PICTOU LANDING — Community members, librarians and museum employees gathered in the new Pictou Landing First Nations Fire Department to take part in a reconciliation workshop on Monday.
The audience sat completely silent listening intently all morning to a brief account of Mi’kmaq history from Gerald Gloade, Program Development officer at The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq.
Gloade talked about the geography of Nova Scotia and studies he has worked on to show seams of semi-precious stones that run through the province and how each of these inspired so many of the place names we know today. Gloade also added a bit on how the stories and legends of the Mi’kmaq coincide with the geography of the area and even tell the history of the area that can be proved by the geology of the province.
“Being based on the environment it still plays out,” he said of some of the stories that have been passed down for generations. “It’s having that knowledge and connection to the environment.”
Gloade said he likes talking at schools and teaching children about the history in hopes that it inspires them to think in the Mi’kmaq way of thinking that they are part of the whole life cycle of everything.
“When you think what we do with recycling… I like to teach them that they are part of the cycle of life,” he said. In this way, he hopes his culture will help take care of the Earth and cultivate more awareness about taking care of the planet.
The workshop that took place all day Monday was hosted by the Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library and a few other partners and sponsors to help educate those interested.
“It’s about bringing together these cultural memory institutions about how we do our work and recognizing the truth and reconciliation report,” said Trecia Schell of PARL. The workshop also included a knowledge walk near the beaches in PLFN just before lunchtime where Gloade passed on more of his knowledge to the audience.
“It’s really a grassroots together event,” Schell said. “Just breaking down barriers and having conversations.”