First-ever Mawi’omi Day brings students together
The word mawi’omi in Mi’kmaq means “gathering,” and that’s exactly what students will be doing on Mawi’omi Day June 21 at the Abegweit First Nation.
Mawi’omi Day is a pilot project that provides 65 students from Stonepark Intermediate, Mount Stewart Consolidated, and École François-Buote to gather with their peers at Abegweit First Nation to gain perspective, knowledge and to start the working progress of reconciliation. Students will have the opportunity to meet community members, participate in cultural activities, and enjoy traditional food while celebrating National Indigenous Peoples Day.
“We are very excited to welcome students to our First Nation, in the true spirit of reconciliation. These students will get to know each other, learn about our culture and the modern day community we live in,” Abegweit First Nation Chief Brian Francis said. “The friendships and relationships made this day will help these youth in the future and help to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”
“We are very pleased to support our Indigenous communities through educational opportunities like Mawi’omi Day,” Education, Early Learning and Culture Minster Jordan Brown said. “Collaborating with Indigenous people to develop learning initiatives about Mi’kmaq history and culture for Islanders is a key item in our Culture Action Plan.
Before Mawi’omi Day, there will be an in-school educational component to teach students about the effects of colonization and the residential school system of Indigenous people. This component is created in collaboration with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy and will include school visits by a member of the Indigenous community to lead exercises that illustrate the dissolution of Indigenous culture.
“In order for the process of reconciliation to truly take hold, Islanders must familiarize themselves with the history of Indigenous people and gain some perspective into how deeply their culture has been affected across generations,” Economic Development and Tourism Minister Chris Palmer said. “Mawi’omi Day gives Island students an excellent opportunity to connect with and learn from the province’s Indigenous people.”
Mawi’omi Day is led by Abegweit First Nation and singer-songwriter Tara MacLean with support from the departments of Education, Early Learning and Culture and Economic Development and Tourism.
Mawi’omi Day 2018 Schedule
9:30 a.m.: Students arrive
9:35 a.m.: Welcoming message from Elder Thirly Levi and welcoming remarks from Chief Brain Francis.
9:45 - 10 a.m: A demonstration on how the Mi`kmaq people cooked bannock by the youth of the Epekwitk Garden & Preserves
10 - 10:30 a.m.: Talking stick making facilitator elder Barbara Bernard will lead students in creating their own talking stick.
10:40 - 11:25 a.m.:
GROUP A - Seven Grandfather Teachings (Facilitator - Elder Barbara Bernard)
The Seven Grandfather Teachings represent the traditional concepts of respect and sharing, teachings of love, humility, honesty, wisdom, courage, truth and respect honors the basic virtues to a full and healthy life. These teachings are used as a foundation to promote a healthy lifestyle to be in harmony with nature, our family, and our community.
GROUP B - Talking Circle Teachings (Facilitator - Elder Thirly Levi)
The Talking Circle is used to create a safe environment where students can share their point of view with others. In a Talking Circle, each one is equal and each one belongs. Participants in a Talking Circle learn to listen and respect the views of others. The intention is to open hearts to understand and connect with one another.
11:30 a.m. - noon: BBQ and basket making demonstration facilitator Francis Jadis and “Waltes Game” demonstration by facilitator Judy Clark.
Noon - 12:45 p.m.:
GROUP B- Seven Grandfather Teachings (Facilitator - Elder Barbara Bernard)
GROUP A- Talking Circle Teachings (Facilitator - Elder Thirly Levi)
12:50-1:10 pm: Drumming and dancing
1:15 p.m.: Closing message from Elder Barbara Bernard and closing remarks from Chief Brain Francis.
1:30 p.m.: Students departure