Students arrived on the morning of August 7th to the St. FX campus. After a welcome to the week, including the Honour Song sung by Andrea Currie and smudging, the afternoon involved learning with Andrea. She spoke about the ways colonization - then and now - disrupted Mi'kmaw and Indigenous peoples' healthy relationships with land, food, and medicine across Turtle Island.
On the second day of Weja'tu'k kina' masutiminu maqamikewiktuk, the group met with Colleen Cameron of Bee Cee Farms for a learning exercise related to health and wellness. Colleen then led the way to her farm in Heatherton, just outside the town of Antigonish, where she spoke to the students about her experience farming blueberries. We also spent some time picking blueberries.
The mid-week morning began with a sharing circle for which Elder Albert Marshall joined us. It was an opportunity to slow down amidst a busy schedule and make time for reflection by the group as a whole, but most importantly, to hear from the students about their stories and reflections.
After lunch catered by local business, Pacha Mama, the group travelled to Orangedale to spend the rest of the day with the Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources' Nikani Awtiken Camp for Mi'kmaw youth.
On Friday of the Summer Institute, our co-learning community travelled to Pomquet with Tuma Young who led the group on a medicine walk along the Pomquet Acadian Trail. Tuma identified and told stories about the uses, histories, and importance of plants and medicines growing in the forests and along the shore throughout the trail. After the walk the group enjoyed a traditional Acadian lunch at Chez Deslauriers - a seasonal restaurant located at the trailhead.
On our last evening together, the group heard from Nadine Bernard about her journey to develop Slow Cooked Dreams - her business that is an educational program focused on food education and preparation - and the additional opportunities related to Mi'kmaw food sovereignty that have grown out of it. Appropriately, the group made jam and dinner together in St. FX's Nutrition Lab.