In this issue we introduce you to the Unama’KIDS!

These fourteen Grade 5 students were selected by their teachers to participate in a new UINR project that focuses on natural resources and the environment. One of our goals at UINR is to reach the youth in our communities and work with them to determine what information they need, and to develop innovative ways to get that information to them that will have the most effect.

Rather than simply giving the information to the students, we decided to involve them every step of the way. We believe that if they take an active role in the creation and distribution of the material, we will be more successful in getting our message out.

Our first step was to hold a day-long conference where we focused on the message of respect and the relevance of Mi’kmaq culture, rights, and responsibilities. Students learned through activities and from the stories of facilitators Rochelle Owen and Clifford Paul. Elder Albert Marshall shared his wisdom and respect for the environment and Shauna Gould gave a hands-on lab tour highlighting the application of science in protecting natural resources in the communities.

The students helped us discover the best methods of teaching and the best way to reach them. Some of the top methods they identified for learning included arts and crafts, outdoor activities, action projects, and Elder activities. A clear preference for communicating included MSN chat followed by email, videos/video conference, and outdoor camps.

The Unama’KIDS identified key subjects they were interested in including fishing, wildlife, learning with friends, animals, and weather. Hands-on and outdoor activities, along with high tech communications, were highlighted as key in “thinking of a memorable experience” and in the communication and learning methods suggested.

Unama’KIDS is coordinated by Weldon Bona and Serena Paul. Teachers: Sheila Gould, Mike Isaac, Tim Jesty, Monica Larade, Lori Leroy, Gerard Livingston, Agnes McFarlane. Special Assistance: Kevin Burton–Atlantic First Nations Help Desk, Sheldon Googoo–Cape Breton Victoria Regional School Board.

Photo: Left to right, Top row: Nevada Pierro, Jane Basque, Allan Lafford, Dexter Paul, Susan Bernard, Colton Francis, Kirkland Bernard, Kassidy Bernard and Tenisha Marie Francis. Second row: Shawnee Paul, Promise Marshall, Riveriah Denny, Zoie Julian, Peter Doucette.

From UINR Marten – Vol.4. Issue.2 – Summer 2008