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A history lesson from our first people

Trevor Gould from the Eastern Eagles Singers of Millbrook dances during a ceremony celebrating Indigenous culture at Ottawa House in Parrsboro. Students from schools in Parrsboro and Advocate participated in the celebration that also featured a beach walk with Gerald Gloade. For more, see story and photos on Page A05.
Trevor Gould from the Eastern Eagles Singers of Millbrook dances during a ceremony celebrating Indigenous culture at Ottawa House in Parrsboro. Students from schools in Parrsboro and Advocate participated in the celebration that also featured a beach walk with Gerald Gloade. For more, see story and photos on Page A05.

Students treated to aboriginal presentation at Ottawa House

PARRSBORO – They’re still here, they are proud, and eager to share their culture.

That was the message from Mi’kmaw visitors during a recent presentation at Ottawa House Museum for students from Parrsboro and Advocate schools.

The students were treated to a beach walk led by Gerald Gloade, then created their own dream catchers and sampled food before performing their own play written by Bernice Byers.

They were then treated to a presentation of Mi’kmaw drummers and dancers from the Eastern Eagle Singers of Millbrook, who shared some of their songs and stories to the attentive audience.

“The students were great, very receptive,” said Brian Knockwood, after the presentation.

He said he wanted the children to learn the importance of the history, but also to know that the Mi’kmaw are still here. Their talks of history focused on happy times, but also touched on darker periods, such as the residential school system.

“No matter what, despite our history and injustices that happened to our people, racism has no place here today,” he said. “We should all be treated as equals, and the Creator put us here because of that.”

Knockwood said he finds it easier to get their message through to young people than adults, as racism is learned behaviour.

“We’re all born pure, and racism is taught, either from parents or peers,” he said. “Kids don’t learn that on their own. You have to catch them at an early age and teach them about different cultures.”

The event was hosted by the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society, with support from the Canada 150 Fund, with cooperation from Advocate and Parrsboro schools, which brought about 320 students for the day.

“It was phenomenal,” said historical society president Harriet McCready. “It was the perfect idea to do something about raising awareness of Mi’kmaw culture… I could not be more pleased with the way it went. Even the weather was beautiful.”

andrew.wagstaff@amherstnews.ca

Twitter: @ADNandrew

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