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Decolonization
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. In September and October, Series 2 consisted of 5 webinars focused on Indigenous Rights, Residential Schools, Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, as well as Two-Eyed Seeing. In November, Series 3 continued with teachings on Mi'kmaw Governance, Education, and Language. This May we will host Series 4 with an additional 4 webinars focusing on Incorporating Reconciliation Learning into Our Work and Everyday Lives.

Series 1:
Pre-Contact & Early History

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

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

Series 4:
Now What - Incorporating Reconciliation Learning into Our Work and Everyday Lives

Kepmitelsi: Being Two-Spirit in a Colonial World

The NS NFP COVID-19 Coalition hosted John R. Sylliboy on June 21st. Watch the recording of that session here!

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

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Recorded Sessions

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

Series 1: Pre-Contact & Early History

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)

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

Myths & Truths About Indigenous Rights

With Trevor Bernard

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

This session was recorded live on Monday, September 28, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Margaret Poulette
Rosie Sylliboy

Residential Schools: One Person's Story of Survival

With Elder Margaret Poulette & Rosie Sylliboy

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

Rosie Sylliboy
Manager, Mawita’mk & Margaret's Daughter

This session was recorded live on Monday, September 30, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

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

With Elder Albert Marshall & Nadine LeFort

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

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

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, October 6, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls

With Denise Pictou Maloney

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

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Residential Schools: Moving Forward

With Senator Dan Christmas

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

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

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

Stephen Augustine Photo
Chief Andrea Paul Bio Photos

Mi'kmaw Governance Systems

With Stephen Augustine & Andrea Paul

Prior to 1876, the Mi'kmaw people relied on the Mi'kmaw Grand Council as its primary form of governance. The Indian Act implemented an elected system of governance in First Nation communities. Today, the Canadian government does not recognize the Mi'kmaq Grand Council but positions authority with elected Chiefs and Councils. This webinar will discuss Indigenous governance systems and how nations are establishing new means of forming self-governance and self-determination.

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

Andrea Paul
Chief, Pictou Landing First Nation

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Elizabeh Creemo (DLJ Photo)
Rebecca Scirocco

Culturally Relevant Education

With Elizabeth Creemo & Rebecca Scirocco

Formal education in Mi’kmaw communities was previously governed by and imposed upon communities by Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. The education delivered was from a colonial lens, and offered little-to-no culturally-relevant curriculum or programming to Indigenous students. This has led to statistically low graduation rates in education among Canada’s Indigenous communities. This webinar will explore the importance of Mi’kmaw communities having jurisdiction over their own education, the implementation of Indigenous history and knowledge throughout all of Canada’s education curriculum, as well as the role education plays in the Truth and Reconciliation’s 94 Calls to Action.

Elizabeth Creemo
Director of Education, Eskasoni School Board

Rebecca Scirocco
Wellness Coordinator, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

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Rosie Sylliboy

Language: The Heart of Culture

With Phyllis Googoo, Michelle Marshall-Johnson, and Rosie Sylliboy

Language is indistinguishable from culture and vice versa. The way an individual moves through the world is dictated by the perspective offered through their language. This webinar will discuss of the importance of language to sense of self, your perspective on the world around you, and preservation of, and connection with, culture.

Phyllis Googoo
Elder, Mi’kmawey Debert Elders’ Advisory Council

Michelle Marshall-Johnson
Director of Mi'kmaw Language & Culture, Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey

Rosie Sylliboy
Manager, Mawita’mk

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, December 8, 2020 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Series 4: Now What - Incorporating Reconciliation Learning into Our Work and Everyday Lives

Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit

With Dr. Marie Battiste

Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit speaks to the decolonization movement and resurgence within Indigenous communities, the history of resistance and refusal to Eurocentric colonialism, and the beauty of learning in and through Indigenous knowledges.  Mi’kmaw educator Marie Battiste unpacks the layers of inequities of colonization, the struggles for equity, diversity and inclusion and the needed structural and philosophical difference when decolonization is fully understood as a way to ameliorate all inequities and nourishing the learning spirit understood as the educational muse.

Dr. Marie Battiste
Professor Emerita, University of Saskatchewan

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Reconciliation Action Acceleration: From Head, Heart and Hand

With Annie Battiste

Annie Battiste’s presentation on May 11 2021 will utilize anti-racism theory and a rights-based reconciliation framework to outline the historical context of reconciliation in a Canada, what the term can mean to multiple sectors, and provide solid examples of ways that organizations can create actionable change within reconciliation for individuals and collectives

Annie Battiste

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 1:00pm (ADT)

Cheryl knockwood
Chris Googoo
Annika Voltan

Going Forth

With Cheryl Knockwood, Christopher Googoo, & Annika Voltan

This session wraps up the 15teen-part webinar series that began in June 2020 and invites a range of guest speakers to provide their reflections and key learnings from this Journey so far. We’ll also be asking for their insights and advice for change makers to think about to create genuine shifts in the ways we work in organizations, on boards, and as communities that we collectively create a step closer towards reconciliation through right relationship with Indigenous people and communities.

Cheryl Knockwood 
Governance Coordinator, Membertou First Nation

Christopher Googoo 
Chief Operating Officer at Ulnooweg

Annika Voltan
Executive Director, Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia

This session was recorded live on Tuesday, May 25, 2021 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!