Investigating the restoration of the Mi'kmaq language and culture on the First Nations reserve of Miawpukek
Jeddore, Roderick Joachim
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the restoration of the Mi'kmaq language and culture on the First Nations reserve of Miawpukek in the province of Newfoundland. A group of respondents between the ages of twenty-five and eighty from the Miawpukek reserve participated in the study, which was conducted by the researcher. The study consisted of fifty completed questionnaires and ten interviews designed to measure the value placed on restoring the Mi'kmaq language and culture by members of Miawpukek. Data from these instruments were then gathered and analyzed. Analysis of the data indicated that the people of Miawpukek place great value on restoring the Mi'kmaq language to their culture. It was unanimously agreed that a definite need exists to restore this vernacular to Miawpukek: however, there was mixed reaction about whether this can be done. Respondents commented on the lack of community involvement and the need for a certified, fluent Mi'kmaq language teacher as two of the major obstacles that still stand in the way. Further, they expressed a personal desire for the restoration of the Mi'kmaq language and culture to Miawpukek. Although the findings show a recognized need for Mi'kmaq language and cultural renewal, there does not appear to be anyone who meets the qualifications necessary and can commit the time and effort necessary to be successful in such a quest. The people of Miawpukek still have a long way to go before they will see the Mi'kmaq language and culture being a vibrant part of the community. While the results of this study can not be generalized to the Aboriginal population at large, the conclusion can be drawn that although a definite desire exists to restore the language and culture among the Miawpukek community, still much work needs to be done. The first step in this process would appear to be obtaining the services of a Mi'kmaq language teacher and building from there. This study confirmed the researcher's belief that all is not lost for Miawpukek; now, we need to start moving forward and building on what we have before what we have disappears.