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Raising the Villages Wacobah, Wagmatcook and municipalities on board

-by Rankin MacDonald

    It was Reconciliation Day at Inverness County Council on Monday when representatives from both Waycobah and Wagmatcook joined with the councillors to adopt the draft regulation, Raising the Villages.
    The opening paragraph reads: “We, the people have come together to contribute our collective leadership to the Mawromi w’jit Mijuwajijk Raising the Villages movement. We do hereby support the idea/belief that our children are the ‘North Star’ to guide our journey to ensure every child gets the best start in life.
    Councillor Jim Mustard spoke for county council when he said:
    “We would like to acknowledge that as ‘Treaty people’ with a shared history together on the traditional and ancestral land of the Mi'kmaq, we are embarking on a journey of reconciliation to become the Canada we need to be for all our children and the seven generations to come.
    “We recognize the colonization of  Unarnaki and the many tragic and damaging affects the Mi'kmaq people experienced; including small pox, dislocation and expulsion from traditional lands, re-location to reserves, residential schools, unfair policing, unequal health care, education, and child-welfare systems, and the exploitation of resources.

    “And yet here we are today with our Mi'kmaq brothers and sisters recognizing how they have brought a renewal and revitalization to their language, culture, and economy and as stewards of the land, air, and water of Unamaki.
    “It is our time now to recognize our shared history, learn from our past, and with grace and understanding grow the relationships, friendships, and partnerships our children deserve.
    “ And as the ancestors of the Mi’kmaq, Gaelic, Acadian, Loyalist, Dutch, and all the others who have come to call this beautiful place home, we make our commitment to grow together and support the journey towards the North Star of every child ‘Mijuwajijk’ having a ‘whole village’ to help them grow and learn.
    “We are very honoured and grateful to be part of this celebration today to mark the coming together in friendship and partnerships with those who have been here long before us in Unamaki.”
    Pauline Isadore conducted a smudging ceremony on all who were present, the women sang the Honour Song and the Indian Bay Drummers filled the chamber with their music as it has never before been filled with their Gathering Song.
    Robert Bernard told how Councillor Mustard came to them with a vision for a better future together with more cultural understanding, a journey together with the knowledge and vision of both communities.
    “We are sharing a path forward,” said Bernard. “We all sign on to this guiding document.”
    The Mayor of Port Hawkesbury, Brenda Chisholm-Beaton read the first paragraph of the declaration: “To engage in conversations that create broader understanding of the importance of the early years and move us towards planning, prioritizing that align our strategic partnerships, investments and actions aimed at improving the healthy development of all children, families, and communities.”
    Councillor Perla MacLeod of Victoria County: “To look at what it takes to provide welcoming spaces in each community that connect our relationships, services, and programs for all children from the prenatal period onwards.”
    Public Heath nurse Christine Villneff: “To develop strategic and collaborative partnerships between individuals, families, organizations, businesses, and the public sector around the mutual goal of creating and sustaining welcoming community spaces that are universally accessible.”
    Diane MacKinnon and baby Hector: “To foster the growth of our unique cultural identities, history, language, and the richness of traditional extended family support networks.”
    Warden Betty Anne MacQuarrie: “To gain support from all levels of government, the private sector, and community organizations to ensure we sustain the resources needed to provide equity from the start for all our children.
    “With this in mind we, the people, have come together to support the Raising the Villages  movement and call on all parties across our region to work together with us to reach our goals.
    “Dated this 3rd day of April 2017 in Port Hood, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, in the ancestral and traditional territory of the Mi'kmaw people of Unamaki.”
    Council has placed $13,000 in the bank to help make the declaration come to life.    





Oran Dan - The Inverness Oran -

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