The achievements and leadership of Mi’kmaq elders and youth in Nova Scotia were honoured in a Treaty Day ceremony today, Oct. 1.
The awards are presented each Oct. 1, Treaty Day, the official start to Mi’kmaq History Month.
“Treaty Day celebrates the importance of Mi’kmaq culture and heritage in Nova Scotia, and recognizes the important role and tremendous contributions of Mi’kmaq elders and youth through the Treaty Day Awards,” said Catherine Blewett, deputy minister of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs. “These awards celebrate the elders who are making sure Mi’kmaq traditions live on into the future and the Mi’kmaq youth who are taking an active role in the well-being and future prosperity of their communities and the entire province.”
Becky Julian of Indian Brook and Joe B. Marshall of Eskasoni were presented with The Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Elder Award, for those nominated by the Aboriginal community for contributions to communities over their lifetimes.
Ms. Julian is an avid craftsperson, creating one-of-a-kind pieces, including basketing making, quill work, leather work, beading and sewing. She has taught Mi’kmaq language and culture for more than 30 years.
Mr. Marshall, Mi’kmaq rights advocate, and veteran, has a diploma in Community Development from the Coady Institute at St. Francis Xavier University and a bachelor of laws from Dalhousie.
He is a founder of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians and the Mi’kmaq College Institute at Cape Breton University and has promoted Mi’kmaq rights and social justice. In 2011, his impact was recognized with the Order of Nova Scotia.
Since 1997, the Chief Noel Doucette Memorial Youth Award has been presented to those nominated for educational achievements as well as contributions to their communities. The 2013 award recipients, are Kolby Blair of Acadia First Nation and Deliah Farrell of Waycobah.
Ms. Blair, graduated from high school with a certificate in academic excellence and a scholarship to Mount Saint Vincent University. She also dedicated her after-school hours to working with youth.
Ms. Farrell is an honour roll student, encourages and motivate youth in her community, and promotes health and wellness. She won a gold medal at the 2013 Mi’kmaq Summer Games and was among the top 35 candidates of the Black Bear Aboriginal pre-military program. In 2012, she was one of 125 youth selected from across Canada to participate in the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa.
The Sister Dorothy Moore Scholarship celebrates and supports Mi’kmaq students studying full time in a recognized teacher certification/education program. This year’s recipients are Ashley R. Julian of Indian Brook, Luisa Martin of Millbrook, Rayana Googoo of Waycobah, and Jasmine Johnson of Millbrook and Potlotek. All are education students at St. Francis Xavier University.
This year’s Donald Marshall Senior Scholarship Fund recipients are Jane Francis from Eskasoni First Nation and Rebecca Scirocca-Paul of Membertou. Ms. Francis received the Graduate Award to pursue her second degree, a bachelor of social work. Ms. Scirocca-Paul plans to focus on Aboriginal education. Both attend Cape Breton University.
For more information on Treaty Day and Mi’kmaq History Month, visit www.mikmaqhistorymonth.com.