Our Youth Researchers

Our Youth Researchers

Our Youth Researchers (by order of length on the project)

Youth-Researcher Picture 1-KachinaKachina Sack-Tuplin is a member of the Sɨkɨpne’katik (Shubenacadie/Indianbrook) First Nation. She graduated with her B.A. in Anthropology from Saint Mary’s University in January, 2013. She continued on to do her B.Ed. at the University of New Brunswick 2013-2014. Kachina  became dubbed the “data base queen” due to her diligence and perseverance in working to fill in and clean up the database through its’ many iterations. She also conducted a number of the interviews, and did a great deal of video-editing, a skill she learned from Peter Gravel, audio-visual consultant to the project, as part of the training received through the project. Kachina became a core team member, particularly during the last year of the project contributing to all aspects of the work.
Youth-Researcher-Picture-2-MattMatt Meuse-Dallien is a member of L’sɨtkuk (Bear River) First Nation, Bear River, Nova Scotia. He  completed his B.A. in Geography program at Saint Mary’s University (2013-2014), specializing in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  He hopes to continue his training at the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) upon completing his B.A. Matt is also a musician currently working with a number of bands.  Matt worked on all aspects of the project, including conducting interviews.  He also assisted in making some of the maps seen on the various information sheets and in the Cultural Landscape Research.
Raymond Sewall is from the Papineau First Nation, Papineau New Brunswick. He completed  his Master’s degree in Atlantic Canada Studies at Saint Mary’s University in October, 2014. Raymond worked extensively on researching and entering place names into the database, geo-referencing each one, and doing background research for the information sheets. Raymond also assisted in recording some of the sound bites for the place names.
IMG_0992_1Justin Lewis currently resides in Dartmouth Nova Scotia and is a member of Sɨkɨpne’katik (Shubenacadie/Indianbrook) First Nation, Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia. He joined the team in September of 2011 through funding provided by Dr. Peter Twohig, Executive Director of the Gorsebrook Research Institute, SMU, and continued through the summer of 2012 with a Connections Career grant through the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, which was matched by the SSHRC project funds. Justin did a great deal of research on Cultural Districts Project, specifically on the Shubenacadie District. He also contributed to the developing information sheets and entering data into the database.
Youth-Researcher-Picture-5-PeterPeter Christmas is from Maupeltu (Membertou) First Nation, and completed his B.A. in Anthropology at Saint Mary’s University. Peter assisted in a number of aspects of the research and data entry during his summer (2012) on the project. Peter subsequently went on to complete internships at the Nova Scotia Museum and the Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.
Other Interns included:  Gregoire Muise,  an M.A. student from Saulnierville, Nova Scotia. Although of Acadian descent, his Grandfather was a Mi’kmaw originally from L’sɨtkuk (Bear River) First Nation in Bear River, Nova Scotia. Gregoire was one of the first of two youth researchers hired, and conducted a number of interviews throughout the province in the summer of 2010. A number of interns were with us for shorter periods of time, e.g., one day a week, or for one month, included Janine Bernard from Paqtnkek (Afton) First Nation , Zane Sylliboy from Eskissoqnik (Eskasoni ) First Nation, Tonia Sylliboy, from Eskissoqnik (Eskasoni ) First Nation, and Salina Kemp, Millbrook First Nation and a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Youth Researcher/Internship Program:


A core component of this project was to ensure “capacity building” occurred for Mi’kmaw First Nation youth. Throughout the course of this four-year project, we have provided internships and funding for twenty First Nations internship and research positions. We were fortunate that some of the youth researchers were able to return to work on the project and become valuable, long-term researchers in their own right. All the interns/researchers underwent training for the many aspects of the projects. The training included:



Video Interviews with Elders:

Matt and Doug Knockwood

The interviews with Mi’kmaw Elders and other knowledge holders required the youth researchers learn and be conscious of a number of stages in the interview process—finding people willing to be interviewed and setting up the interviews; the ethics and protocol involved in conducting the interviews, e.g., respectful conduct, completing consent forms, offering honorariums, etc.; and the challenges
of setting up equipment for recording the interviews, some in kitchens, others outdoors, and some in the board room at the Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies(GRI) at SMU. The interns also had to learn to use the equipment itself, the video cameras and microphones, laying out the maps for the interviews, and generally trying to create a focussed, respectful, and friendly environment for the Elders and other knowledge holders who were interviewed. Trudy Sable oversaw this aspect of the training

 Linguistics Training:

Youth-Researchers-Picture-3-Bernie-Francis-TeachingDr. Bernie Francis, Linguistic Consultant for the project, also trained the interns on the basic nature and structure of the Mi’kmaw language. Though none of our interns spoke Mi’kmaw with the exception of two, Dr. Francis felt it was important that they had a sense of the fundamental grammatical structure of the language for conducting the interviews and understanding the place names.




Database Entries and Geo-Referencing

One of the core and challenging aspects of the project was to set up the database and enter each place name, its geo-reference, each newly transliterated and translated name, along with the source from which the place name was taken. The youth researchers and interns also learned how to use maps and find the precise geo-references for the place names shown to them by the Elders during the interviews, and then enter them into the database. This required them to learn how to use Google Earth to find the Northings and Eastings and also how to set up and work with a database. There was much iteration to this process. William Jones, geomatics consultant to the project, oversaw aspect of the initial training with assistance from Trudy Sable. The youth researchers themselves became quite adept over time managing the database.











Learning about the Landscape and Field Trips

IMG_0948Since many of the names did not have English equivalents, we also relied a great deal on Roger Lewis of the N.S. museum who has travelled all throughout Nova Scotia doing archaeological research. Since many of the Mi`kmaw place names are descriptive of specific landscape features important to the Mi`kmaq, it was important that their names fit the place they were describing. For instance, a name of a river might be translated as “rushing over rocks” but that describes only one area of the river. Or, it might describe “a place of tomcod” or other resources important to the Mi’kmaq. Because of his knowledge of the landscape, Mr. Lewis could help pinpoint the precise location of the names to fit the descriptions. Our field trips
became a fun and important way for our team and the youth researchers to experience the ancient travel routes and physically be at specific sites, including Grandmother Rock sites. Roger Lewis and Trudy Sable organized three canoe trips on the Shubenacadie River (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4kvcrLwo6M). Justin Lewis also visited the Franklin Manor area of Nova Scotia with Mr. Lewis, and Mr. Lewis also guided many team members around the Gaspereaux Lake, perhaps the most ancient site in Nova Scotia, and the site of a hydroelectric dam development.

Historical and Archival Research was also an important part of the training. Mr. Lewis took some of the youth researchers to the Nova Scotia Archives to get them acquainted with the different collections that could be used in creating the information sheets for the different place names. Dr. Sable also worked closely with the researchers in finding resources.