Empowering Youth Leaders MK Hosts Annual Planning Symposium

Educators, parents, elders, youth, Chiefs and other community representatives gathered at the Best Western Plus in Dartmouth from March 8 -10th, 2017, for the annual Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Symposium.

The theme of this year’s planning session was ‘Empowering Youth Leaders’

The keynote speaker was Bridget Stevens, business owner and boxing trainer originally from Eskasoni, Nova Scotia.

Stevens shared stories about her struggles in her early life and the obstacles she has overcome. She spoke of the importance of her family, particularly her grandfather and husband, for being her inspiration. 

Each community then had the opportunity to share their success stories with the group. Most of the communities shared what they have been doing to empower the youth. There are many wonderful and exciting things happening in every school and community! 

Day two began with a presentation from Geordy Marshall and the Red Road youth. He shared two videos that showed what the youth have been learning over the past year. The youth also had an opportunity to introduce themselves and share a little about themselves.  

Up next was a presentation from the iTunes U team who shared their work and how technology can be used to engage the youth. 

Rebecca Scirocco followed this presentation with a quick update on the literacy programming that is taking place across the province. 

Blaire Gould was up next with a presentation on the L’nuimk Assessment and the importance of using this type of holistic assessment to gain a full picture of our young learners. 

Rounding out the morning was Kevin Burton who provided an update from the First Nation Help Desk. 

In the afternoon,Brendan Smithson spoke about the importance of youth sport and gave an update on Team Nova Scotia NAIG 2017. 

This was followed by Allan Mackenzie who explained some different Google Apps for Education. 

To end the day, Newell Johnson and Geordy Marshall shared a video that was prepared by Janean Marshall. The video showed Eskasoni high school students explaining the artwork they created for a project that Janean directed.  It was entitled Fire-Keepers: igniting the flame.  Communities spent the rest of the afternoon developing strategic and operational plans for the upcoming school year, drawing from best practices shared over the past two days.

Later that evening, we held our banquet which was followed by a beading workshop hosted by Mariah Battiste, a painting workshop with Rebecca Scirocco and music with Brandon Johnson.

The third and final day of the Symposium kicked off with a presentation by Newell Johnson and Liz Cremo who shared all of the exciting things they are working on with the youth in Eskasoni. This was followed by a presentation on Treaty Education from Jaime Battiste. The day concluded with some sharing and reflection on how to make the symposium even better next year. 

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!