The Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government would like to introduce Culture Coordinator, Audrey Isaac and Mi’gmaw Revitalization Coordinator, Mary-Beth Wysote. They are both new to their roles on the revitalization team, but among their impressive educational, cultural, and artistic backgrounds, they already have plenty of ideas when it comes to revitalizing culture and language in the community.
Isaac is from Listuguj and has twin daughters, Missy, and Vanessa. She has several years of experience in business and event planning. She has been doing freelance work with the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government and has coordinated and volunteered with many groups in the community, like the annual Pow Wow. She loves painting, writing, drumming, and practicing cultural spiritualism. “My passion is healing and culture,” said Isaac. The Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government reached out to Isaac specifically to take on the role of Culture Coordinator in the community.
Wysote is also from Listuguj. Her parents are John-Loren Wysote (Blue) and Meredith Bernard from Gesgapegiag. She is passionate when it comes to arts and attended the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design for the Aboriginal Visual Arts Program where she studied Black Ash Basketry. She had the inspiration to learn her language and joined the Mi’gmaq Adult Immersion Program, and from here she assisted family members in learning the language and volunteered at Alaqsite’w Gitpu School helping students learn. Wysote is currently enrolled in the Cape Breton University Bachelor of Arts Community Studies program.
The team has started off strong in their roles and has been brainstorming many projects and programs for Mi’gmaw and Culture Revitalization. Their first project is the Mi’gmawei Mimajuaqan event happening on July 1st in Gesgapegiag. This event is an opportunity to share, celebrate and learn. This event is expected to continue for the next couple of years.
Other projects that are in motion are the Mi’gmaq Mentor Apprentice program which is expected to start back up in the Fall. Language Home Kits that contain resources to start learning the language (Dictionaries, flashcards, etc.) and stories in the Wi’gatign featuring Mi’gmaq speakers in the community.
The program is about celebrating and embracing culture and language. It’s about making it a more natural, everyday part of our lives. Isaac said, “It’s connecting our communities, revitalizing our culture, and bringing it back.” The program is not a political initiative, it’s strictly cultural and it’s about encouraging others. Wysote said, “I think for some people it might be intimidating to want to learn Mi’gmaq or want to learn their culture, so what we want to do is make it more accessible to as many people as we can in the community.”
We look forward to seeing what the team has in store for future programs and events in the community!
By Ann Marie Jacques