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"My greatest wish is that there will be more writing from my people, and that our children will read it. I have said again and again that our history would be different if it had been expressed by us."  - Rita Joe

 

It was with this quote in mind that Allison Bernard Memorial High School staff decided to organize the first annual Rita Joe Memorial Literacy Day in the hope that students would be inspired to read, write, and create their own stories; and they were. Staff, presenters, and, most importantly, students all took away something positive from the event.

 

Since 2012, Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, NS has been hosting its annual Rita Joe Memorial Literacy Day to honour the Mi'kmaq poet and author and to celebrate the literary talents of Mi'kmaq youth who attend the school. Each year, authors, dramatists, illustrators, and song writers gather at the school to facilitate workshops for students, stressing the importance of literacy and the role it plays within our lives. 

 

This year, the event has expanded to include students from the nearby Mi’kmaq communities of We’koqma’q and Wagmatcook. In all, approximately 300 students are expected to attend.

 

This year’s lineup of guests is impressive, including several presenters who have won awards in their respective fields. Local authors including Frank MacDonald, Larry Gibbons, Jesse Ferguson, and Sherry D. Ramsey will facilitate writing workshops for students. Artists Terry MacDonald, Brianna Paul, and Gerald Gloade will work with students in the area of visual literacy. Drama workshops will be led by Mark Delaney, Bonnie MacLeod, and Nicole MacDougall. Gearl Francis of City Natives, Carmen Townsend, Alicia Penney, and Jocelyn Marshall will round out the day with song writing workshops.

 

The third annual Rita Joe Memorial Literacy Day takes place on Friday, May 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:20 p.m. For more information, contact Chris Gallant, Co-chair of the Rita Joe Memorial Literacy Day Committee, at chris.gallant@abmhseskasoni.ca, or 902-379-3000.

 

 

On behalf of the students, staff, and the community of Eskasoni, you are cordially invited to attend the grand opening of the Chief Allison Bernard Memorial High School Gymnasium.

Schedule of events:

10:00 am - 12:00 pm – Guided Tours

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm  - Music by Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School Senior Band

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm - Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies

 

ABMHS is located at 4673 Shore Road, Eskasoni Road, Eskasoni First Nation.

Pictou Landing Elementary School and Unama’ki Training and Education Centre in Eskasoni took home gold in their age groups during the 2013-14 WOW Words of Wonder Reading Challenge.

The Adopt-a-Library Program, founded by Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable John Kennedy, was established to prevent criminal behavior among youth through the promotion of literacy via libraries and schools. The Program’s WOW! Reading Challenge is an annual contest that encourages literacy development and healthy competition.

This year’s program saw record-breaking participation and reading results in Mi’kmaw schools across Nova Scotia. A total of 2,739 Aboriginal students and 13 schools took part.

Unama’ki TEC principal Vivian Basque says reading books is especially critical for First Nation students because it gives them exposure to words in different contexts, thus improving speaking and writing fluency. This is the second year students at Unama’ki TEC, an adult learning centre in Eskasoni, have participated in the program, earning gold both years.

“Things can be taken from you – your job, possessions, health – but you can never lose your knowledge,” said Basque. “We’re proud of our adult learners who invested in themselves and read hundreds of books.”

This is the fourth year that Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) schools have participated in the reading challenge. Through the Adopt-a-Library program, MK aims to increase book collections, develop safe communities, and build programming surrounded by respect, sense of community, self-esteem and pride. Over the past year, MK’s literacy development efforts have put more than $300,000 worth of books into its schools.

“Since the Adopt-a-Library Program has come to MK communities we have seen not only an increase in our students’ academic reading levels, but more importantly, an increase in their love of reading,” says Rebecca Scirocco-Paul, Literacy Programs Coordinator at MK. “Our students are now realizing that reading is not just something that happens at schools; it also can happen at home.”

Wagmatcookewey School took Silver in the First Nation Elementary division. Also taking Silver was Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School in the First Nation Junior High division.

Mi’kmaw schools that were deemed champions in previous years competed this year in the Past Champions division. Membertou Elementary and We’koqma’q Mi’kmaw School were gold and silver medal winners in this category. We’koqma’q Mi’kmaw School and Wagmatcookewey School were gold and silver medal winners in the First Nation Junior High Past Champions Division. LSK Junior High School, We’koqma’q Mi’kmaw School, and Mi’kmawey Elementary were also named First Nation winners in their respective Colchester, Inverness, and Richmond Counties.

 

Over 200 Mi’kmaw elementary, junior high and high school students from across Nova Scotia will come together in Potlotek First Nation May 7 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.  This year’s fair will be held at the Potlotekewey Mi’kmaw School from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

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, will present individual and group math projects completed during the school year.

“The Fair was designed to get kids thinking about how math is a part of their own culture and heritage,” says Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at St. Francis Xavier University, and one of the fair’s organizers.

Since the fair’s 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 annual fair began when Dr. Lunney Borden was pursuing doctoral studies at University of New Brunswick after teaching for ten years at an MK school as a high school math teacher. During her studies, Borden spoke with Aboriginal elders and collected stories on how they used math in their every day lives. She decided that this valuable sharing of information between generations - students and elders – ought to be an annual event.

“At this fair the roles switch for the students; they become the researchers,” says Borden. “When you see them sharing their discoveries and speaking passionately about math with Elders, it’s a heartwarming moment.”

More information about the Show Me Your Math! Fair can be found at www.showmeyourmath.ca

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.”

ABOUT MUSICOUNTS: 

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 www.musicounts.ca

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 atwww.aptn.ca

 

Angelo Spinazzola and Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School students have recorded and released Volume II of the First Nation Song Sessions. Listen here: https://audioboo.fm/users/2434844/boos

 

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 http://adlflagcontest.com/rules-and-regulations/

 

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 www.pma.gc.ca. 

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 video@afn.ca. For information on creating a free YouTube account, visit www.youtube.com. 

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