Celebrating 20 Years – Reflecting on the past to plan for the future. MK Hosts Annual Planning Symposium

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!