We are a small group of non-status Mi'kmaq youth from Bay St. George, Newfoundland and Labrador and we would like to enter the contest you are sponoring this month.
We decided to create a web site to show how technology is helping us to educate ourselves about the history and culture of the Mi'kmaq people. The story of the Mi'kmaq people of Newfoundland is one of struggle, denial, saddness, and courage. Many of the youth in our groups are just beginning to learn about their history and for the first time are embracing the knowledge, that they come from a proud and talented group of First Nations people.
Until recently there was little communication between the youth in the different bands. The distances between bands in Newfoundland meant that the youth were only meeting once a year at the Annual General Assembly of the Federation of Newfoundland Indians. Now, the new youth coordinator, has helped us to form groups in each of our bands, and developed a web site and MSN group that has opened up the door to something great!!
We can now hold meetings online when necessary, that give us the opportunity to speak to each other about issues that are important to youth. It has given us a place to ask questions, as well as to support each other, when things are not going as they should.
We are making new contacts, learining about the customs and traditions, that were part of our culture and heritage, and had almost been lost to us. Our educational system provides little in the way of history on the Mi'kmaq and our libraries have few books on our people. The internet has enabled us to do research throughout Canada and the world.
We are trying to educate ourselves about our ancestors and to learn their stories. Some of these stories, haunt the history of the Newfoundland Mi'kmaq. The decades of struggle to keep their stories alive was almost lost, but through technology we are finding the ability to revive them and to pass them on to each other.
We plan, in the future, to develop sections on Mi'kmaq traditions that are specific to Newfoundland, on language, and on the family stories and genealogy of our members. Also we are hoping to record both audio and digital photo albums stories, that can be heard and seen, by our own members, as well as the rest of the world.
In order to impress the importance of technology in educating ourselves, we decided to send emails, to the people we felt could make a difference to the funding, that is given for technology by the government. We sent emails to the following people telling them our story and asking them to visit our site:
So far we have received a reply from the Prime Minister's Office. We will be posting our replies to our web page in the near future.
Thank you for the opportunity to join in your contest!
Sarah Wells, Daniel Alexander, Jordan Bennett - Youth Leaders
Adult Mentor Linda Wells
Indian Head First Nations Youth Group
Bay St. George Newfoundland and Labrador