Decolonizing Our Education

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Jacob Gale is the Treaty Education Lead at the Listuguj Education Training and Employment Centre (LETE). Here he works and collaborates with a team featuring, Jeanette Henry, Paige Isaac, and Patrick Wilmot.

Often when people think of the term, “Treaty Education” they will associate it solely with learning about treaties, Gale explained it’s much more than that, “Treaties are fundamental and they’re an important part of the work that we do, but there’s also so many other pieces of work that we do under Treaty Education. It’s really about decolonizing our education here at LETE, at AGS, and at other branches of LETE. Treaty education includes our culture, our identity, our well-being, spirituality, all those pieces of who we are as being L’nu – in a way it could be called L’nu Education.”

The Treaty Education team work with teachers and educators in the community to help build a foundation that connects culture to the school curriculum through experimental learning. Gale said that it’s important to include Mi’gmaq culture in our school systems. An example that was given was the building of the sweat lodge, and how there are so many lessons embedded into that process, such as math, literacy, history, ceremony, and a connection to the community and to the elders. Another major program for our community in Treaty Education is Outdoor Education at Alaqsite’w Gitpu School.

The Treaty Education team also works with the youth in the community and helps them learn about who they are and embrace their culture.  Eventually, the youth will become leaders in our community, and it is important that they have a strong sense of belonging. Gale said, “We ask the question, ‘Whose story should we value in education?’ We’re in that business of we are a Mi’gmaq community, we are a Mi’gmaq school, and it’s important that we continue to find ways to embed our stories and our connections to our land, our elders, our ceremonies, in school – so that students understand that, “Hey I’m Mi’gmaq, I’m proud to be Mi’gmaq and I’m proud to be L’nu” They’re Learning so much about who we are in their education journey.”

There are many events and activities in the community that the Treaty Education team helps organize – a few recent events were the Cultural Night and Social Night held at Alaqsite’w Gitpu School in August. Gale mentioned that many students will be attending the Tim Hortons Children’s Camp in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, he also mentioned an upcoming Moose Hunt Camp in the community with the Outdoor Education program.

Gale stated that being part of the Treaty Education program is always fun and exciting and that he is proud to be part of many youths’ cultural and spiritual education journeys.

By Ann Marie Jacques

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