Friday, December 30, 2016

In Nova Scotia, a Mi’kmaw Model for First Nation Education

​A​ possible model for First Nation education in Canada

With support from Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, an education authority that provides central services, local Mi'kmaw schools deliver language immersion courses, culturally-appropriate teaching pedagogy and other initiatives to promote student success. In 2010-11, Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey reported a high school student graduation rate of 75 per cent for students in the system, twice the Canadian average. The self-governance arrangement is drawing attention as a possible model for First Nation education in Canada.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NewJourneys / Meet the artist behind the Mi'kmaq New Journeys theme

to Mi'kmaq petroglyph tradition

Alan Syliboy is the artist behind the Mi'kmaq New Journeys design.
 Syliboy looks to the Indigenous Mi'kmaq petroglyph tradition for inspiration and develops his own artistic vocabulary out of those forms.
 incorporated traditional Mi'kmaq petroglyph themes into the New Journeys design: "I believe the Fiddlehead was where the Mi'kmaq double curve design originated. The double curve has many meanings. To some the curves represent plants which have the protective and curing powers of medicinal herbs. The mirror image of the double curve, reminds us to keep balance in our lives. Many curves together can symbolize community standing side by side, together in a special union.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Mi'kmaq wind farm projects

he power of Mi'kmaq participation in the energy sector.

kmaq communities in Nova Scotia are completing a four-stage project that will see them put more energy into the grid than they collectively use.
​ ​
Delegates at the Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Energy and Innovation Summit held this week in Membertou heard the final project in Amherst will soon come online.
​ ​
"With projects completed and planned, Mi'kmaq wind projects ‎would be producing more electricity than they use in their communities," Murray Coolican, deputy minister for energy, told CBC News.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Nova Scotia working on posthumous pardon for Mi'kmaq grand chief

n apology is forthcoming

Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy was arrested in 1929 and convicted for hunting out of season after being found with muskrat pelts. While Sylliboy attempted to use treaty rights as his defence, it wasn't until the 1980s that those rights were recognized by the courts. Sylliboy died in 1963.
​ ​
Provincial Justice Minister Diana Whalen says an apology is forthcoming for the arrest and conviction of Mi'kmaq Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy. (CBC)


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

N.L. Mi'kmaq artist's eBay fashion collaboration a sellout success

Mi'kmaq designs
 the mainstream fashion world

cclaimed visual artist Jordan Bennett's first foray into the fashion world has been a sellout success within a matter of hours, and no one is more surprised than Bennett himself.
​ ​
"It's pretty amazing, a bit overwhelming, and exciting to see these Mi'kmaq designs go into the mainstream fashion world," Bennett said of the whirlwind launch of his two scarves, a collaborative project between the Stephenville Crossing artist and online giant eBay. 


Monday, September 19, 2016

Sharing Circle: Mi'kmaq beliefs and heritage

First Nations culture and spirituality practices

Sharing Circle includes seven children's stories about First Nations culture and spirituality practices. All seven stories, The Eagle Feather, The Dream Catcher, The Sacred Herbs, The Talking Circle, The Medicine Wheel, The Drum, and The Medicine Pouch explore First Nations cultural practices and teach children about Mi'kmaq beliefs and heritage. Researched and written by Mi'kmaw children's author Theresa Meuse and beautifully illustrated by Mi'kmaw illustrator Arthur Stevens, this book will engage and inform children of all ages.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mi'kmaq lexicon

​A handy word list​

​tuck​ for a word? Want to look up a particular term? This lexicon (searchable in the PDF) will help you find your way.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Mrs. Universe speaks to First Nations youth in Membertou

Embrace your culture

 "The 2015 winner of the Mrs. Universe pageant, Ashley Callingbull, was a surprise guest of the Mi'kmaw Summer Games in Membertou this week where she served as a co-host for Thursday's princess pageant activities. The 25-year-old actress from Enoch Cree First Nation also gave a motivational speech and spent a portion of her Friday offering tips to the young participants to take through the pageant and their lives."


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A place called 'heaven' by Mi'kmaq

Partridge Island protected for generations to come

The stories and teachings are about real places:

"A Mi'kmaq storyteller is celebrating the preservation of Partridge Island in the Bay of Fundy near Parrsboro, N.S. — called Wa'so'q, or heaven, in Mi'kmaq — saying the Nova Scotia Nature Trust has helped protect an area of cultural significance.

Gerald Gloade, with the Confederacy of Mainland Mi'kmaq, said the island is known as Glooscap's grandmother's traditional campsite. According to Mi'kmaq legend, Glooscap was the first human, created out of a bolt of lightning in the sand."


Monday, July 18, 2016

A rediscovery of roots

Learning all of it for the first time

Heather writes about her journey of discovery:

"After I had been there a few times, the "Chief" as we call him, whose name is Roland, took some time to talk to me about where he came from and explained a bit to me about what was happening with the drum group. I was thrilled for this because I had lots of questions. For those of you who may be reading this blog for the first time, I have only recently discovered that I am of Mi'kmaq descent through my grandmother. It is part of my heritage and sadly I know little of it. My ancestors hid their Mi'kmaq identity and with that hiding, came a disconnect with the culture. This is not an unusual story for many of First Nation descent.  I am learning all of it for the first time. I eagerly listen to and absorb everything that anyone tells me about Mi'kmaq culture or any native culture to which they belong."

Mi’kmaq canoe headed for national museum in Ottawa

A place in Canadian history

"Todd Labrador, a master Mi'kmaq canoe builder, from the Wildcat Community, near Molega Mines (near Caledonia) built the 18-foot, six-inch ocean-going canoe last summer at Kejimkujik National Park. The Canadian Museum of History (CMH), actually in Gatineau directly across the Ottawa River from the Parliament Buildings, is opening a renovated and expanded exhibit hall next year on Canada Day. The Canadian History Hall will be a 40,000-square-foot exhibition space tracing Canada's history from "the dawn of human habitation to the present day." And Labrador's canoe will be a part of it."


Friday, July 15, 2016

Protecting Mi’kmaq rights: Canada's stories

A story of advocacy

"Viola Robinson, now 79—is a Mi'kmaq activist, lawyer, land claims negotiator, recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal—[Her] advocacy led to court cases overturning aspects of the Indian Act and validating the Mi'kmaq Treaty of 1752, thereby protecting Mi'kmaq rights in Nova Scotia.

Read more about her achievements in the complete article.


Friday, June 24, 2016

"All Our Relations" - Study

Phase 1 of the Surrey Urban Aboriginal Social Innovation Strategy

"The title of this report - All Our Relations - emphasizes a relational worldview shared by many Indigenous peoples and points to the many relationships that need to be created, strengthened or expanded in Surrey. The objective of the Surrey Urban Aboriginal Social Innovation Strategy is to build and strengthen relationships at all levels of the community so as to improve the economic participation, educational attainment, and health outcomes for the Aboriginal population in Surrey. Phase I of the project has helped to shine a light on the urban Aboriginal community in Surrey and some of the barriers or challenges that impede a positive experience of city life. Phase II of the project will be an opportunity to build on the findings and conclusions contained in this report ...."


Friday, June 17, 2016

Celebrate the lives of Aboriginal Canadians

APTN series "All Our Relations"

"All Our Relations celebrates the lives of Aboriginal Canadians who have achieved international success and recognition. Every story documents a different featured guest; tribal Elders, historic experts, relatives and famous First Nation's people from the fields of sports, politics, architecture, diplomacy, movies and dance. All Our Relations takes a close look at Aboriginal celebrities' ancestral history and acknowledges their pride in their traditional culture, providing a unique insight into the personal lives of their public persona."


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mi'kmaq artist uses Art as vehicle for change

"Art is a very powerful way to send a message"

"Alan Syliboy has been appointed as the 2016 Coady Chair of Social Justice at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.He plans to use his art to address environmental issues, missing and murdered Indigenous women and First Nations' housing issues. The Coady Chair of Social Justice was founded five years ago and looks to foster ways of solving local and global problems through different disciplines."


Friday, June 3, 2016

Kids Learn Culture and Language at Surrey's Indigenous Preschool

Many families are hungry for cultural experiences

"Growing up, Terri Shouting, a member of southern Alberta's Blood Tribe, received little education about her Aboriginal background. Today as a mother of three young children in Surrey, B.C., she feels lucky to have a free preschool nearby where her kids have gained exposure to Coast Salish culture and its Halq'eméylem language.

"We never had any of the Aboriginal aspect growing up," said Shouting. All three of her children have attended Awahsuk Aboriginal Head Start program in Surrey's North Whalley neighbourhood.

"It just feels right," she said. "It's somewhere you belong to -- I'm never uncomfortable here."


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Visiting the Mattie Mitchell Monument

Ta'n me'j jilaptoq Mattie Mitchell
Some pictures of our great-great-grandfather's monument, taken by my cousin Matt.

Canada's History - Aboriginal History

Intriguing and informative books on FNMI peoples and issues

A selection of  titles, many of which have been reviewed in Canada's History magazine.
"Among the Culture and Society titles, you'll find books on art and literature, the histories of particular peoples, and the challenges faced by Native peoples and cultures across the continent. Biographies tell of well-known historical figures such as Big Bear and Louis Riel, but also the stories of key personalities such as Frank Calder and the unique lives of people such as Marie Rose Delorme Smith. Other books examine how First Peoples have been impacted by and, sometimes, have in turn helped to shape political decisions, legal processes, and the education system."


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mi’kmaq Creation Story - lesson activity

How life began for all things
Learn about the Mi'kmaq Creation Story as it describes how life began for all things. This process occurred in seven stages or levels of creation and is described by Stephen Augustine, a  Mi'kmaq elder.
Suggestions are included for how to integrate other subject areas into this lesson.


Expressions: Canadian Aboriginal Artists.

An overview of the breadth and range of Aboriginal art
"The Canada Council for the Arts is pleased to present Expressions: Canadian Aboriginal Artists. This publication aims to honour the work of First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists in each region of the country. The success of these artists speaks to their creativity, innovation and strength as Aboriginal peoples: authors, musicians, filmmakers, dancers, actors and visual artists."


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

First Nations Principles and the Circle of Courage

The Science of Raising Courageous Kids

"The Circle of Courage is a holistic approach to reclaiming youth, which is grounded in resilience science and in values of deep respect for the dignity of children and youth. This article identifies the core assumptions of the Circle of Courage model and its research foundation in positive youth development. In order to thrive, all children need the opportunity to be reared in schools and communities that cultivate belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity."

A video summary of the first article:
Dr. Martin Brokenleg's presentation of the Circle of Courage at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings held May 17 2013 in Williams Lake. Produced for School District 27 Cariboo-Chilcotin.
(9 min)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Indian Reading Series: Stories and Legends of the Northwest

140 culturally relevant stories

Written and illustrated by First Nations authors and artists from the US, these short "readers" are a source of traditional stories. (Note: in Canada, the phrase "First Nations" is preferred over the term "Indian".)

"In 1972, the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory received funding from the National Institute of Education for the development of a community-based reading and language arts program especially for Indian children. Twelve Northwest Indian reservations actively participated in the program from its beginning. For the next 11 years, the NWREL Indian Reading & Language Development Program produced 140 culturally relevant stories written by local Indian authors and illustrated by Indian artists."


People of the Beautiful River

The Maliseets of Viger

Trailer to a documentary:

"This documentary recreates an important historical event, a plot by the Langevin brothers that caused the Maliseets of Viger to lose their ancestral lands. At that time, the Maliseets of Viger lived a nomadic lifestyle and survived by fishing and hunting on their land. Following the loss of their land, the Maliseets of Viger dispersed and their population slowly decreased."


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

APTNDigitalNations - YouTube Channel

Short clips on FNMI customs and practices

Learn more about First Nations, Métis and Inuit customs and practices via these short video clips from APTN Digital Nations.


Mi'kmaq Legends

Native American Indian Legends - Index

Links to Mi'kmaw stories from the "FirstPeople" site. I'm not sure how "authentic" all of them are. Some do sound familiar but have probably been reworked to sound more "mystical".

                Aplíkmuj, The Lazy Rabbit - See Algonquin
                Fish-Hawk And Scapegrace
                How Kluskap Created Sugarloaf Mountain - See Abenaki
                How Kluskap Found the Summer - See Algonquin
                How Kluskap Made The Birds
                How Master Rabbit Gave Himself Airs
                How Master Rabbit Went Fishing
                How Rabbit Got His Long Ears
                How The Rabbit Lost His Tail - See Ojibwa
                Kluskap Fights The Water Monster - See Passamaquoddy
                Kluskap Turns Bad Into Good - See Abenaki
                Legend Of The Turtle
                Little Burnt-Face
                Micmac Creation Story (version 1)
                Micmac Creation Story (version 2)
                Míkmaq Legend Of The Shooting Star
                Míkmaq Legend Of The Turtle
                Míkmaq Legend Of The Wild Goose
                Míkmaq Women Who Married Star Husbands
                Muin, The Bear's Child
                Nukumi And Fire
                Of Glooskap And The Three Other Seekers
                Of Other Men Who Went To Glooskap For Gifts
                Rabbit And Otter, The Bungling Host
                Rabbit And The Moon Man
                Raccoon Learns A Lesson
                Robbery And Murder Revenged
                Snowshoe Island Legend
                Story Of The Three Strong Men
                The Bird Whose Wings Made The Wind
                The Changing Of Mikjikj
                The Chocolate Waters Of The Petitcodiac River aka The Legend Of The Tidal Bore
                The Creator Visits
                The First Pine Trees
                The Girl-Chenoo
                The Invisible One
                The Legend Of Kluskap's Departure
                The Legend Of The Big Bear
                The Legend Of The Islands
                The Little People
                The Mikumwess
                The Reversing Falls Legend
                The Hidden One
                The Tide
                The Water Fairies
                The Wind-Blower
                The Woodpecker Girls
                Tumilkoontaoo, Or The Broken Wing

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Putting indigenous identity at heart of Grade 7/8 program

Miyo Pimatsowin: Cree for "the Good Life"
Read how a school and community are using language and cultural heritage to envigourate the educational program for their students.

"...The knowledge students gain in Miyo Pimatsowin is practical and helps them connect to their home and history. Children are excited to go to school again, Chief Wapass said, because they are rediscovering who they are.

"I told them Miyo Pimatsowin is a very special program. You're going to learn respect, to love yourself as a Cree person and language and culture is number one here. We have to love ourselves for us to grow," she said. "They'll carry that knowledge on for the rest of their life." said Doreen Carrier, Grade 7 and 8 teacher.


Canadian "Native" Flag Design

Created by Curtis Wilson, a Kwakwaka'wakw artist

"An important piece of symbolism contained in the flag design includes red side bands, which represent K'utala-Salmon. Salmon seemed the perfect way to convey the importance of family, friendships, and strength in numbers. Salmon are known for dependability and renewal. Kwakwaka'wakw people think of them as a provider and a symbol of fertility and good health. The salmon is the source of life for our people and we depend upon the salmon as our main food source in the past, present, and hopefully the future. Also, the design within the maple leaf symbolically represents the head of a killer whale in the shape of an oval. The killer whale head is surrounded by some traditional use designs called split "U" shapes."


Friday, February 26, 2016

Native American artist tackles hero icons

Jeffrey Veregge: Art, Design and Mischief

"My origins are not supernatural, nor have they been enhanced by radioactive spiders. I am simply a Native American artist and writer whose creative mantra in best summed up with a word from my tribe's own language as: "taʔčaʔx̣ʷéʔtəŋ", which means "get into trouble".  A member of the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, I was raised and spent a majority of my life on our reservation known locally as Little Boston, which is located near Kingston, Washington. Although I am enrolled there, I am also both of Suquamish and Duwamish tribal ancestry."


Friday, February 5, 2016

American Indian Youth Literature Award

Books that feature FNMI writing and illustrating

Although these titles often fit an American context more than a Canadian one, there are some good titles to explore. (The 2016 list is here.)

"The American Indian Youth Literature Awards are presented every two years. The awards were established as a way to identify and honor the very best writing and illustrations by and about American Indians. Books selected to receive the award will present American Indians in the fullness of their humanity in the present and past contexts."


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Micmac News - Beaton Institute Digital Archives

An important example of Mi'kmaw print culture
"The Micmac News (1965-1991) is an important example of Mi'kmaw print culture... This invaluable research tool covers historical and contemporary issues and events, including Aboriginal rights cases, social and labour history, material and intangible culture, and celebrations of Mi'kmaw life. The newspaper provides a means of language preservation; prayers and myths were printed in the paper, and simple language lessons in Mi'kmaq were also a regular feature."


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Mi'kmaq artifacts at MOA

Images from L'nuk culture

Beautiful photographs of Mi'kmaq artifacts online at the BC Museum of Anthropology. View close-ups to explore the colours and designs.


Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bannock: A brief history

Light, fluffy and golden brown - delicious!
"The Inuit call it 'palauga,' it's 'luskinikn' to the Mi'kmaq, while the Ojibway call it 'ba`wezhiganag.' Whatever they call it... just about every indigenous nation across North America has some version of bannock. ... Nancy Turner, a professor ... at the University of Victoria, says indigenous people already had their own version made from a wild plant called camas. The camas bulb would have been baked for long periods of time, dried and then flattened or chopped and formed into cakes and loaves, similar to modern bannock."


Monday, February 1, 2016

17 Ways to Promote Culturally Aware Classrooms

Include and preserve FNMI cultures in our classrooms
"First Nations, Metis & Inuit peoples are THE fastest growing populations in Canada! This has many implications for our Education systems. The FNMI peoples are also incredibly diverse, both linguistically and culturally. There are literally hundreds of different First Nations and Aboriginal populations, therefore, we as Educators are faced with many challenges with regards to how we can adequately include and preserve these cultures in our classrooms."


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

30 Indigenous Leaders - The Canadian Encyclopedia

From activists to politicians to artists and more
"Many Aboriginal leaders have influenced Canadian history, both before and since Confederation. From activists to politicians to artists and more, Aboriginal peoples have protected and promoted their heritage, asserted Aboriginal rights and inspired change. [Here] is a list of 30 Indigenous leaders that the Encyclopedia has generated to help celebrate its 30th anniversary."


Canada’s new national font was designed to include aboriginal languages

A new inclusive "unified typeface"
"For the first time in its history, Canada has created a new "unified typeface" to represent not only its two official languages (French and English) but also its aboriginal languages. An angular sans serif font designed by Canadian type designer Raymond Larabie has been updated to be a little more inclusive."


Monday, January 11, 2016

Learn Mi'gmaq online

How to describe yourself and your relations
"This lesson will teach you the basics of how to describe yourself and your relations. You will learn how to describe yourself, your family, your home, and your work to others. These are important skills to learn at the beginning, because once you have mastered these basics, you will be able to begin conversations and introduce yourself to other Mi'gmaq speakers when you meet them."

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Learning from Knowledge Keepers of Mi’kma’ki | Cape Breton University

Exploring Our Roots and History
"Join ... Stephen Augustine, Dean of Unama'ki College and Aboriginal Learning and Hereditary Chief on the Mi'kmaq Grand Council, for this exciting introduction to Mi'kmaq history, culture, and ways of knowing, while learning about the meaning and context of Treaties and answer the calls from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission."