The fall weather was beautiful in Orangedale for the first annual Mi’kmaw Language Teachers Networking Retreat. From September 20th to the 22nd, approximately 45 educators spent the weekend learning, planning, laughing, and sharing knowledge and great food at Camp Rod.
Over the past few years, Mi’kmaw language teachers across the province have had the opportunity to take part in quarterly networking sessions. These sessions, held on a Saturday, generally focused on language or cultural teachings that the teachers were interested in. This year was the first time they were able to spend a weekend together.
The theme for the weekend was “Mi’kmaw History Month” and the educators were given some time to plan their lessons for the month of October and beyond. The entire weekend was packed with opportunities to share and learn from each other and from invited elders and speakers.
The first night was spent brainstorming possible lessons that could be developed from the books that have been provided by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey. They discussed any vocabulary that was of interest from the books and also worked on developing a timeline for the month of October, highlighting what to do and what to teach.
Saturday was a busy day where educators spent the morning learning about the protocols for the Grand Council from Kji Saqamaw Norman Sylliboy, Kji Keptin Antle Denny and Wilma Simon. They learned about the different roles in the Grand Council, the reason behind the different colours for their sashes, the process for choosing Keptins and they also got to spend some time with the new Grand Chief.
After lunch on Saturday, Joe and Judy Googoo shared their knowledge on medicines, harvesting, hunting, and preserving with the group. This was followed by some time spent with Terry and Luke Denny doing some traditional cooking.
Morgan Toney came out to play some tunes on the fiddle for the group and the evening was filled with fun and laughter playing bingo.
Sunday morning was spent planning for future retreats and professional development that they would like to receive throughout the year.
“I thought the weekend was great,” said Alwyn Jeddore, Mi’kmaw Language Consultant for Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey. “I think the teachers all enjoyed the weekend and got a lot out of it. I can’t wait to do it again.”
All of the lessons that the teachers developed over the weekend will be uploaded onto google classroom so that they are able to share and access them at any time. It was a great weekend for everyone involved and everyone is looking forward to the next one!