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LETTER: Witnessing history

Nine new bilingual signs are now guiding travellers on P.E.I. roads to traditional Mi’kmaq places.
Nine new bilingual signs are now guiding travellers on P.E.I. roads to traditional Mi’kmaq places. - Facebook Photo

I was so pleased to see and read Jenene Wooldridge’s article in the guest opinion section (This is still our land, May 2). I am always floored when I hear that the Mi’kmaq have been here for over 12,000 years.

As advertised on L’nuey’s social media accounts, the week of May 19-22 was Aboriginal Awareness Week, as well nine locations reclaimed their Mi’kmaq names on signage all across the province.

What a time to be on this land. Not only have I felt safe, confident, and proud to be a part of the community of Islanders during the pandemic, but to be here, while L’nuey is nation re-building and unfolding feels like I am witnessing a series of monumental moments in history.

I am a PhD student in educational studies at UPEI studying teacher positionality and treaty education in Prince Edward Island. I have spent the last 10 months researching and learning that “research” is a bad word to Indigenous people; however, research that is conducted with Indigenous people and not on Indigenous people (Smith, 2012) can lend to generative research, such as developing interventions that respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Calls to Action (2015).

I consider myself a settler ally and I hope that after the universal example P.E.I. set for social distancing and flattening the curve, the Island could show the world another thing or two about settler allyship and an innovative education system. Seeing Indigenous leaders in The Guardian and the re-claiming of street names across the province is just the beginning, and as Jenene Wooldrige states, “…Reconciliation begins with education.”


Michelle Gough,
Charlottetown

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