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Learning Journey

In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, the CSCNS embarked on an organizational learning journey beginning in the fall of 2018. At the completion of that program and through various initiatives since, the CSCNS is steadfast in its commitment to deepening a better understanding of the truth of Canada’s shared history with Indigenous peoples, and to taking a leadership role to co-create shared learning spaces across the province to create dialogue, education spaces, and meaningful movement toward reconciliation.

As part of this responsive action, our goal is to continue to increase individual and organizational awareness about local Indigenous communities, build capacity to support and mobilize the non-profit sector. We believe that by helping to build a critical mass of citizens and change makers through education, dialogue, and right relations with Indigenous communities that genuine shifts in the ways we work in organizations, on  boards, and as communities that we collectively create a step closer towards reconciliation.

We further believe that true transformation happens at the level of self, systems, and society. These sessions are designed to enhance personal reflection and to begin to open a dialogue on how to implement change in our organizations. As such, we strongly encourage organizations to have both their staff and board teams participate in the Learning Journey together. Ideally, participants will learn progressively throughout the program so as to build on their knowledge. Because sessions are recorded, participants can watch and re-watch in a way that suits their schedule, though being on the live call will allow for further interaction.

We began this journey in June 2020 with 4 webinars themed around the topic of Pre-Contact and Early History. As we continue the Journey this September, Series 2 focuses on Indigenous Rights, Residential Schools, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, as well as Two-Eyed Seeing. We’ve made registering for sessions easier in this round and we do hope that you can join us for all 5 webinars in Series 2!

Series 2:
Indigenous Rights, Residential Schools, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, and Two-Eyed Seeing

  1. Myths & Truths About Indigenous Rights
  2. Residential Schools: One Person's Story of Survival
  3. Residential Schools: Moving Forward
  4. National Inquiry Into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls
  5. Etuaptmumk-Two-Eyed Seeing: Ways of Knowing For the Benefit of All

Series 3:
Mi'kmaw Governance, Education and Language, and Social Challenges

(beginning October 2020)

Series 4:
Now What - Incorporating reconciliation learning into our work and everyday lives

(beginning November 2020)

Series 1:
Pre-Contact & Early History

Proudly partnered with
Unama'ki College

CBU Round Two - Logo Boards v3

With the support of the Departments of
Communities, Culture, & Heritage
and Labour & Advanced Education

NSGov logo1biling



Trevor Bernard

Myths & Truths About Indigenous Rights

With Trevor Bernard

Wednesday, September 23 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Join us on Wednesday, September 23rd as Trevor Bernard speaks to us about Indigenous Rights LIVE.

This webinar will cover Indigenous treaty rights. There are many misconceptions around Indigenous rights, in particular when it comes to land use, hunting and fishing, and taxation. We will explore how the Government of Canada recognizes and affirms particular rights.

Trevor Bernard
Executive Director, Membertou First Nation

Trevor is a graduate of Cape Breton University and the University of British Columbia.  After earning his bachelor of laws at UBC, he began his career with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs and later, the Union of Nova Scotia Indians.

While with the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, Trevor received his call to the Nova Scotia Bar. Shortly thereafter he joined Membertou in November 2004, first serving as Associate General Legal Counsel and then becoming Executive Director in April 2005.

Trevor is responsible for overseeing Membertou’s government programs and counsels Membertou on issues ranging from employment law and contracts to land matters. He is also a member of Membertou’s Finance and Audit Committee, Executive Committee and chairs its Management Committee.

Margaret Poulette

Residential Schools: One Person's Story of Survival

With Elder Margaret Poulette

Wednesday, September 30 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Join us LIVE on Wednesday, September 30th as Elder Margaret Poulette shares stories from Residential Schools.

Indian Residential schools operated in Canada from 1831 until 1996. An estimated 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their homes and forced to attend these schools. In this webinar, Residential School Survivor, Elder Margaret Poulette will share her first-hand story of what it was like to attend one of these schools.

Margaret Poulette
Elder, Residential School Survivor

Margaret Poulette is an Elder and residential school survivor from the Mi’kmaw community of Waycobah. In 2001, she helped create a not-for-profit Mi’kmaw organization called Mawitam’k (Being Together). Mawitam’k provides housing and meaningful work for Mi’kmaw people with disabilities through a community of volunteers, support staff, members, partners, family and friends. Margaret also helped found a women’s drumming group and she is an Elder for the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). In 2017, Margaret was awarded the Kevin Beaton Heart of the Community Award.

Dan Christmas

Residential Schools: Moving Forward

With Senator Dan Christmas

Tuesday, October 6 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Join us on Tuesday, October 6th as Senator Dan Christmas speaks to us about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Residential Schools LIVE.

How do we move forward? Often, after hearing stories from residential school survivors, individuals are left feeling sad and angry and unsure what actions to take to right the wrongs of our shared history. In this webinar, Senator Christmas will discuss the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the fundamentals he believes need to be address as we move forward as a nation.

Senator Dan Christmas
Member of the Senate of Canada

Mr. Christmas has served in various leadership positions in the Mi’kmaw Nation of Nova Scotia. After serving five years as the Band Manager for the Community of Membertou, Mr. Christmas worked for the Union of Nova Scotia Indians for 15 years - the last 10 as its Director. From 1997 to 2016, Mr. Christmas held the position as Senior Advisor with Membertou and assisted the Chief and Council and its Management Team with the day-to-day operations of the Community of Membertou. Dan also served as elected councilor for Membertou for 18 years. Mr. Christmas has been active in a number of international, national, provincial and local agencies in a wide range of fields including aboriginal & treaty rights, justice, policing, education, health care, human rights, adult training, business development and the environment. In December 2016, Mr. Christmas was sworn in as an Independent Senator for Nova Scotia. Senator Christmas is the first Mi’kmaw senator to be appointed to the Senate of Canada.

Denise Pictou Maloney

National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls

With Denise Pictou Maloney

Tuesday, October 13 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Join us on Tuesday, October 13th as Denise Pictou Maloney speaks to us about the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls LIVE.

In September 2016, the Government of Canada established the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The inquiry was established in response to the systemic violence witnessed nationally against Indigenous women and Two-Spirit people. In this webinar, we will hear about the first-hand impacts this reality has upon individuals in the Mi’kmaw nation.

Denise Pictou Maloney

Denise Pictou Maloney was born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA and moved to Nova Scotia when she was 9 years old. She is a member of the Sipe'kne’katik First Nation and was raised just outside of K'jipuktuk (Halifax) and maintains strong familial connections to several Indigenous communities in Mi'kma'ki. She was raised with a strong work ethic based in traditional protocol, morals, human rights, and a deep respect for her inherent connection to land and water.

At a young age Denise and her sister suffered the loss of their mother under tragic circumstances that has left an inter-generational impact on her family. After high school graduation, Denise went on to University and studied in the fields of microbiology, sociology, and psychology. Before completion of her degree, she was blessed with the birth of her children and made the difficult decision to put her education on hold to prioritize the raising of her two children while fostering their Mi’kmaq identity and education. Denise has campaigned for over 20 years for her mother’s justice during four trials that lasted 10 years and often speaks publicly about her family's journey. She is an advocate for Indigenous women's, human rights, and has spoken on behalf of her mother at the United Nations, Civil Right Conferences, journalist conferences and American colleges and universities to bring awareness to the injustices of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and how that has shaped and inspired her to help others to stand and take ownership of their lives.

Denise has been employed by the Halifax Regional Center for Education (HRCE) in some capacity for almost 15 years and most recently was employed as a Mi’kmaq Indigenous Student Support Worker for the Halifax Region. She took a two-year leave to answer the call to work for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. The National Inquiry's mandate was to make recommendations "Calls to Justice" based on examining and reporting on the systemic causes of all forms of violence against Indigenous women and girls in Canada through its guiding principles that included a decolonized, trauma informed, families first approach based in Human Rights and Justice.

Albert & Nadine

Etuaptmumk-Two-Eyed Seeing: Ways of Knowing For the Benefit of All

With Elder Albert Marshall & Nadine LeFort

Tuesday, October 20 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm

Join us on Tuesday, October 20th as Elder Albert Marshall & Nadine LeFort speak to us about Etuaptmumk-Two-Eyed Seeing LIVE.

Etuaptmumk-Two-Eyed Seeing refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledges and ways of knowing, and learning to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all. This webinar will open with a video of Mi’kmaw poet Rebecca Thomas’ spoken-word poem “Etuaptmumk: Two-Eyed Seeing.” We will hear from the co-creators of this transformational principle and its applications in our work and day-to-day lives.

Albert Marshall
Elder, Honorary Doctor of Letters, and Mi'kmaw Spiritual Leader

Elder Albert Marshall is from the Moose Clan of the Mi'kmaw Nation; he lives in the community of Eskasoni in Unama’ki – Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Albert is a fluent speaker of the Mi'kmaw language, a passionate advocate of cross-cultural understandings and healing and of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother.

He is the spouse of the late Murdena Marshall, the father of six children, the grandfather and great grandfather of many more, and a friend to thousands.

In 2009, Albert along with his wife Murdena were conferred the degree Doctor of Letters honoris causa by Cape Breton University for their tireless efforts to help promote cross-cultural understandings, reconciliation, and healing.

Nadine LeFort
Manager of Communications & Research, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources

Nadine Lefort is of Acadian settler descent, and grew up in Unama’ki. She studied ecology and environmental education, with a focus on ways to foster (re)connection with culture and our environment.

She spent several years managing a province-wide Environmental Education Program in British Columbia, and has worked with First Nations communities across Canada, primarily here in Unama’ki, to develop culturally relevant learning tools that integrate traditional ecological knowledge and science.

She is currently Communications & Outreach Manager with Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources, as well as an instructor of Environmental Science in CBU’s BASE program, and she spends the rest of her time with her family on hiking and biking trails, on beaches, and playing in their backyard.

****As very good friends, Nadine and Albert have hosted many conversations, presentations and workshops on the topic of Two-Eyed Seeing over the past 20 years, always looking for new ways to put it into practice.


Recorded Sessions

Missed the live session? All the recordings of our past sessions are available to access below!

The Mi’kmaw Creation Story and Pre-Contact Way of Life

With Stephen Augustine

The L'nu or Mi’kmaw Creation Story describes the creation of the world. The Creation Story establishes the morals, principles, and values between the Mi’kmaq and their environment. L'nu people have always negotiated their survival through ceremonies and developed significant relationships with plants, animals, water, fire, and air.

Stephen Augustine
Associate Vice President, Indigenous Affairs and Unama'ki College

This session was recorded on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Netukulimk, Harvesting, Sustainable Ways of Living, and Seven Generations

With Clifford Paul

All activities between L’nu and the natural world are governed by netukulimk. Netukulimk is based in respect for the land, waters, plants, animals, and fish. There are laws of nature within netukulimk that dictate when it is appropriate to hunt, fish, or harvest. Harvesting practices have changed from those that were employed before European arrival, and there has been a gradual evolution of how L’nu hunt and fish as a result. Mi’kmaw harvesters use modern equipment; however, the interaction with nature remains the same. They continue to employ lessons learned from their Elders, offer ceremonies, prayers and medicines, and teach the younger generations the rights and responsibilities required to harvest with respect. Netukulimk and Mi’kmaw natural law play a significant role in how L’nu approach sustainability.

Clifford Paul
Moose Management Coordinator, Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, June 9th, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Contact and Historical Conflicts, Treaties, and Significance of Indigenous People’s Day

With Stephen Augustine

Indigenous people have lived in North America since time immemorial. There is significant diversity between Indigenous nations. Before European arrival, neighbouring Indigenous nations engaged in treaty-making, formalizing and defining relationships. Political, military, or trade endeavours established alliances between nations; however, conflicts were not absent between these nations. During early exploration, Europeans claimed the rights of sovereignty, property, and trade in the regions that they seemingly “discovered.” In 1492, Christopher Columbus arrived in North America; after this time there was an influx of Europeans from England and France in search of resources. Contrary to the fishermen before them, European explorers were not solely in search of resources, but became increasingly interested in the territory.

Stephen Augustine
Associate Vice President, Indigenous Affairs and Unama'ki College

This session was recorded on Tuesday June 16th, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Indian Reserves, the Indian Act, and Confederation

With Cheryl Knockwood

Treaties are agreements made between two, or possibly even several nations or governments, and are meant to govern the relationship between parties. Between 1725 and 1762, the British Crown, the Mi’kmaq, and Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) people signed a series of Treaties of Peace and Friendship. Within these treaties, L’nu and Wolastoqiyik did not give up the title and rights to their land, nor did they give up their status as sovereign nations.

Cheryl Knockwood
Governance Coordinator, Membertou Heritage Centre

This session was recorded live on Tuesday June 23rd, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)


Additional Resources

Looking to continue your learning?
Click the link below to find additional resources we've compiled to support your Decolonization Learning Journey!