“Healing and reconciliation,” is how Elder Albert Marshall put it after the two day workshop held by Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative(CEPI). The Elders of Unama’ki gathered with CEPI in a workshop designed to clarify CEPI’s vision for a management plan for the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed.
“Reconciliation must begin before the two groups can begin healing. Throughout the workshop CEPI never acknowledged that there was a problem,” Albert explains. “If CEPI is serious about integrating Mi’kmaq knowledge and thinking in the management plan and process, all the non-native partners need to learn more about Mi’kmaq ways.”
The workshop was a response to questions that arose in the Unama’ki First Nations communities on how traditional Mi’kmaq values and knowledge were being included in the management plan process.
The first day had members of the CEPI committee explaining their roles and expertise. Representatives from government, university and the private sector talked about their contributions to the process and their committment to a healthy Bras d’Or Lakes. The second day, participants broke into small groups to address several questions.
“Unama’ki Elders are sincere in their wish to see the CEPI process succeed, but the next step must include traditional Mi’kmaq knowledge in a meaningful way. Time will tell.”