The first of four traditional Mi’kmaq Learning Circles, entitled “Ego to Eco: Learning the Mi’kmaq calendar to Experience Human and Ecological Health’s Interdependence,” will be held at the Truro Public Library on November 7th from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Reading Room. Catherine Anne Martin will present thoughts on the Mi’kmaq teachings on the interdependence of environmental and human health as exemplified in the Mi’kmaw traditional calendar of thirteen moons that focuses on the natural events of our climate cycle and what other species are doing in each moon cycle.
This focus on the “other” helps humans to be more aware of the ecological needs of all species and how we are a part of those same needs. Going from our own “ego wants” to “eco needs,” through exposure to indigenous cultural reality, is necessary to change our ways in the cause of the planet’s and our own health. Unmitigated destructive polluting and resource extraction practices, along with our own misplaced focus on egocentric “wants,” has led us to environmental degradation and climate instability. Such issues as wellness, motivation,
Thanks to Catherine Martin’s gracious gift to lead the 2018 Halifax circles and partial funding from the Halifax Community Health Board of the Nova Scotia Health Authority, this new series has been extended to the Truro region through the co-sponsorship of the Truro Public Library and will continue each month (December 5, January 9 and February 5) at the same location.
NSEN, with its revitalized new board chaired by Ph.D. Engineering student, Chris White, and the crucial in-kind support of one of Truro’s favourite gathering place has agreed to host Mi’kmaq circles in order to facilitate a more ecologically and inclusive way for people to meet and face our fragile future on the planet. The series looks at components of human health—fitness, wellbeing, motivation and direction through the prism of environmental elements and the eco-centric Mi’kmaq Calendar.
For millennia the unceded Mi’kmaw territory (what is now called the Atlantic Provinces) was sustained by an eco-centric philosophy of a land-based consciousness. The inclusivity and egalitarianism of this philosophy is exemplified by the Mi’kmaq talking circle tradition, an ideal setting for all people living in this time and space to come together to learn how to best survive spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. The circle format focuses on deep listening in a respectful way to the circle leader and then to each other as a sacred talking stick is passed, allowing each participant to share if he or she so wishes.
By acknowledging that 1/ putting the needs for a healthy environment before egoic greed, 2/ considering what the fullness of the natural world (of which human animals are a part) offers in each month through the perspective of the Mi’kmaw calendar and 3/ discussing the challenges of being healthy in a society that most often ignores that nature is in control, will integrate humans to see that we must put nature first and create the political will to protect our environment above everything.
NSEN encourages a repeat of the broad spectrum of last year’s circles’ representation during which Mi’kmaq, Anishnabe, Cree and Haida First Nations, Inuit people from fifteen countries, all ages, genders and economic backgrounds, long time residents of Halifax, new Canadians, professionals from the arts and sciences and persons of all abilities came together to listen to the Circle leader and then to each other.
Alanis Obomsawin, a renowned Abenaki filmmaker, singer, artist and activist, relayed this pithy and poignant indigenous wisdom: “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”
Media Contact: Joanne Light, firstname.lastname@example.org, 902-429-1571
SCHEDULE AND CONTENT OF 2018 TRURO MI’KMAQ TALKING CIRCLES
Hosted by Catherine Martin
B.A., Theatre Arts (Dalhousie U.), M. Ed., Media Literacy (Mount Saint Vincent U.) and Member of the Order of Canada and of the Millbrook Mi’kmaw Community in Truro is an independent producer, director, writer, facilitator, communications consultant, drummer and the first woman Mi’kmaw filmmaker from the Atlantic Region.
Mi’kmaq teachings understand human and ecological health are interdependent. Ego to eco-centricity improves fitness, wellbeing, direction and motivation.
Schedule of Events
Wed., November 7 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Martin introduces“Keptekewiku” (frost month) to explore humans, the elements—water, air, earth and fire—and other species’ relations at a time when we may fear more anxiety for the winter to come.
Wed., December 5 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Martin introduces “Kesikewiku” (winter month) to explore relations in the dark and cold time. If we have an unstable climate, how does that affect species in winter?
Wed., January 9 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Martin introduces “Penamujuiku” (frost fish runs’ month) to explore relations when climate change disrupts other species and our own patterns of survival?
Tues., February 5 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Martin introduces “Apuknajit” (snow blinding month) to explore relations when we are blinded by the enormity of environmental and climate health issues and don’t know which way to turn. How can a respect for and understanding of Mother Nature help us?