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The community of Eskasoni marked a milestone for Mi’kmaw Education this September when it opened it’s doors to the first ever Mi’kmaw Immersion School. 

In order to get to such an important event, it took years of research and preparation behind the scenes. It began with a dream and through the hard work and dedication of many passionate community members, it has finally become a reality.  

In the early 2000’s, the idea was put forward to offer an immersion class to a small group of students. Once this program was put in place, interest began to grow throughout the community and more and more parents wanted their children involved. 

 

The program began to extend from one small class of immersion students to include students from K-4 through to grade 4. Due to this increasing interest in the program, staff and language specialists began to discuss the idea of having a separate school for their immersion students.

The main reason for this request was so the students attending immersion classes would hear Mi’kmaq at all times in school. It would be used for school announcements, on the playground, in the hallways and encouraged by all teachers in student communication with each other and staff. Finally in the spring of 2015, it was announced that the school would open its doors in September. 

The new school is located in the old TEC building and it accommodates over 120 students from K4 - Grade 4.  They have a small gym, music classes, a kitchen, and complete immersion in all subjects.  In the near future, there will be an expansion of the building and a new playground will be in place. 

As expected with any new program, there have been some “growing pains”. The bussing has been a challenge and the lunch program is not yet up and running but parents have been very supportive of the situation and have been helping out in any way they can. 

Ida Denny, Principal of the Immersion School expressed extreme gratitude to everyone who has worked so hard to make this possible. 

“We couldn’t have done it without the help of so many people. We have TLE right here in the school and they provide us with so many resources. We have also had great support from our Education Office, community and Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey.” 

 

 Everyone is very proud of the community of Eskasoni for taking such an important step toward the preservation and revitalization of the Mi’kmaw Language. Congratulations!

 

 

 

 

Come Explore the Trades

This three day exploration into the Trades will provide a hands-on learning experience with individuals who are experts in the industry.

The Nova Scotia Aboriginal Youth Skilled Trades Fair is open to aboriginal youth between the ages of 17 to 25 across Nova Scotia.

To apply, please fill out the registration form found on the Website. All costs (hotel, meals and transportation) will be covered by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Native Council of Nova Scotia, MPIC, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Chiefs and MEBO. Submit your application by email to ann@kinu.ca or by fax 902-567-0336

 Deadline October 9th at 4pm

Teams from many N.S. Mi’kmaw communities turned out for this year’s N.S. Schools’ Aboriginal Track & Field and Special Olympics on May 26 & 27 in Stellarton. 

Students raced in the 60m, 100m, 200m, 1500m and relay races. They also took part in the long jump, softball throw and shot put. 

Due to inclement weather on day one, some students were only able to compete in one event before it was postponed to a later date. That didn’t stop the young athletes from giving their all despite the downpour! 

There were attempts to reschedule but with so many other events taking place in June, it was not possible to find a suitable date for all schools. Hopefully the weather next year will be a little more cooperative! 

 

Thanks to our coaches, teachers, volunteers and students for their hard work and dedication to the sport all year!

 

Results- Bantam, Midget, Junior

Category

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Bantam Boys 100m

Gerald Marshall-WAY 12:58

Sonny Christmas-MB2 12:61

Dorrian Paul-LSK 14:03

Bantam Girls 100m

Alayah Jeddore-ESK 14:40

Destiny Francis-PL 14:69

Janissa Sylliboy- PAQ 15:02

Special Olympics

Nolan Denny - ESK

 

 

Midget Boys 100m

Ronald Dennis-ESK 12:31

Camiel Marr-LSK 12:62

Rylan Bernard-ESK 13:00

Midget Girls 100m

Brody Paul-PL 14:40

Cassidy Laporte-MB2 14:45

Arianna Denny-ESK 14:93

Junior Boys 100m

Arden Bernard-AB 12:03

Dan K. Stevens-AB 12:05

Bryant Nevin-LSK 15:62

Junior Girls 100m

Tahnys Paul-AB 14:76

Raven Elwell-AB 14:88

 

Bantam Boys 200m

Kyson Christmas-ESK 27:62

Gerald Marshall-WAY 28:97

Sonny Christmas-MB2 28:99

Bantam Girls 200m

Skye Young-ESK 30:28

Ney Stevens-ESK 33:41

Kiki Laporte-MB2 35:61

Midget Boys 200m

Derek Lewis-ESK 26:00

Kevin Christmas-ESK 26:40

Camiel Marr-LSK 28:09

Midget Girls 200m

Kalolin Johnson-AB 31:00

Sarah Prosper-ESK 31:79

Cassidy Laporte-MB2 32:53

Junior Boys 200m

Alex Denny-AB 26:03

Dan K. Stevens-AB 28:11

Jonah Johnson AB 32:07

 

Category

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Bantam Boys 1500m

Sonny Christmas-MB2 6:06:72

Dante Basque MB2– 6:41:65

Josiah Pratt – PL 9:07

Bantam Girls 1500m

Skye Young-ESK 6:31:47

Destiny Francis-PL 6:38:40

Alayah Jeddore- ESK 7:05

Midget Boys 1500m

Kevin Christmas-ESK 5:36:96

Rylan Bernard-ESK 6:17:56

Camiel Marr-LSK 6:18

Midget Girls 1500m

Tayla Paul-AB 7:20:08

Brody Paul-PL 7:21:20

Sarah Prosper-ESK 7:35

Junior Boys 1500m

Alex Denny-AB 5:38:67

Dan K. Stevens-AB 5:40:37

Dwight Francis-AB6:03:55

Junior Girls 1500m

Raven Elwell-AB 8:29:81

Rezny Dennis-AB 8:49

 

Bantam Boys 4X100m

PL

LSK 

WAG

Midget Boys 4X100m

ESK

LSK 

 

Midget Girls 4X100m

ESK

AB

 PL

Bantam Boys Long Jump

Dante Isadore-WAG 4.33

Kyson Christmas-ESK 4.30

Misel Grier-LSK 3.89

Bantam Girls Long Jump

Trinity Ashawasagai-PAQ 3.76

Kiki Laporte-MB2 3.30

Janessa Sylliboy-PAQ 3.25

Midget Boys Long Jump

Camiel Marr-LSK 4.87

Ronald Dennis-ESK 4.72

Derek Lewis-ESK 4.23

Midget Girls Long Jump

Arianna Denny-ESK 3.84

Tayla Paul-AB 3.74

Sarah Prosper-ESK 3.

Junior Boys Long Jump

Alex Denny-AB 4.46

Dwight Francis-AB 4.02

Dan K. Stevens-AB 3.90

Junior Girls Long Jump

Raven Elwell-AB 3.74

Tahnyss Paul-AB 3.63

Raylene Nicholas-AB 2.26

Bantam Boys Shotput

Roger Googoo-WAY 27’11.5”

Josiah Pratt-PL 27’6”

Omar Gould-ESK 24’10.5”

Bantam Girls Shotput

Trinity Ashawasagai-PAQ 24’11.5”

Sierra Julian-PAQ 24’1.5”

Brady Christmas-MB2 19’6.5”

Midget Boys Shotput

Cody Julian-LSK 28’6.5”

Deven Bernard-WAY 26’

Rylan Bernard-ESK 25’9”

Midget Girls Shotput

Kalolin Johnson-AB 26’3.5”

Tayla Paul-AB 25’5.5”

Cassidy Laporte-MB2 22’5.5

Junior Boys Shotput

Dwight Francis-AB 34’6.5”

Arden Bernard-AB 30’9.5”

Ethan Paul-LSK 26’.5”

Junior Girls Shotput

Tahnyss Paul-AB 21’10.5”

Raylene Nicholas-AB 21’1.5”

Raven Elwell-AB 19’6.5”

 

 

This June, the beginnings of a collaborative process to create a customized and personalized assessment which will be used in Mi’kmaw schools took place in Membertou. A committee comprised of Elders, Mi’kmaw language teachers, directors, speech and language specialists, literacy specialists and classroom teachers spent two days working on phase one - the initial stages of the assessment design. 

In the past, the focus of assessment has been around western ways of knowing. This assessment is intended as an “Early Years Mi’kmaw Language Assessment” which is reflective of Mi’kmaw views and perspective. It will help to create a more realistic picture of the child by involving parental input, elder input, and school input. It will help to identify their strengths in an authentic way. 

The group will be developing classroom materials such as apps and stories, a training portal to help educators prepare for the assessment, a caregiver portal to share information with parents and a teacher portal for the educators. They will also be developing some supplemental learning activities which can be used by parents at home. 

Over the course of the first two days, there was discussion around challenges with assessing Mi’kmaw language and which grades to focus on. They also discussed different ways of engaging elders, caregivers and parents. Finally, they focussed on the support needed for schools to implement this type of assessment. The second day was spent developing the initial stages of the assessment and providing feedback about possible questions and the pictures used in the assessment. 

 

The committee will meet twice over the summer and again in the fall to continue their work on this first phase of the assessment. Phase two, which is the actual development of materials, will begin following the completion of the initial planning stage.  

 

Not all math requires pen and paper. That lesson was learned first hand by the grade 7 & 8 class at Mi’kmawey School in Potlotek this spring. Under the direction of their teacher Monica Larade, the students learned many real life math lessons that deepened their understanding of many mathematical concepts. 

 

They began their paddle making project in the winter by researching different types of paddles. After their research, they chose the type of paddle they wanted to make based on what they wanted to use it for. They started the actual construction of the paddles in the early spring in the hopes of completing the project in enough time to take their own paddles out on a canoe trip before the school year was over. 

 

“It was very time consuming,” explained Monica Larade, teacher, “but it was worth every minute of it because now they really understand concepts that they struggled with in the past.” 

 

Students learned about the importance of congruency, measurement, and conversion among other things. 

 

“It makes sense to me now because I get to actually do it,” said Tyrone Bernard, student. “Now I know the real difference between centimeters and inches and I know that it makes a difference if you measure things wrong.” 

 

The project was funded through STFX University and was started under the direction of Andrew Foran and Lisa Lunney-Borden. The progress of the project has been recorded and will be displayed at the 2016 Show Me Your Math event. 

Sister Veronica Matthews and Elder Freeman Douglas Knockwood  Awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees this Spring

 

 This spring, two influential Mi’kmaw elders have been recognized for their dedication to their communities during two separate university graduation ceremonies. Sister Veronica Matthews received an honorary doctorate degree from St Francis Xavier University on Sunday May 3rd. Elder Freeman Douglas Knockwood was awarded his honorary doctorate on Monday May 11th at Acadia University.

 

 

Sister Veronica Matthews

(Adapted from the Cape Breton Post

 Sister Veronica Matthews of Eskasoni was presented her honorary degree during the spring convocation ceremony at StFX University. During the ceremony, she was called a trailblazer and a role model for her hard work and dedication to community health.  In her career, Sister Veronica Matthews has worked in her home community, promoting diabetes education and awareness. She has also served on numerous health boards and is a founding member and honorary lifetime member of the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada. 

Freeman Douglas Knockwood

 Elder Freeman Douglas Knockwood of Sipekne’katik received his honorary degree from Acadia University on Monday May 11. During his acceptance speech he humbly told the crowd that he never thought he would receive such an honour in his lifetime. Doug was recognized for his work in co-founding and promoting the Mi’kmaw alcohol and drug treatment program. In his career, he has worked all across Canada assisting in many different treatment programs and was the Director of the Mi’kmaw Healing Lodge in Eskasoni.  He continues to be active in drug and addiction counselling programs and enjoys working with the youth to promote spiritual awareness.

Congratulations!

2015 Show Me Your Math!

On Wednesday May 6, Mi’kmaw elementary, junior high and high school students from across Nova Scotia came together in Membertou to celebrate math and cultural heritage during the annual Show Me Your Math! Regional Fair.

Show Me Your Math! showcases school projects that detail the math inherent in the Mi’kmaw culture. Primary to Grade 12 students from Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) schools, the Strait Regional School Board, and the Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board, presented individual and group math projects completed during the school year.

Show Me Your Math! changed slightly this year, with a smaller group of students sharing inquiry based investigative reports instead of having the traditional fair. Students were asked to present their projects to the group and answered questions about their project. Some schools shared short videos of the process of creating their project while others chose to present their work in person. 

Since the launch in 2006, over 3,000 Mi’kmaw students in MK schools have participated. In recent years the fair expanded to include public schools in Nova Scotia that serve Mi’kmaw communities such as the Strait, Chignecto Central, and Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Boards.

 

As part of their course work, students partner with elders, community craftspeople, family members, and friends on projects that explore the role of math in their everyday lives. In the past, students have learned lessons such as the importance of Pi in crafting quill boxes, spatial reasoning inherent in traditional baking, and how math plays a role in constructing a canoe or traditional drums.

The National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC), founded by the Aboriginal Sport Circle and sanctioned by Hockey Canada, provides a forum for elite Bantam and Midget aged Aboriginal hockey players from across Canada showcasing the athletic abilities of athletes from across the country.

The top under-18 male and female aboriginal players from across Canada took part in the week-long tournament, which began Monday April 27. Games were played at the BMO Centre in Bedford throughout the week, with the bronze and gold medal games taking place at the Scotiabank Centre in downtown Halifax on Saturday May 2.

Sixteen teams attended the event, including Team Atlantic, consisting of some of the best aboriginal players from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

 

Saskatchewan wins double gold for the second consecutive year

 

For the second consecutive year, Saskatchewan is a double gold winner at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship.

Team Saskatchewan claimed both the male and female under-18 titles Saturday at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. They were victorious in both divisions in 2014.

The Saskatchewan female team beat Ontario 3-2 in the gold medal game Saturday while the male team won an exciting overtime game, beating Alberta 4-3.

In the bronze medal games, the female Manitoba team slipped past Alberta 3-2 while B.C. beat Manitoba 5-4 in the male third-place game.

 

Meet Tara Johnson!

 

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

My name is Tara Johnson, I’m nineteen years old and I go to Potlotek High school. 

What clubs, teams, or groups are you involved in at school, and after-school?

 

I’m currently in a beading club started by Jasmine Johnson, the Mi’kmaw language teacher. It’s a fun club that I enjoy going to because it connects me to my culture and she’s always teaching us new Mi’kmaw words. 

 

What’s your favourite subject in school?

 

My favorite courses throughout high school would have to be the sciences. It’s a love/hate relationship with those courses. I’m almost always pulling out all my hair from it, but I honestly enjoy it so much because it challenges me and forces me to work hard.

 

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

 

There are a lot of places I would love to go based on educational/cultural experiences, but if I had to choose a place for just leisure, I would choose Florida. I’ve always wanted to see the beautiful beaches there and ride the rollercoasters that I’ve heard so much about.

 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

 

In my spare time I enjoy beading; it’s honestly become my addiction.

 

What are your plans for when you graduate, and why? What do you see yourself doing ten years from now?

 

I plan on going to university, getting my Bachelor of Arts degree, and then hopefully off to law school. In ten years, I hope to be working at a law firm or at a school teaching.

 

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

 

I could name dozens of role models, but if I had to choose one, it would be my big sister. I always find myself wanting to be just like her. When I was growing up, I was nicknamed ‘tail’ because I would follow my sister everywhere (and drove her crazy, I might add.) But yes, she would be my role model; she’s a strong, caring tough cookie and I hope to grow up just like her.

 

What is your best memory from your high school years?

 

The best memory (and also the most horrible memory) of my high school years would probably be canoeing for the first time in my life. I can still remember that day like it was yesterday. My friend and I were messaging each other and we both said, “Do we wear jeans? I don’t want to sink.” Didn’t we both show up in jeans? We laughed at each other and shrugged it off. In the end, we actually tipped the canoe and I was practically floating away laughing my head off. What didn’t help was that our rescue boat broke down and we had to paddle it back to shore. I was so sore from laughing so much.

 

What is the best thing about your school? Who has made an impact on you?

 

The best thing about my school is that no one judges each other. I went to a school where people were constantly judging each other based on looks and the way they dressed. It’s so refreshing to be able to go to a school where you won’t be judged by the way you look/dress, but based on your personality (that’s how all schools should be). Another perk would be the teachers; if you need help they are always there and you can go in early to get the extra help if needed. 

 

 

Quite a few people made a huge impact on my life, my brother being the main one. He showed me to never give up on your dreams and to keep fighting, even when you feel like you lost hope. For that I thank him. He helped me a lot when I felt like giving up on school; my brother and my sister always giving me the extra push to keep going.

 

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

 

What I would love to see is an actual school built for Potlotek High School. That would be so awesome!

 

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

 

Words of advice? Never give up. If the dream is there, keep fighting for it even when you feel like you lost hope. There have been so many times I felt like giving up, but I didn’t and now I’m graduating and going to a school I never would have thought I’d get accepted into. Never give up and always follow your dreams!

 

 

Thank you to everyone who has ever supported me and believed in me over the past years. Because of everyone who has ever believed in me, I’m graduating with a scholarship and going to the school I’ve always wanted to attend. Thank you! 

 

On March 31 and April 1, 2015, staff and students at Allison Bernard Memorial High School listened attentively as Nolan Pike, Raven Davis and John Robert Sylliboy shared their stories about their experiences as two spirited and transgender individuals. 

 

Earlier this year, Principal Newell Johnson provided information to her staff regarding the provincial guidelines on transgender and non-conforming students in order to help them familiarize themselves with the topic. 

The students in the school wanted to take this a step further. A group in the school called the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) group wanted to organize an event discussing gender issues that would include both staff and students. Through their efforts, along with the help of teachers Ronnie Martin and Sherise Paul, Principal Newell Johnson, and Student Services Coordinator from Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Janean Marshall, the LGBTQ day was planned. 

What was expected to be a one-day event was actually spread out over two days due to a snowstorm that cancelled afternoon classes on the planned day of the event.

 

On day one, Davis discussed the different terminology surrounding LGBTQ and talked about her experiences growing up. She talked about how her feelings changed over time and at times she identified with one term and at other times she felt that another word more closely described her feelings. She explained what the term “Two Spirited” means to her and how she identifies with that definition. 

Pike spoke to the crowd about his experience growing up in Ontario, knowing that even though the outside world saw him as a female, he didn’t identify as that on the inside. He shared how tough it was as a young person to feel such a huge disconnect between what you are ARE and what people can actually see.

He explained to the students that the first step in the process of aligning what the outside world sees to those inner feelings is actually talking about it and telling someone about those feelings. 

He stressed the importance of friendship and how having even just one friend to talk to about those feelings can make such a huge difference. 

“Just listening, accepting and honouring that about a friend who tells you they are gay is such a big step.” 

Pike explained to the students that although he is hired to come in as an “expert” on transgender issues, he knows that the most important thing he can do is to make sure he is always listening and learning. He told them that everyone’s experience is a personal and individual one, and in order to talk to people about it, its always important to listen. “I’ve learned what I know because I listen,” explained Pike. “There’s always something new to learn.”

 On day two, John Robert Sylliboy spoke with the group about his experiences with being two spirited. 

One of the aspects that was stressed by all three presenters was the importance of community acceptance. They explained how much of a difference it can make to the person dealing with gender identity issues to have that support. 

 

The students and staff involved were very attentive during the workshop and everyone walked away with more awareness about gender issues.

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