An Elders Symposium (Stephenville) and a Cultural Symposium (Grand Falls) were hosted by the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation and Cultural Foundation this past year, a first for the newly established Foundation. Each of these events were well attended and received positive reviews from participants.
Tyrone Mulrooney, participant in the Cultural Symposium, commented on the positive feeling of the event “a big thank you to everyone for the day that we shared together. I left Grand Falls-Windsor feeling very positive, encouraged and feeling a sense of belonging and pride. It was good to see old friends, make new ones, and feel the energy of the talking circle.”
Colleen Paul, who works with Qalipu First Nation shared in a similar experience. “It was a truly amazing day. It was very informative and at times very emotional. We are all born to make a difference and in order to do this we needed to be informed and this is just the beginning. My ancestors were very active in our modern day communities and my only heartache is that they did not live long enough to celebrate recognition. BUT, throughout the day I was reminded of my ancestors and could feel their presence in the room. Here we are, beginning a process to celebrate, learn, teach and revive our Mi’kmaq culture.”
During winter and spring 2014 volunteers were interviewed and gave generously of their time and knowledge as Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation updated the Traditional Use Study (TUS). This study contains valuable data on land use for hunting, fishing and gathering, sacred ceremonies, and edible plants and berries. The compilation of this data is an invaluable resource and we thank all volunteers who participated. In the near future we will see an additional update and expansion to the TUS with interviews planned for the Stephenville and Flat Bay areas. We value your contributions.
Over this past year we’ve hosted, supported and partnered with various organizations and groups to offer Culture and Heritage School Outreach Programs that include: curriculum delivery, cultural teachings, drum making and mini powwow. Our planning committee met recently to begin planning for the current school year. Interest in the program has grown since its inaugural delivery at Humber and Sacred Heart Elementary schools last year and, this year two new schools have been added to the delivery schedule. Kevin Barnes, Vice-Chief of the Qalipu First Nation, and volunteer with the education outreach program reports, “We did our first session at C.C. Loughlin and St. Gerard’s Elementary this past Thursday, January 29. This was the first of a six week series with those schools so the focus was on introductions, getting to know one another, and what will come in the weeks ahead.”