Thursday, December 17, 2015

This Canada Island Is Losing Ground But Not Losing Hope

The Mi'kmaq of Lennox Island are being swallowed up Malpeque Bay
Mi'kmaq artifacts in danger of being lost.

"While the fate of low-lying island states, largely in the Pacific, captured the spotlight at the United Nations climate talks in Paris last week, equally vulnerable but lesser-known communities like Lennox Island have quietly begun developing their own solutions to the changing climate."


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bringing a historic Innu legend to a new generation

Innu-aimun and English version of an Innu Legend
"A new children's book published by the Labrador Institute (LI) brings a historic Innu legend to a new generation. The Man Who Married a Beaver was made possible by a donation from the Hibernia Management and Development Company Ltd. (HMDC), originally received during Memorial's successful Dare To fundraising campaign. It was officially released during a book launch Nov. 23 at the Sheshatshiu Innu School, where it was read in two languages."


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

L'nuisi Christmas Cheer

Santi Gla's Wejgu'et Gutang
(Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

More songs here:


Maw-pemita’jik Qali’pu’k - December issue online

The Cariboo travel together

This issue covers the Swearing in ceremony of the new Chief and Council.
"Brendan's family legacy also includes Mattie Mitchell, his great-great-grandfather, who was a well- known Newfoundland Mi'kmaq guide and prospector now recognized as a person of national historic significance by the Federal Government of Canada for his contribution to this province."


Monday, December 7, 2015

Teaching About the Mi’kmaq

Mi'kmaw history, culture and knowledge

"The resource was designed for anyone who teaches Mi'kmaw history, culture and knowledge. Through the stories and knowledge of Mi'kmaw Elders, educators, and other experts, this volume will share content and teaching strategies for three subject areas for grades primary to nine."


Friday, December 4, 2015

Xwii'xwi'em: Digital Storytelling - Ruler of the Forest

An e-book that supports classroom instruction in Hul'q'umi'num

In a language to related hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (used by Musqueam), this enhanced ebook in epub format (62Mb) allows readers hear the text read by a Cowichan First Nation native speaker.

This illustrated/audio e-book will support both classroom instruction in Hul'q'umi'num as well as a broad range of other course curriculum that will benefit from a resource that is First Nations content and demonstrates traditional methods of storytelling and language as a stand-alone resource available to download for use at home, work or in recreational activities. The story has been selected by the Elders and Ruby Peter, Cowichan Tribes Elder, provided guidance in the development of this story for the project. The story is called Ruler of the Forest.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Students Learn to Make Traditional Mi'kmaq Instruments

Did the L'nuk play drums?

Before drums, the L'nuk accompanied songs using a unique indigenous instrument.

"A ji'kmaqn is usually made with wood from the Ash tree, which is also used to make baskets. The wood separates into layers (the growth rings) when it has been pounded and worked. ....The school now has 15 of these instruments for the music program. Music teacher Olivia Frampton has already incorporated the instruments into classroom learning; as part of the school's December concert, grade 2 students learned and performed the Mi'kmaq Honour Song and played the ji'kmaqn to accompany their choral performance."


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Grenfell college builds database to recognize Mi'Kmaq soldiers from Newfoundland

More than 150 Newfoundland Mi'kmaq soldiers
Memorial University's Grenfell Campus in Newfoundland is home to an online database listing Mi'kmaq from the province who enlisted in World War I. ...

When asked whether she was surprised by the results of her research, Hanrahan answered, "I knew that First Nations people elsewhere in Canada enlisted in large numbers and I expected that to be the case here. But I was surprised at how high the numbers are: there were more than 150 Newfoundland Mi'kmaq soldiers"...."It is important to note that the Newfoundland Mi'kmaq were not recognized as Indigenous people by the then-Dominion of Newfoundland. Unlike Canada, Newfoundland had no recognition legislation like the Indian Act. The absence of such legislation had advantages as well as disadvantages but in this case it meant that the soldiers listed here were not seen as Mi'kmaq or Indigenous soldiers, which they were. This database aims to correct that oversight."


Monday, November 9, 2015

Kalolin Johnson - Singing O'Canada in Mikmaq & Engish

The national anthem in L'nuisi
Kalolin Johnson singing Canada's National Anthem, O Canada in Mikmaq and English.


MediaSmarts' Youth Safety Guide Translated for Aboriginal Teens

"Think Before You Share" available in Ojibwe, Cree and Inuktitut
"To help Aboriginal teens make smart decisions when sharing online, MediaSmarts, Facebook and the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) partnered to translate MediaSmarts "Think Before You Share" guide into three common languages: Ojibwe, Cree and Inuktitut. The guide offers teens advice on safe, wise and ethical online behaviour. The new resources are freely available on MediaSmarts' website."


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Native American worldviews and the environment

A different, genuinely sustainable relationship with nature
Peter Whitely:
"As an anthropologist, I am a scientist, and profess the standard commitment to search for objective truth via observation and reason; I cheerfully accept established scientific laws. Yet this commitment has often been challenged by my experiences among Native communities involving the natural world, which I am unable to explain by scientific reason. I have come to believe that such experiences point towards a different, genuinely sustainable relationship with nature. But taking account of them means listening much more carefully to other people's world views than we have done to date."


Eskasoni Mi’kmaw Nation Opens First Mi’kmaw Immersion School

A milestone for Mi'kmaw Education
"After years of careful planning and hard work, the Eskasoni Mi'kmaw Nation has opened its first Mi'kmaw Immersion School. The initial program, developed in the early 2000s, started as a single class of Mi'kmaq immersion students that soon expanded to include students from K–grade 4. The increasing interest in the program led staff and language specialists to discuss developing a separate school, within which all communications — on the playground and in the classroom — would be held in Mi'kmaw.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Hiqw Sto:lo - The Big River

How salmon came to the Fraser River

"Musqueam Elder Larry Grant and Sto:lo Cultural Historian Dr. Sonny McHalsie oral histories of how salmon came to the Fraser River and discuss their personal connections to the Fraser River. Produced by Kamala Todd, this film is part of Our Bones are Made of Salmon, an education program at the Fraser River Discovery Centre. (For more information contact"


Monday, October 26, 2015

Jen Adomeit - A Canadian Artist creates aboriginal inspired art

An 'interpretive representation' of the Northwest Coast style
Jen writes:
"My heritage includes Swiss, German, French Canadian, and Ukrainian – I am Canadian. Although I have no Aboriginal ancestry, I have always been fascinated by the striking artistic style of the Northwest Coast First Nations. ... In 2006, I created a painting called 'Our Home and Native Land' [...] which is an 'interpretive representation' of the Northwest Coast style. [...] I recently completed 'The Spirit of BC' with hopes of creating more Canadian inspired pieces in the future."


Mi'kmaq resistance kept British holed up in their forts, historian finds

Cornwallis was ineffective in suppressing Mi'kmaq
"In the early clashes between the British and Mi'kmaq, the British usually came out on the losing end, new research suggests.  The Mi'kmaq were so successful at defending against the settlers, British soldiers were often too scared to leave their forts, according to historical documents."


Canada Heirloom Series: "Micmac" Aboriginal Life

Government, conservation, science and education pre-contact.

This is a webarchive link to a the "Canada Heirloom Series" materials. Chapter 1 of this particular volume introduces pre-contact Mi'kmaq practices and customs.

 "...the Micmacs had their own territory, a civilization with a distinct system of government, education and economy."


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Traditional Mi'kmaq (Micmac) Culture

History and traditions

excerpted from a longer article:

"Today, Mi'kmaq culture has changed considerably since the days when the first European vessel arrived off the shores of Mi'kmaq country, but we should remember that all cultures, including our own, change over time, and today's Mi'kmaq are no less Indian simply because they wear the same clothes as other Canadians, drive cars, and watch television. Glooskap still lives in today's Mi'kmaq."

Uncovering UBC’s Hidden History

A commitment to increase engagement & educational opportunities for FNMI peoples

"....In addition to many long‑standing programs, UBC has formed an Aboriginal strategic plan, has one of the largest contingents of indigenous professors on permanent appointments at any research‑intensive university, and has increased Aboriginal enrolment to more than a thousand students."


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Aboriginal presence - all around us

While walking from Granville Island towards Terra Breads around False Creek, my wife and I came across this beautiful welcoming pole - with no inscription or explanation - a silent witness to the historic presence of the Coast Salish people.

Friday, October 16, 2015

BCTF Project of Heart eBook

Illuminating the history of Indian Residential Schools in BC

(online ebook and downlaodable PDF)
This resource is useful for building background and context for BC teachers on this topic, and selected pages could be used with high school students.

"This eBook is intended to be an interactive resource leading educators from the story to the 'back story' utilizing links on each page to offer related resources. Throughout this book you will find Project of Heart tiles with an 'aura' which indicates that this is a link. Click on each of these tiles to find additional resources including films, videos, documents, articles, activities and more."


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Principes d'apprentissage

I am happy to have had a hand in the French translation of the the First People's Principles of Learning. Carl Ruest and myself translated the principles with the permission of FNESC. This allows Immersion and Francophone programs here in BC to use them in class.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Goat Island cultural experience

Visitors to Eskasoni's Goat Island learn about Mi'kmaq culture
"Mi'kmaq cultural tours on Goat Island have been operating for only three years, but they have already become so popular that organizers have extended the season into mid-November this year, two weeks past the end of the cruise ship season..."


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Glooscap Stories and other Mi'kmaq Legends and Myths

Tell me a story
A collection of Mi'kmaq folktales and traditional stories that can be read online.


The people of Mi'kma'ki - a short history lesson

The Mi'kmaq Of Eastern Canada - Who We Are
by Trudy Sable and Julia Sable
A short overview of the people and the land

"According to archaelogical evidence, the Mi'kmaq people have lived in their homeland for approximately ten thousand years. The region they called Mi'kma'ki included what is now Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec, the north shore of New Brunswick and inland to the Saint John River watershed, eastern Maine, and part of Newfoundland, including the islands in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence as well as St. Pierre and Miquelon...."


Friday, October 2, 2015

Ta’n Weji-sqalia’tiek | Mi’kmaw Place Names

Grown from the ancient landscape of Mi'kma'ki

"Ta'n Weji-sqalia'tiek: Mi'kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas and Web Site was created to raise awareness of the deep connection the Mi'kmaq have to the landscape of Eastern Canada they call Mi'kma'ki, the place of the Mi'kmaq. Mi'kmaw presence has been continuous for approximately 13,000 years, and continues to the present day, as can be seen by the place names and archaeological information presented throughout this site."


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mi’kmaq Cultural Showcase to pay tribute to musician

A talented singer and musician

"At the Mi'kmaq Treaty Day celebrations September 30th, the Mi'kmaq Cultural Showcase which will pay tribute to musician, Steve Martin, who passed away in June. Martin, 60, was from the Waycobah First Nation located on Cape Breton Island. He was the main singer and guitarist for the band, Silver Moon, that played at various venues throughout the island."


Monday, September 28, 2015

Catalogues of Culture - Wade Davis

What we lose ignoring traditional cultures

"In the Milton K. Wong Lecture, anthropologist Wade Davis explores some of the diversity of human culture, and considers what knowledge and expertise we lose by obliterating, or at best ignoring, traditional cultures." (mp3 download of Ideas podcast episode.)


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The 2015 50 Faces of Indian Country -

Diversity, wisdom and energy of contemporary Natives
"The 50 Faces of Indian Country 2015 pays tribute to the diversity, wisdom and energy of contemporary Natives. Pulling it all together was no easy task. The concept was simple and powerful enough, but the devil is in the details. We looked to create a mix that included equal part leaders, actors, activists, musicians, business people, men, women, elders and youth."


Peace and Friendship Treaty Days - Oct 28-30

As long as the sun shines, the grass grows, and the river flows.
"The Mi'kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre is proud to host the University of New Brunswick's first Peace and Friendship Treaty Days, from October 28 to 30, 2015. We will celebrate the peace and friendship treaties signed by the British Crown and the Wabanaki peoples of the Maritimes between 1725 and 1799 and how the peace and friendship treaties continue to define the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples today. We hope that Peace and Friendship Treaty Days will encourage all of us to build towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians."


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A Vision for Aboriginal Education

Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom
(PDF download)
"The inspiration for this project was to support and build upon a regional dialogue that would lead to further strategies and clear commitments from all educators as we work to serve each learner, families, and communities. With a spirit of collaboration, a commitment to transformation, and an "If not here, where?" mindset, we approached Director Ted Cadwallader of the British Columbia Ministry of Education to share our School District 85 (Vancouver Island North) aspirations. Shortly thereafter, the vision and partnership was expanded to include four other school districts to host focus sessions on Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom."


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Groundwork for change website

Learn more about Indigenous peoples and issues
"Groundwork for Change" was built to provide access to information to help non-Indigenous (settler) peoples grow relationships with Indigenous peoples that are rooted in justice and solidarity.  This site is meant to support people who are asking questions and want to learn more in respectful and useful ways.  Of course, learning shouldn't only happen through a website, so this site also shares listings of events and initiatives that may help grow new relationships.


Monday, June 8, 2015

The Gift of Language and Culture - Cree resources

Reviving values, beliefs, culture, traditions
"The Gift of Language and Culture Website is an Aboriginal language site developed by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) Curriculum Resource Unit (CRU). [...] There are many features such as, Native stories, songs, and talking pictures. Native language Vocabulary Exercises are available in Flash for people of all ages to learn Cree TH, Y, or N dialect and even Dene.


Downloadable Aboriginal Resource from CCBC

Hear Our Stories: Celebrating FNMI Literature

"The Canadian Children's Book Centre is offering a free online theme guide that focuses on books written by and about members of Canada's First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. It also provides activities for using these books in the classroom, library or at home. View it online or download."


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Truth and Reconciliation report brings calls for action, not words

94 recommendations made
"Canadians must believe in the need for reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples to repair the damage caused by residential schools, aboriginal leaders said Tuesday, as the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its summary report and findings.

"Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the commission, called for changes in policies and programs, as well as commemoration through education and memorials, in introducing the commission's summary report and 94 recommendations.

​"Words are not enough," Sinclair said, to address the "cultural genocide" of residential schools on aboriginal communities.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Sage against the machine

"L'nuis'i! It's that easy!"
"Sitting in a bustling cafe on Gottingen Street, Savannah "Savvy" Simon is impossible to miss. Her long braids hang over her shoulders, nearly to her waist, and her moccasin-clad feet are tucked beneath her long buffalo-and-rainbow-patterned skirt. Beneath her white blazer, her tank top bears the words "L'nuis'i! It's that easy!"


Aboriginal Ed resource page - WLU Faculty of Education

"Aboriginal perspectives bring the curriculum to life"
A range of Language, History and Social Studies activities / lesson plans (from Ontario), mostly for Grades 1-8, that teach aboriginal perspectives, issues and achievements.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Learn Mi'gmaq

L'nuisi! Give it a try!
"This is a website for learning the Mi'gmaq language online. It can be used independently, or to supplement classroom learning. In each section, you will find units consisting of lessons on related topics. In each lesson, you will learn new vocabulary, practice short dialogs, and do exercises to practice what you have learned so far. You will be able to listen to recordings of different Mi'gmaq speakers so that you can practice listening and speaking in Mi'gmaq above all else."

Note: most of the speakers are from Listuguj, and their pronunciation may be different from that in your home community.


Monday, May 4, 2015

New "acknowledgement of territory" statement

First Peoples of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language group
See below the "acknowledgement of territory" statement we are now using in Richmond district after collaborating with community members from Musqueam. We had previously been using either the term Coast Salish (too broad of a term as it involves First Nations quite far up the coast, on Vancouver Island and in Washington and Oregon) or the term Musqueam (too specific as our island and rivers were shared territories with other Nations.) The current statement references a language group (hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓  speakers) and more accurately acknowledges the many Nations whose activities intersected with Lulu Island.
"We acknowledge and thank the First Peoples of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ (hun-ki-meen-um) language group on whose traditional and unceded territories we teach, learn and live."

Some hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓  links to explore:ən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓


Friday, May 1, 2015

Francis Horne Jr - Carving

I was in Abbotsford to present a session on electronic resources and was pleasantly surprised to find beautiful carvings by Francis Horne Jr. in the school library.

Some info about Francis from the Douglas Reynolds Gallery: 
  • Born in 1976, in Chilliwack, BC Francis Horne Jr. watched his father, Francis Horne Sr. carve since childhood.  He carved his first mask when he was twelve years old, and sold the first one at thirteen.  Francis has experience carving poles, masks, and rattles. He has also worked on a canoe that his father made for the Commonwealth Games.  Francis works in traditional styles while continuing to explore new ideas.  He is well on his way to becoming one of the prominent Northwest Coast artists of his generation

Friday, April 24, 2015

Authentic First Peoples Resources For Use in K-7 Classrooms

An educationally useful list of authentic texts
A reminder that this resource is available as a download from FNESC.

"This guide (updated 2012) has been created to help the BC elementary school teacher make decisions about which of these resources might be appropriate for use with [his/her] students."


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The inconvenient Indian : a curious account of native people in North America

Looking for a Study Group title?
Do you want to learn more about First Nations issues?  DRC has 7 copies of "The inconvenient Indian : a curious account of native people in North America" by Thomas King. This title is a required read for teacher candidates in the PDP program at SFU and a recommended title for UBC students.

The book comes with a reader's guide and print interview with the author to deepen your discussion. Borrow a single copy to read on your own, or borrow them all to discuss with colleagues. It has received rave reviews!

Discussion guide:
Interview with the author:


"The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative"

Thomas Kind and the 2003 CBC Massey Lectures
(Follow the link too listen to this fascinating podcast series.)
"In his five part 2003 Massey lecture series, 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.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Cape Breton school offers course in conversational Mi'kmaq

A sense of pride and recognition of their own first language
"Students at the Whycocomagh Education Centre in Cape Breton are learning the language of their neighbours at the Waycobah first nation. The P-8 school is offering a course in conversational Mi'kmaq for the first time this year."


Friday, April 10, 2015

Gov of Canada and FNI bolster Qalipu Enrolment Process

"The wheels turn slowly!"

"The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Brendan Sheppard, Chief of the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation, today announced the Government of Canada and the Federation of Newfoundland Indians (FNI) have doubled the number of members to the Qalipu Mi'kmaq Enrolment committee.

"The new Enrolment Committee members will apply the same approach to reviewing the files in accordance the 2008 Agreement and the 2013 Supplemental Agreement. The additional four members continue to offer equal representation from the Mi'kmaq and the Government of Canada.

"Further, the parties have agreed to extend the deadline for the Enrolment Committee to review the 94,000 eligible applications for enrolment in the Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation. The new deadline for completion of the review process will be June 30, 2016 and, as a result, the deadline for completion of the appeals process will be January 31, 2017.


April Qalipu Newsletter

Mawpmit'jik Qalipu'k
Read this month's newsletter to see what the Qalipu community is accomplishing.


Nunavut schools look at standardizing Inuktitut writing system

Writing a culture
Many FN groups grappling with how to keep their language alive in the 21st century. Syllabics is another hurdle for the people of Nunavut!

"Nunavut education minister Paul Quassa announced yesterday in the legislative assembly that the government is looking into using Roman orthography as the standard writing system for Inuktitut in schools across the territory.

"Inuktitut is commonly written across Nunavut in two different systems: syllabics, which uses a system of symbols adopted from Cree script, and Roman orthography, which uses the roman alphabet used to write in English. Both systems enjoy official status in the territory, and are used more frequently depending on geographical location: syllabics in the east, orthography in the west.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mi'kmaq, province to ensure treaty knowledge reaches all

Commitment to add treaty knowledge to the school curriculum
"Officials with the Education Department and the aboriginal community in Nova Scotia are meeting at the Membertou Heritage Centre to discuss ways to include treaty education in the P-to-12 school curriculum. The workshop is part of Education Minister Karen Casey's commitment in the recent Action Plan for Education to add treaty knowledge to the school curriculum over the next five years. Johnson said many people don't realize the Mi'kmaq did not give up land ownership under the Peace and Friendship Treaties signed in the 1700s. Instead, he said, they agreed to share the land and resources with non-aboriginal settlers."


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Joe B. Marshall Invested into the Order of Canada

Preserving the traditions and culture of the Mi'kmaq people
"Mr. Joe B. Marshall, of Eskasoni First Nation, has been a long-time friend of Cape Breton University.  His commitment and passion to teaching and speaking the Mi'kmaq language has played a key role in preserving the traditions and culture of the Mi'kmaq people. Marshall has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of the Mi'kmaw as an Aboriginal veteran, esteemed leader, role model, and mentor."


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

▶ Surviving Disappearance, Re-Imagining & Humanizing Native Peoples

What does it mean to be a "real" Indian?

"Matika, a Native American woman of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes (Washington), is unique as an artist and social documentarian in Indian Country. The insight, depth, and passion with which she explores the contemporary Native identity and experience are communicated through the impeccable artistry of each of her silver gelating photographs."


▶ First Nations Cultural Preservation Through Art

Ursula Johnson at TEDxHalifax
"Ursula Johnson is an artist from the Eskasoni First Nation, Nova Scotia, who focuses her practice on the idea of cultural preservation. In this fascinating talk, she tells the story of preserving Mi'kmaq culture through the art of basketry."