Wednesday, December 18, 2013

First Nation Elders share language skills with UBC students

A language game to share with the younger generation

A session using WAYK to teach an aboriginal language. I wonder if anyone is offering this in the Mi'kmaq language?

"The Splatsin elders recently came to UBC's Okanagan campus to play a verbal game with students in Christine Schreyer's endangered languages course. The goal was to teach the elders a language game they could take home and share with the younger generation. In exchange, UBC students learned some Secwepemc (Shuswap) language.


Monday, December 16, 2013

C'est Parti Mon Tipi

Emission de télé ado-autochtone
A show in French on APTN for and about aboriginal youth and their communities.

"C'est une émission de télé qui en est à sa troisième année sur APTN et qui est animée par Charles Bender, un Huron-Wendat de Wendake. Mais encore plus qu'une émission de télé, c'est surtout une gang d'ados autochtones qui reçoivent une vedette qu'ils aiment dans leur communauté et qui trippent avec elle en faisant des sketches absurdes et des activités loufoques. En somme, c'est du fun, des niaiseries, des fous rires et des moments inoubliables passés avec une vedette."


Talking Circles: First Nation Pedagogy

A model that encourages dialogue
"Talking Circles or Circle Talks are a foundational approach to First Nations pedagogy-in-action since they provide a model for an educational activity that encourages dialogue, respect, the co-creation of learning content, and social discourse."

Read more on the Wakata blog about ways to use the circle in class.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Aboriginal Language Initiative - Mi'kma'ji'jk Song

Mi'kma'ji'jk  - Mi'kmaw Children
Here's a song about children learning to speak the Mi'kmaw language. Download the clip or listen to it on the web page. The lyrics are included.


Aboriginal Children's games

Some FN games to try
"Games are an important part of Aboriginal society, passed down from generation to generation. Games teach cooperation, team work and social skills. Some games also teach other essential skills such as target practice, hand/eye coordination, agility, and dexterity. They were important for the emotional, physical, and mental development of the community members. Games also provide a good form of exercise and leisure activity for the young and the old. Many games were played in the winter- time."


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Aboriginal content on CBC

A new "channel" on the CBC
It looks like the CBC is taking aboriginal issues more seriously. There is a channel on the main site that allows viewers to follow targeted news stories as well as upload events and issues in local communities. This is a good step!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Mi’kmaq assembly starts boosting membership with Corner Brook meeting

Fighting the controversial enrolment process
Good article on the MFNAN meeting this past week.

"The Mi'kmaq First Nation Assembly of Newfoundland is hoping to boost its membership and got a good start on that during an information session held in Corner Brook Thursday night.

"The assembly has been organized to fight the controversial enrolment process into the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band in light of the concern thousands of people will be denied membership in the band...


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Call of the Spirit: Stories of Success in Indigenous-Led Education

Encouraging trends in educational achievement among Aboriginal youth
"In this new Tyee Solutions Society Series, reporter Katie Hyslop looks at some inspiring models for doing things differently; what society's failure to help our Aboriginal youth learn is costing the rest of us; and how the federal and provincial governments might better spend Aboriginal education dollars."


Journeying back: a research project

Understanding, reclamation and recovery
Dr. Maura Hanrahan writes a very personal account of reclaming heritage and family history in this paper written at Memorial University. Below is a short excerpt. (Click the link above for the entire article.) Wela'lin for this great testimonial!
"Like that of other people of Newfoundland Mi'kmaq descent, my Indigenous  ancestry was stigmatized and largely hidden by my family through my childhood.   Through my research with Indigenous elders, beginning with the Inuit-Metis of  Southern Labrador, I began to realize that stigmatization and the use of denial as a  coping strategy was a common experience in Indigenous Canada.  Here, I go  beyond locating myself in the text to begin what Robert Nash calls a scholarly  personal narrative (2004) rooted in my experience as a person of Mi'kmaq descent  in modern day Newfoundland."


Monday, November 25, 2013

No need of a chief for this band: Book

Supporting Aboriginal claims to self-governance
From the review of the book:

"In 1899 the Canadian government passed legislation to replace the appointment of Mi'kmaw leaders and Mi'kmaw political practices with the triennial system, a Euro-Canadian system of democratic band council elections. Officials in Ottawa assumed the federally mandated and supervised system would redefine Mi'kmaw politics. They were wrong.

"Drawing on reports and correspondence of the Department of Indian Affairs, Martha Walls details the rich life of Mi'kmaw politics between 1899 and 1951. She shows that many Mi'kmaw communities rejected, ignored, or amended federal electoral legislation, while others accepted it only sporadically, not in acquiescence to Ottawa's assimilative project but to meet specific community needs and goals. Compelling and timely, this book supports Aboriginal claims to self-governance and complicates understandings of state power by showing that the Mi'kmaw, rather than succumbing to imposed political models, retained political practices that distinguished them from their Euro-Canadian neighbours.


Wab Kinew speaks about Indigenous inclusion

New thinking about First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples
Wab Kinew delivers an inspirational and empowering keynote speech designed to invoke new thinking within corporations about Indigenous inclusion and hope within First Nations, Metis and Inuit Peoples.


Mi'kmaw Culture - Legends and Stories

The Mi'kmaw Creation Story
Learn how the L'nu saw the world, its origins and the beings that created everything.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Map maker provides pre-contact look of Canada

"We've always been here "
"Aaron Carapella, who is Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma, became interested in a tribal map of the U.S. when his grandparents introduced him to his culture and the powwow circuit as a youngster. After creating a map of American First Nations, the end result of Carapella's Canadian research is the locations of 212 bands identified in their own Indigenous language. The map is also enhanced with photos of leaders and everyday people."


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Tribe Called Mi'kmaq - traditional music

Album Sampler - "We honour the water"

"A Tribe Called Mi'kmaq" is a Northern contemporary drum group. Their latest CD called "We Honour the Water" offers a number of word songs sung in Mi'kmaq.

Our songs are exciting, dramatic and are will get you up off your feet. Listen for our long leads...we hope you like them...


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Aboriginal Arts & Stories Competition

Tell your story - Show your talent
"Create a writing or art piece that explores a moment or theme in Aboriginal history or culture. This year's deadline is March 31, 2014, and is open to Canadians of Aboriginal ancestry (Status, Non-Status, Inuit and Métis) between the ages of 14 - 29. (New this year: our competition is open to emerging writers and artists between the ages of 11-13!)"

A 200-400 word Artist's or Author's Statement that explains how your piece reflects or interprets the moment or theme you selected must accompany your entry into the Aboriginal Arts & Stories competition.


Prospective members in limbo

Interview on CBC Central Morning
"Thousands of people are still waiting for reviews of the applications for membership to the Qalipu Mi'kmaq band. We hear from their lawyer."

I wonder how this dispute about who "qualifies" to be Mi'kmaw reflects on the notion of aboriginal identity. And what does this mean for band members of other FN groups who move away from their traditional lands - are they to be denied? Too bad there is not room for everyone who has roots to reclaim their heritage and be proud representatives of the L'nuq to the world.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

In Flanders Fields

Maqamikek Flanders (posted by Dameion Osmond)
Na Maqamikek Flanders nikutikl wasuekl ta'n elisultiek
Miawe'k na klujjiewe'l pememkitekl.
Sisipji'jk telintu'tijik wijey na'tel musikiskituk
Je tlia' wa'qij nutuj ta'n te'sikl pe'skewe'l.
Ninen nepu'tiek mu piam sa'qe'l mimajultiekip aq
mekite'mekip te's piley na'kwek kisapniaq.
Kesalua'tiekip aq wijey mesnmekip
katu nike' eliusultiek na maqamikek flanders.
Kilew pe'l nike' wsua'tuinen ntipuninal aq
wnaqnmuinen ta'n mu pekwanmuekl.
Wla mtawekn amuj kilew koqwa'tuoq
aq nespnmoq aq mu lekepp.
Mita ta'n ninen nepu'tiek ma kisi atlasmultiwek
je tlia' wasuekl nikwek na maqamikek flanders.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival | Remix. Reflect. Resonate. Remain.

VIMAF - Nov 6th - 11th
"The Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival (VIMAF) recognizes and affirms the Unceded Coast Salish Territories of the Skwxwú7mesh, xʷməθkʷəyəm and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.  VIMAF exists to advance critical Indigenous discourse and cross-cultural engagement on issues through innovative media arts practices. VIMAF honours Indigenous media arts by facilitating a culture of dialogue; fostering critical awareness, cultural sovereignty, and contemporary storytelling through the use of media arts."


Monday, November 4, 2013

“Native Peoples of North America" - text

An anthropological introduction to Native peoples
"Native Peoples of North America," written by SUNY Potsdam Professor of Anthropology Dr. Susan Stebbins is an anthropological introduction to the Native peoples of what are now the United States and Canada, focusing on presenting both historical and contemporary information from anthropological categories such as language, kinship, economic and political organization, religion and spirituality and art.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This month, explore Mi’kmaq culture, history and values

Mi'kmaw communities in Nova Scotia celebrate Mi'kmaq History Month

"As Mi'kmaq, we are proud of our history and culture. That is why Mi'kmaw communities throughout Nova Scotia proudly celebrate Mi'kmaq History Month and frequently host local powwows that showcase our music, food, dance, storytelling, beautiful regalia and crafts. These family-friendly gatherings, which are open to people of all ages, cultures and beliefs, are an opportunity to build bridges of understanding and friendship and to challenge many of the myths and misconceptions that still beset our people."


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Nikmaq - My Family

Talking Mi'kmaq posters

A clickable "audio" poster to learn the names of family members.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Lost Teachings

Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Heritage Month
"Global News Halifax - Author Michael Isaac drops by to discuss his new book, The Lost Teachings. Once again, he highlights the Mi'kmaq culture in this children's tale of the Seven Teachings."


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Etlintoq" Mi'kmaq Songs From the past

The oldest existing transcriptions
"Marc Lescarbot, a French lawyer and writer who came to Acadia in 1606 along with Champlain, provides us with the oldest existing transcriptions of a songs from the Americas — three songs by Membertou, Sagamo of the Mi'kmaq."

Using solfège, Lescarbot wrote out the pitch values for three short Mi'kmaw songs. His mulitvolume book is available in French via and can be downloaded in a variety of formats. The music transcription is in Chapter 5 of book 6 (Sixième livre contenant les moeurs et façons...) Lescarbot has a poor opinion of the customs of the people he meets and often makes reference to singing and dancing as somehow being directed towards the devil ("vers le diable".) He was unable to appreciate the music of the L'nuk.


"The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative"

Native experience and imagination - Thomas King
In his 2003 Massey lecture, award-winning author and scholar Thomas King looks at the breadth and depth of Native experience and imagination.  Beginning with Native oral stories, King weaves his way through literature and history, religion and politics, popular culture and social protest, in an effort to make sense of North America's relationship with its Aboriginal peoples.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Caves near Lenore Lake

Pre-contact workspaces

na'taqamtug - "at the riverbank"

The peoples living along the Columbia used the many natural features of the land to shelter them and give them places to work. We hiked up to the first cave, which was not the largest by any means. They look small from the outside but are surprisingly big from the inside. Standing deep in the cave looking out across the landscape, I could imagine being cast back in time.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Multnomah Falls

Beautiful Falls near Portland

Ge'gwapsgug - "at the top of the falls"

We visited Multnomah Falls along the Columbia River Gorge near Portland, which is apparently the second tallest year-round waterfall in the US. Lots of info about the falls at the lodge, but very little about the people who gave their name to this water feature. I asked at the gift shop and one of the vendors thought it "might be an Indian name." I googled it and learned that the Multnomah were a tribe of Chinookan people who lived around Portland up to the 19th century, but were decimated by disease and essentialy vanished. It seems only the name of the Falls is left to remember them. (And while we did climb, we never did get to "the top of the falls!")

There is a Wasco legend about the creation of the Falls.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Kayak Point

Native Art in Public Spaces

August 4th, we did some camping in Washington State and I was delighted to see an art installation by Tulalip artist James Madison. Called "Fish Ladder", the impressive metal structure was certainly eye-catching and reminds visitors of the Coast Salish people who lived and fished in this area.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On the water at Crescent Beach

It's not a birch bark canoe...

Trying to stay in touch with your roots is hard when you're so far away from the soil they are rooted in. While it's not a birch bark canoe, Lynne and I spent some time kayaking on the water today, paddling and enjoying the spray of the salty water and the seagulls flying by.

a'sugwesugwijig - "meet on the water"


Monday, July 22, 2013

Legends of the Mi'kmaq

Recitations of four Mi'kmaw stories

"The rich oral tradition of the Mi'kmaq is highlighted in four fascinating stories - stories of power and magic that provide insight into the culture of this First Nation from Canada's east coast. CBC Radio's Legends Project compiles traditional oral stories, legends and histories of Canada's Inuit and First Nations, gathered in communities across the country."

You can listen to these stories from the website via streaming, or download as a podcast to listen "on the go." (Just search "Ideas" podcast in iTunes and browse for the Mi'kmaw legends or download here.)


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pow-wow at the Surrey Fusion Festival

First Nations come together to celebrate

I had the pleasure of visiting the Klahoweya Pow-Wow space that was set up at the Surrey Fusion Festival in Holland Park this past weekend. Even though I can't get back to "K'taqmkuk" for a Mi'kmaw pow-wow, I can join in with FN folks on the far West coast!

Lots of dancing and drumming and displays of arts and crafts for visitors to admire and purchase.



Saturday, July 20, 2013

On top of the world

From the top of Whistler

We spent the last week at Whistler and I was delighted to see a pole with a Salish Welcome figure at the top, carved by Rick Henry. The pole sits by the entrance to the Peak2Peak ride, on the Whistler side.

(Close-up of the plaque.)


Monday, July 15, 2013

Beautiful Artwork at Tulalip

Cabela's features local FN artists

The entrance of this store features a beautiful piece that represents the Snohomish people. The installation was designed by James Madison - very impressive.

Link to more info about the art.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Survival a testament to unimaginable strength

There is no quick fix

An important perspective on the many issues facing First Nations communities.

"Friday, June 21, was National Aboriginal Day, a day to honour our First Nations citizens. But too often instead of honour, they get disrespect. [...] That First Nations people have survived at all is testament to an unimaginable strength. First Nations are getting their act together, mostly due to their own initiative, but there is no quick fix.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Honouring Mi'kmaq heritage with handmade a canoe

A traditional art — building birchbark canoes
"A seventh-generation Mi'kmaq man from Nova Scotia's Kejimkujik region is honouring the heritage and culture of his people by practising a traditional art — building birchbark canoes. Todd Labrador, whose great-grandfather was a master canoe maker, taught himself how to build the craft after his own father passed away."


Monday, June 24, 2013

Kisiku'k Wklusuwaqnmuow

Murdena Marshall speaks

"I like the Mi'kmaq language, I love it dearly, it's my first love. I like my Mi'kmaq thought influenced by my language, without my language I wouldn't have a Mi'kmaq thought. ... I'll never break my teachings. This is who I am and this is how I'll die. I can never escape my Mi'kmaq thoughts, it can never be taken away from me and it could never be squashed in my self-conscience. So those things are very important to me. To me the word Mi'kmaq is just a word, but all that it encompasses that word is dear to me".


Friday, June 21, 2013

Celebrating National Aboriginal Day in Richmond BC

A time of celebration - "amalgaltieg" - we all dance

Even though we were not able to celebrate with the rest of the Mi'kmaw community in Corner Brook, my mom and I did attend an event here in Richmond, BC.

We heard a story teller from the Musqueam Nation and clapped along as we watched the Urban Heiltsuk Dance Group perform traditional songs and dances. Mom had her picture taken with Colleen, one of the dancers.