May Special Message
Posted on May 1, 2023
May is the month all mothers, biological mothers and those who provide nurturing, child-rearing, and lifelong love, guidance and support are honoured and celebrated. The First Nations Education Administrators Association (FNEAA) would like to extend a Happy and Joyful Mother’s Day greeting to all mothers, including our Mother Earth and Ancestors.
May is also the month that is associated with mental health awareness. FNEAA promotes the mental health and wellness of its members, their colleagues and their respective community members. In many First Nation communities, the perspective of wellness is inclusive of the whole person and family as expressed through a sense of balance amongst body, emotion, mind and spirit. In addition, First Nations wellness is their connection to languages, lands and place, beings of creation, and ancestry.
According to the British Columbia First Nations Health Authority, “First Nations have a responsibility to care for the land and to share knowledge of the land with the people. Land and health are closely intertwined because land is the ultimate nurturer of people. It provides not only physical but emotional and spiritual sustenance, because it inspires and provides beauty; it nurtures the soul.” It is through this responsibility and respect of the land, that FNEAA honours its members who promote land-based learning activities within their schools.
Danielle Cherpako (2019) reports that research shows that “learning in an outdoor environment has mental health benefits, improves understanding for active learners, and can help students develop environmental awareness and a connection to the land. Indigenous-focused groups often bring together Elders and youth, so that Elders can pass on their knowledge. This can include teaching about ceremonies, traditional medicines, the history of the land, how to be good stewards of the land, and how to speak traditional languages, among other activities. These programs may also use culturally relevant methods of teaching provincially required or elective courses such as Math, History, Art, or Science. Ultimately, Indigenous-led, land-based learning can re-engage Indigenous youth in their own education, build community connectedness, and revitalize Indigenous languages and practices.
Two-Eyed Seeing – An Indigenous Worldview Perspective
Albert Marshall is a highly respected and much loved Elder of the Mi’kmaw Nation; he lives in Eskasoni First Nation in Unama’ki (Cape Breton), Nova Scotia, and is a passionate advocate of cross-cultural understandings and healing and of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother.
See more at https://fneaa.ca/current-initiatives/
Negotiating First Nations Education Agreements Webinar – May 18-19, 2023 : https://fneaa.ca/virtual-webinars/
FNEAA National Gathering: Indigenous STEM – November 6-9, 2023 in Winnipeg, MB: https://fneaa.ca/national-gathering-2023/