I'd like to do as a career.”

Ann Sylliboy, Post Secondary Consultant at MK, and a member of the organizing committee for the trades fair, thanked the students for showing an interest in their future, their economy, and their communities.

“It was wonderful to see so many students actively participating in the demonstrations and asking questions.”

The event was made possible by ENCANA, the Nova Scotia Assembly of Chiefs, Nova Scotia Department of Education and provincial schools, Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, Native Council of Nova Scotia, Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and its schools, Mi’kmaq Project for Innovation and Collaboration, and Mi’kmaw Economic Benefits Office of Nova Scotia.


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