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Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board Heritage Fair
I became interested in the Mi’kmaq people and their culture. I wanted to learn more about the culture. To learn, I interviewed Hereditary Chief Stephen Augustine and asked him questions about Mi’kmaq culture. I also learned information from a couple of books that I had brought home from my school library. These books showed the terrible experience of Indigenous kids at Indian Residential Schools. As I grew more interested I began to draw pictures and create a book. I wanted to show Mi’kmaq culture for its beauty, color and hope. Because much of this culture was nearly lost as a result the residential school period.
What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?
I learned that the Mi’kmaq are the First Peoples of this land and that they have never threatened others nor have they given up their rights to this land. Also I learned that there were many residential schools and that many Indigenous children were treated very poorly for speaking their language. Also they were not allowed to learn or practice their own culture.
What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?
I really have two interesting things that I learned about my topic. First was how the Eagle has become an important symbol to the Mi’kmaq through its connection to Glooscap. Secondly is that I learned how dancers and drummers practice their drumming and dancing to combine their heart beat with the heartbeat of Mother Earth.
How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?
I learned that getting food today is much easier than it was during the earlier days of the Mi’kmaq people. Also I learned that I have had many more opportunities to learn my culture and language than many Mi’kmaq children in the books that I have read.