Community Profile

of

Membertou


Created by the Grade 5/6 Students of Membertou Elementary


History of Membertou

Membertou was created in 1925 when the Native people were forced off of their land which was originally on Kings Road, and was known as the Kings Road Reserve.

Some of the last people to move to Membertou from the Kings Road Reserve were Noel Moore, Louis Smith, and John McEwan.

The first chief of our new reserve in Membertou was Ben Christmas. He fought, to try and keep his people on the original Kings Road Reserve.

Currently, Membertou is located in the city of Sydney, just off of Alexandra Street. Our numbers have continued to grow and currently we have just about 1000 people living in Membertou.

Membertou Chief and Council

About Us (researched and quoted from the www.membertou.ca web site)

Governance

There are nine elected councillors. The jobs of the council are similar to the chief. They assist the chief in decision making on the behalf of the community.
Chief: Terrance Paul
Council: Darrell Bernard
  Daniel Christmas
Dean Christmas
Julie Christmas
Roy Gould
David Marshall
Buster Matthews
Ike Paul
Lawrence Paul
(Source: http://www.membertou.ca/governance.htm)

Education in Membertou

The Membertou School, is named Wallace Bernard Memorial Centre/Elementary School. The school is in four different locations, but very close together. The grade primary is attached to the Wallace Bernard Memorial Centre, Preschool and the grade one class is located in the senior center. The Grades two to six is located in a whole different building, there is also an alternate Grade 10 class. The preschool has 34 students, and they are in two different programs K3 and K4. There is a total of 80 students attending elementary school and 34 students at the preschool level.

The Director of Education is Darren Googoo. The Education Counsellors are Hazel Herney, Elementary, Marsha Googoo, Junior High and Post Secondary, Jenny MacDonald – High School. The Principal of the School is Josephine LaPorte, Vice-Principal is Peter Paul. The Administrator of the Wallace Bernard Memorial Centre is Anita Doucette. The elementary School has one phys. Ed. Teacher, a resource teacher, a Mi’kmaq language teacher, and one teacher aide, there are ten teachers. The preschool has three early childhood teachers and one teacher aide.

The Director of Education, Darren Googoo, oversees all the financial budgets of the schools, from the preschool to University. He oversees all the educating staff of the Elementary school, counselors and the preschool. He is the direct line to the Chief and Council, when there are major decision to be made he must take them to the Council. The Chief and Council are always a where of what is happening with the education system of First Nations.

Mi'kmaq Education

Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey is the central education organization for Native bands. They help bands administer and manage their educational needs. In 1999, history was made when the jurisdiction of education was returned to the Mi’kmaq people.

Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey provides services to primary, elementary and secondary education. Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey reports to a board of directors which consist of 9 member chiefs.

Their office is located in Membertou at 115 Membertou Street, and they have a staff of 8 people.

The Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk provides First Nations Schools in Atlantic Canada with computers, technical and content support. They also have monthly contests which are open to all schools. The staff includes Kevin Burton and Laura Bernard. Their office is located at Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey on Membertou Street in Membertou.

Businesses in Membertou

Business Name: JR and Bucks
Owner: Donald Marshall, Jr.
Address: 22 Bradley St.
Phone: (902) 539-2277
Fax Number: none
Store Hours: 8am to 11pm
# of Employees: 6
Service: confectioneries (tax-free)

Business Name: Membertou Cigarette Shop
Owner: Membertou
Address: 111 Membertou Street
Phone: (902) 539-0358
Fax Number: (902) 539-6645
Store Hours: 9am to 4:30 (Mon-Fri)
# of Employees: 1
Service: Sell tobacco products to businesses and community members. (Tax-free)

Business Name: Edna's Antiques and Collectibles
Owner: Edna Francis
Address: Bradley St.
Phone: (902) 539-7772
Fax Number: none
Store Hours: 9am-6pm Daily
# of Employees: 1 full-time and 2 part-time
Service: Antiques and collectibles (tax-free)

Business Name: Kabatay’s 180
Owner: Celia Kabatay
Address: 45 Gallagher St.
Phone: (902) 564-4414
Fax Number: none
Store Hours: 9am to 9pm
# of Employees: 2
Service: confectionery items, crafts, and hairstyling (tax-free)

Business Name: Real Pizza
Owner: Robin Googoo
Manager: Mark Doucette
Address: 110 Membertou St.
Phone: (902) 539-1911
Fax Number: none
Store Hours: 9am-12am (Mon-Fri) Sat: 3pm-12am
# of Employees: 8
Service: Pizza, Fast-food, sorted tobacco products and delivery service (tax-free)

Business Name: Herneys Convenience
Owner: Charlie Herney
Address: 127 Membertou St.
Phone: unlisted
Fax Number: none
Store Hours: 9am- 10pm
# of Employees: 2
Service: confectioneries (tax-free)

Business Name: Moore’s Hardwood Flooring
Owner: Barry Moore
Address: 164 Membertou St.
Phone: (902) 539-7645
Fax Number: none
Store Hours: 8am-4:30pm daily
Service: installation of floor, and refinishing.
Products: Flooring Products

Business Name: Gordon Christmas Barber shop
Owner: Gordon Christmas
Address: 2 Maillard St.
Phone: (902) 539-3532
Fax Number: None
Store Hours: Open Daily
# of Employees: 1
Service: Barbering, hair styling and tobacco products. (tax-free)

Business Name: Mi’kmaq Gas Bar
Owner: Robin Googoo
Address: 101 Membertou St.
Phone: (902) 539-3121
Fax Number: (902) 562-8216
Store Hours: 8am-10pm (Mon-Fri) 10am-10pm(Sat) 10am-8pm (sun)
# of Employees: 12
Service: home heating fuel, fuel, banking machine, payphone, Atlantic lottery, and confectionery products.

Business Name: Caribou Marsh Enterprises Ltd.
Owner: Membertou Band Council
Manager: Steve Buckland
Address: 111 Membertou St.
Phone: (902) 564-6466
Fax Number: (902) 539-6645
Store Hours: 8:30am- 4:30 pm

In 1982, the Membertou Band Council established an independent company called Caribou Marsh Enterprises Ltd. It was established for the purpose of construction management. This included the installation of water, sewer, and road construction. Caribou March later expanded into the construction of residential housing, multi-residential housing, commercial buildings, wood producing and forest management.

Important Jobs in Membertou

Membertou jobs

Buildings in Membertou

Membertou Band Office - This building houses all the different departments that help the community of Membertou. The Chief, and council are responsible for this building.

Membertou Health Center - This building is on Membertou Street. This building is used by people who are not feeling well and must see a doctor or nurse. Medicine and needles are given here. This building is looked after by nurse Tanya Gould and Louise Paul.

Membertou Police Station - This building is located on Membertou Street. It has jail cells, that keep people who break the law and are arrested. This building is looked after by the members of the Unimaki Tribal Police Force.

Membertou Elementary School and Wallace Bernard Center - These are two important buildings in Membertou. It is here where the children of Membertou go to school. The schools are looked after by Director of Education Darren Googoo and Principal Josephine LaPorte.

Ceremonies

We here in Membertou are very lucky to have a link to our past. Weekly ceremonies are held on Gallagher Street. People from the community meet once a week for a traditional pipe ceremony.

Also in Membertou, we have talking circles, sweat lodges, naming ceremonies, healing ceremonies. We also sing sacred songs, pray together, carry medicine bundles, make traditional medicines, as well as drumming.

We are very lucky to have the “ Sons of Membertou”. This is a group of men from the community who get together and drum. Last year the grade 4,5&6 class was lucky enough to have one of the members come into the school every week to teach the students about drumming.

Some people in Membertou go to the Sundance in Manitoba. We often go to other communities for Pow Wows.

Elders of Membertou

There are about 25 elders in the Community of Membertou that are over the age of 60. The oldest resident in Membertou is Mary Jane Doucette, who is 85 years old.

She moved to Membertou 62 years ago, one year before she got married. She met her husband in Membertou and got married in 1939 and has lived here ever since. She has three children, two daughters and one son.

When she first moved to Membertou, there were only three streets. The streets did not have names but today they are called Membertou, Maillard, and Gallagher Streets and only one family lived on what is now Katerie Street. Some people lived further in the woods like near the graveyard and even past that. At the time there were no roads and no streets leading to some of the houses. They weren’t even really houses because some of them were shacks. People had large families and sometimes several families lived in one house. When she first got married and even after she had her first child, she lived with her aunt Elizabeth.

There was no running water and they had to use outhouses to go to the bathroom and they got their water from wells.

People helped each other more and lived as one big family. Everyone knew who their family and relatives were. They knew extended family members even if they were from other reserves. When relatives and friends came to town, they did not stay in hotels but stayed in other people’s homes. All the reserves treated each other like one big family and helped each other out. There was no competition between the reserves.

People trusted each other doors were never locked. People could leave home for months at a time. Nothing was touched or missing.

When she was a little girl, she couldn’t go to school and they walked for miles to go to church. They would be in the back of the church where they would stand. They count not kneel or sit and then they would walk back home. She said that sometimes they would walk nine miles to go to church.

Everybody on the reserve spoke Micmac and English was used only off the reserve.

There were no doctors and our people used Indian medicine. Her grandfather never went to a doctor until he was much older then complained that he started to feel sicker after he started going to the doctor’s.

Everything was shared and people helped each other out. People helped build each other’s houses and helped paint them. They did not expect to get paid.

Food was always shared. Fish and meat were given out to everyone by the hunters and fishermen. When my father and uncles fished, no one complained and they shared with everyone even non-Natives.

Some of our people were poorer and Mary Jane’s husband, Frank, would go out and buy bags of coal and deliver it to some of the other families because he felt sorry for the children.

She says the things that made us Mi’kmaq were the important things like traditional values. Love, caring, sharing, honesty, respect, pride, dignity, courage, humility, wisdom and truth were lived each and every day.

Authors of "Membertou Profile"

Justin Christmas Grade 6
Annie Doucette Grade 6
James Doucette Grade 5
Kelly Johnson Grade 5
Lyle LaPorte Grade6
Eldon Matthews Grade 5
Scott McEwan Grade 5
Paulina Meader Grade 5
Artie Paul Grade 5
Ricco Paul Grade 5
Jessica Christmas Grade 5
Edwin Kabatay Grade 6
Kalin Paul Grade 5

A letter of thanks

Many thanks go out to the community members, chief and council, business owners, elders, educators, parents and everyone else who helped make this project possible. Without your support and guidance, this project would never have happened.

As a teacher in this community, it is wonderful to see a community that is so close knit. Everyone is willing to pitch in and lend a hand. Last year I had the privilege of attending a ceremony held in Membertou. It was a very enlightening experience, and one that I would gladly attend again, and would recommend to everyone.

Since I began to work in Membertou, in March of 2000, I have been made to feel very welcome. The children at Membertou Elementary are all very special and unique children and it has been my pleasure to teach them, and I look forward to teaching here for years to come.

This project came to light, as a contest from the Help Desk. In the end, it has come to mean more than a prize. It has helped the children of Membertou to learn and realize what Membertou is all about. They have learned that it is not merely a place where they live, but it is a place of safety, and of extreme importance to their identity and culture.

Thank You Again,

Kris Boutilier
Grade 5/6 Teacher

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