The ancient landscapes of Eastern North America are reflected in the language and cultural expressions of its Indigenous peoples, the Mi’kmaq. The rhythms, sounds and patterns of their language are inextricably bound with the seasonal cycles of the animals, plants, winds, skies, waterways and trade routes.
Trudy Sable, PhD, is Director of the Office of Aboriginal and Northern Research at the Gorsebrook Research Institute, Saint Mary’s University and an adjunct professor of Anthropology. She has been called a “muddy boots” community researcher and educator and has worked collaboratively for the past twenty-two years with First Nations and Inuit peoples within Canada and internationally. Her primary focus is on inter-generational, community/place-based, educational programs and research projects that bring Western science into dialogue with Indigenous Knowledge, promotion of education through the arts and developing educational programs with the Innu Nation Environment Office. She is the SMU representative to University of the Arctic and to the Atlantic Association of Universities Working Committee on Aboriginal Issues. Dr. Sable has presented and published her research internationally. Along with Bernie Francis and representatives of the Mi’kmaw First Nations, she is currently working on the Pjila’si Mi’kma’ki: Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas and Website Project.
Bernie Francis, DLitt, grew up on the Maupeltu (Membertou) First Nation community in Cape Breton, NS. From 1970-1974, he worked as the Director of the Court Worker Program for the federal court system, a program that ensures fair and proper treatment for Mi’kmaw people including access to a translator. After leaving the court system, Bernie began his training in linguistics with linguist Doug Smith from the University of Toronto. Bernie completed that training in 1980, having developed a new orthography of the Mi’kmaw language with Professor Smith. The Smith/Francis orthography is now officially recognized by the Mi’kmaw chiefs in Nova Scotia, as well as by the Canada-Nova Scotia-Mi’kmaq Tripartite Forum. Dr. Francis received an honorary doctorate from Dalhousie University in October, 1999. He continues to work on many projects including the Pjila’si Mi’kma’ki: Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas and Website Project.