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On November 13, 2015 in Calgary Alberta, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey was presented with the Indspire Indigenous Organization Award.

 

Indspire recognizes and celebrates educators for their achievement and innovation in Indigenous education. Each year a number of educators are recognized for their community service, innovative practice and leadership. This was the first year for the presentation of the Indigenous Organization Award.

 

The Indigenous Organization award is given to a whole school or Indigenous education organization that has developed models, strategies, and programs that have made an impact in the field of Indigenous education. These innovative leadership teams are creating school models, strategies and programs that are leading the way in the field of Indigenous education.

 

“This award is presented to the entire organization because everyone works together as a team to accomplish our goals,” said Eleanor Bernard, Executive Director of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey.  “Our graduation rate is almost 90%. We couldn't do that without the support of the education directors, principals and teachers.”

 

The award was presented during the Guiding the Journey gala as part of the National Gathering for Indigenous Education. This year, more than 500 people attended the annual conference, which focuses on closing the gap in Indigenous education through holistic education. The conference is an opportunity for educators to share knowledge and work on solutions to improving the academic outcomes of k-12 Indigenous students.

 

The conference featured several workshops on topics such as Urban Indigenous Ways of Knowing, Culture-Based Integrated Planning, Peer Support, and Effective School Leadership. Eleanor Bernard and Linda Simon also presented on Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey: Supporting Student Success. Their presentation will be uploaded to the Indspire website in the near future.

 

 

Congratulations to all!

On October 31 at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, Eleanor Catherine Bernard was presented with an Honorary Doctorate degree during Cape Breton University’s Fall convocation. 

Eleanor Bernard has a long and distinguished career in Aboriginal Education, including lecturer, educator,  vice-principal, and director at many levels of education. She has been Executive Director at Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) for the past 13 years and under her direction, MK is recognized as a national example for best practices in aboriginal education.

During her address to the graduating class, Bernard spoke of the important work being done at CBU through their customized programming  and delivery to Mi’kmaw students and communities. She reflected on the collaborative efforts of CBU and the many Mi’kmaw leaders who came before her who helped make this programming such a success. She explained that it is her belief that “when we work hard, we can do a lot but when we work together, we can do much more”.  She is a true example of what can be accomplished through hope and perseverance!

 

 

Congratulations Dr Eleanor Bernard!

 

On September 8th 2015, 14 students and 4 chaperones from the community of Eskasoni boarded a plane to the Dominican Republic to help build a home for a family.

 

The 12 day trip was facilitated through the organization Live Different.Live Different Builds, which was formerly known as Hero Holiday, gives volunteers from across Canada the opportunity to make a difference in the developing world as they build houses, schools, and complete other much needed projects. The program allows volunteers to see first-hand how two-thirds of the world lives, and gives them the opportunity to consider how they can build hope and change in their own lives. 

 

“ The idea to work with Live Different first came up about three years ago but the commitment just wasn’t there ”, explained Newell Johnson, Principal at Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni.  “ This time, we began planning a community trip and a number of High School Students committed to the program. We sent in the deposit and there was no turning back!”

 

Students spent six months fundraising the amount required for the trip. They did not only need to fundraise for their travel and accommodations but also for the cost of the building materials for the house they would be building. 

 

The students sold tickets on items, hosted a dinner theatre, an 80’s dance, a silent auction and a bake sale. They also catered several events in the community. “The community was extremely supportive,” said Johnson. “Donations came in for the silent auction from everyone once they knew what it was for.”

 

During their 12 day trip, the youth got up early every day and worked long days building the home. They also had the opportunity to spend a day in the life with a family. They helped prepare a meal and shared it with the family they were visiting that day. They cleaned up and helped with other chores that would normally be done each day in that household.  

 

These experiences had such a huge impact on each and every one of the students. “This changed how I do things at home,” explained Jack Dennis. “There was an 84 year old woman who was always on her feet doing what needed to be done. Now I try to help my mom more with dishes and taking out the garbage. I never did that before.”

 

Most of the students expressed how seeing that level of poverty changed how they view their own lives. They came away with a much deeper appreciation for things they take for granted. 

 

“When we were at the hotel we were complaining about having to pay for wifi,” explained Raven Stephens, grade 12 student. “Meanwhile we didn't even realize that most of these people don't even have a house, let alone wifi. A lot of these people have so little, and yet, they are so happy.”

 

The chaperones, Janean Marshall, Ronnie Martin, Terry Bernard and Newell Johnson,  noticed huge changes in the students, especially those who had experienced loss before going. Many of the students had lost close relatives and important people in their lives over the year leading up to the trip. Some of them were almost at the point that they didn’t want to attend. As they spent time working with the family to build their home and met other youth from the area, they began to express joy for the first time in many months.  It was described as if they “found their smile again.” 

 

They also felt that this trip was an opportunity for the students to share their strengths.  They noticed a huge boost in the confidence level of the group. The students believe in themselves now and have such a strong desire to make changes in their lives and communities. 

 

“I want to change more lives and help more families”, said Camryn Sock, grade 11 student.

 

 

Her desire to change lives is shared by her peers as they plan to try to  “educate others and encourage others to pay it forward”. They all want to continue the work of living differently even within their own community and family. They spoke about how they plan to make small changes to give back by volunteering more often and helping others who need it. This trip was life changing for all who attended.

 

 

With the stroke of a pen on Treaty Day in Halifax, a commitment was made by the province and the Mi’kmaq to ensure that all Nova Scotians will gain a greater understanding of our shared treaty relationship. 

 

 Elders, Chiefs, Mi’kmaq Grand Council members, provincial government representatives and many other Mi’kmaw community members were all on hand to witness the signing of what is known as the Treaty Education Nova Scotia Memorandum of Understanding. 

 

This important new partnership will focus on the development of Treaty Education for students, teachers, public servants and the general public.

 

Chief Leroy Denny, Chair of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey declared, “Today we have begun to plant the seeds of justice and responsibility, so that future generations will understand our shared history and shared responsibility in Nova Scotia.” 

 

 Chief Denny would go on to say that Treaty Day 2015 signified the start of  “a journey towards ensuring that Mi’kmaq Contributions will be highlighted and taught by all teachers, in all grades, in all schools.”  

 

“We are all Treaty People”, acknowledged Premier Stephen McNeil to a large round of applause from the participants, many of whom recognized that this was the first Premier of Nova Scotia to make that statement.  

 

Premier McNeil also stated,  “Our government caucus will be the first to take you up on the opportunity to come into our caucus and actually educate us. Before we start with our children, let’s start with those of us who are privileged to be in leadership roles in this province.”

 

On hand for the announcement were Karen Casey, Minister of Education and Eleanor Bernard, Executive Director of MK, who’s conversations in early 2015 led to the creation of a Treaty Education Implementation Committee which hammered out the details of the MOU. 

 

“We are very excited to be included in the changes made to the curriculum for Treaty Education”, said Bernard. “We are looking forward to being an important part of this process.” 

 

As part of the MOU, the provincial mandate authorized the Treaty Education Implementation Committee (TEIC) to work over the next few months to create a work-plan.  “Over the next few months there will be a lot of engagement with key knowledge holders to begin the process of reconciliation,” explained Jaime Battiste, Chair of the Treaty Education Implementation Committee and Treaty Education Lead for Nova Scotia. “ The TEIC have prioritized raising awareness, seeking direction and setting the working foundation for Treaty Education moving forward in Nova Scotia ”.

 

 Many of the dignitaries on hand such as Grand Keptin Andrew Denny, and Chief Terry Paul, Co-Chair of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Chiefs, acknowledged in their speeches the historic impact that this signing meant to the Mi’kmaq moving forward. 

 

 

Engagements are planned with Elders, Academics and the Mi’kmaq Grand Council in the coming months to lay the foundation for the development of Treaty Education resources.  Treaty Education Nova Scotia Facebook has also been set up to share information, lectures, and any news on upcoming events involving Treaty Education. 

“Keep jumping off rocks”, a quote from Elder Rose Morris from Gold River First Nations in Nova Scotia, was the motto for the Red Road youth this summer. It reminded them to disregard their fears, and to keep going through life courageously, just as if they were to jump off a huge rock and find themselves safe in a pool of water. 

 

 

This Motto carried them through many exciting opportunities including the Stone Bear camp, powwows, film making, community events and summer games. 

 

Stone Bear Camp

Hosted in Bear River First Nation, the Red Road Youth kicked off their summer at a camp for a week. “Words cannot simply explain what we experienced at the camp this year,” observed Tammy Bernard, Red Road Leader. “It was truly magical, and an honor to experience the youth getting together, and becoming a team right before our eyes.” 

Frank Meuse lead the group a few times a day with a talking circle focussing on their journeys. Rose Morris (Gold River) taught the youth basket making, and Lu’lan Wells (Membertou) guided in the construction of a sweat lodge and conducted  a ceremonial sweat with the youth. 

Film Making with Cathy Martin

Cathy Martin began her activities with a talking circle. Although the group felt that they were very open to sharing with each other, they realized that they were quite closed off to their creative side. After many hours of exploring, the youth began to open up and some found a creative side that they had never realized they had!

The following day, the youth spent time planning, preparing and filming their videos which were based on the 7 Sacred Teachings. These videos will soon be available for viewing on the Red Road YouTube channel.

Summer Games

During the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games, Red Road youth set up a booth promoting the many activities that they are involved with. They had a sucker pull game for the children and other opportunities for prizes for those who visited the booth. They had a daily draw and also connected with the entertainers, one of which has made plans to work with the Red Road youth on future projects. 

Community Events

 

At the beginning of the summer, community supervisors and youth leaders brainstormed plans for activities that they would like to do within their own community. Each community was provided with $2000 to use toward cultural activities. One community brought together the leadership in the community and planned the activities as a group.  

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. 

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