Learning from Knowledge Keepers of Mi’kma’ki

Learning from knowledge keepers of Mi’kma’ki is the focus and title of a new course being offered at Cape Breton University (CBU) starting in January 2016.  Responding to the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), this course will provide CBU students and the public with an opportunity to learn about the rich cultures, ceremonies, history, knowledge, ways of knowing and wisdom of Mi’kmaq people in Unama’ki and Mi’kma’ki.  The course will be facilitated by Stephen Augustine, Dean of Unama’ki College and Aboriginal Learning at CBU and a Hereditary Chief on the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, as well as invited guests from throughout Mi’kma’ki.

“One of the recommendations made by the TRC was that institutions of higher education should work with Indigenous people to start to incorporate Indigenous knowledge and ways of learning into curriculum.  This is something that CBU has been doing for more than 40 years.  This course builds on CBU’s history of success in Aboriginal teaching, learning and research and signals our continued commitment to the indigenization of the university. The plan is for this course to one day be mandatory for all CBU students,” says Augustine.

Topics covered in the course will include the Mi’kmaq Creation Story, oral history and traditions, Indigenous governance, the ongoing legacies of residential schools, the impacts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and moving from challenges to strengths and resilience within Mi’kmaq communities.

This course will be offered through a dialogical approach, incorporating talking/sharing circles into each class to allow for participant engagement and to resonate with Indigenous ways of teaching and learning. Participants can engage with this course through several avenues:

  1. As a for-credit in-class CBU course (requires course registration and the completion of academic assignments).
  2. As an interested participant, open to all CBU students, staff, faculty, and the general public.
  3. As an open-access, online course, through live-streaming technologies (for-credit option available with registration).

The course is 12 weeks in duration and is being offered on Mondays at 6 p.m.