Listuguj was very fortunate to have welcomed Mi’gmaq Senator Brian Francis and his wife, Georgina to our community in early August. Senator Francis was appointed to the Senate of Canada in 2018 as the first person of Mi’gmaq descent in Prince Edward Island. Senator Francis has had many roles under his belt including former Chief in the Abegweit Mi’gmaq Nation and serving as the Aboriginal Coordinator with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
“As the Senator, my role is to advocate for those who are less advantaged in my province and region in Canada,” said Senator Francis. He also stated that his former role as Chief helped him prepare for the duties that come with being the Senator. He stated, “Politics are everywhere. There are politics in the Senate, and there are politics in First Nation communities.”
The visit included a tour held by Chief Darcy Gray and Council members, touring Listuguj facilities – including buildings and departments currently under construction, and meeting with several community members.
The tour began at the Natural Resources building, meeting with the Capital and Infrastructure team. The team provided Senator Francis with in-depth details regarding new developments, funding, and upcoming projects – such as the park on Glitaw Road, Turtle Lodge, and the new Social Services Building. With the Senator’s expertise in the fishing industry, a very impressive discussion with the Director of Natural Resources, Dr. Fred Metallic, and Fisheries Manager, Denny Isaac was had.
The next stop on the tour was Alaqsite’w Gitpu School. Many of the school’s staff were working on projects for the upcoming Pow-Wow, one item, in particular, was intricately crafted cooked curly Birdseye maple boxes designed by students. The Senator was also given a tour of the new Mi’gmaq immersion wing.
A thorough tour of the Listuguj Mi’gmaq Development Centre was given by Associate Director, Jennifer LaBillois-Metallic, highlighting all the courses and services offered in the building.
Senator Francis then visited the Listuguj Training & Education building, with a tour from Post-Secondary Program Officer In-Community, Melissa Drapeau.
Other stops on the tour included the highly anticipated Waqatasg Elder’s Home, the beautiful new Social Services building that is currently under construction, Caplin Road, the Listuguj Community Centre, the Public Works Compost Building, and more.
In conclusion, Senator Francis was impressed by Listuguj, and all current and upcoming projects and developments. He recognized the hard work this community does daily. Senator Francis’s advice to young Mi’gmaq or Indigenous people is, “You can be, or do what you want to do in life if you put your mind to it.”
By Ann Marie Jacques