Mi’kmaq Culture and Resilience

Topic Progress:

Introduction

There are currently 13 Mi’kmaw communities, and over 16, 000 Mi’kmaw people, throughout Nova Scotia. Click here for a link showing Mi’kmaw Communities in Nova Scotia and here for to visit the Ta’n Weji-sqalia’tiek: Mi’kmaw Place Names website/map.

Mi’kmaw people have lived through and overcome a wide variety of challenges and traumas.

Throughout, Mi’kmaw people, and Indigenous people as a whole, have demonstrated immense personal and cultural resilience.
Resilience is when people use their strengths to protect themselves in the face of great stressors and/or oppression, and to build a better future for themselves and/or their community.

Mi’kmaq Cultural Values

“Cultural values inform all aspects of life and interactions. Sometimes these values are easily identifiable, other times they are more difficult to discern. The values presented here are not all encompassing, but they represent some of the primary values that guide many Mi’kmaw decisions and practice. Rather than seeing these values as standards, it would be more appropriate to understand them as guiding practice and interactions among people—they are embedded in our stories and oral traditions and passed on from generation to generation.”

- Mi’kmawe’l Tan Teli-kina’muemk/Teaching About the Mi’kmaq

 

Pg20_Mikmaw_Values

- Image courtesy of the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

 

Videos Sharing Examples of Mi'kmaq Culture

Sweat Lodge
Fishing Eel
Drumming 1
Pow Wow
Mikmaq Honor Song

Reflection Activity:

How do these videos demonstrate resilience?  How might victims/survivors use these cultural practices to support their healing? Add your thoughts to your notes using the button.

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The Seven Sacred Teachings

“The traditional concepts of respect and sharing that form the foundation of the Indigenous way of all life are built around the seven sacred teachings. Each teaching honours one of the basic qualities that are necessary for a full and healthy life. Each law is represented by an animal to show the connection between the animal world, the environment, and people.”

- Teachings of the Seven Sacred/Seven Grandfathers, Ontario Native Literacy Coalition

This explanation of the Seven Sacred, or Grandfather, Teachings is from the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) 2012 Community Resource Guide.

  1. To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom
  2. To know love is to know peace
  3. To honour all of creation is to have respect
  4. Bravery is to face the foe with integrity
  5. Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave
  6. Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation
  7. Truth is to know all of these things

Using Language

In the following video Stephen Augustine and Ashlee Cunsolo Willox of Unama’ki College teach the Mi’kmaw Honour song.

cultural resilience