The Micmac Teacher Education Program was a three-year project at the Nova Scotia Teachers College, which began in September, 1980 and ended in June, 1983. The project was the result of a contract co-sponsored by the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs and the Nova Scotia Minister of Education.
The administration of the Program was conducted by an Advisory Board which consisted of representatives from the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, the Native Council of Nova Scotia, the Department of Indian Affairs, the Nova Scotia Teachers College and the student class.
Seventeen students graduated from this Program, gaining their A.Ed. diploma, resulting in the awarding of a TC4, qualifying the graduate to teach in both federal and provincial schools in Nova Scotia. Four graduated with distinction, while six were included in the Principal’s Honours List. Both status and non-status Micmacs from Nova Scotia formed this class. Many of them previously worked in schools, both federal and provincial, as teacher-aides for up to four years, having gained training for this occupation during two summer programs at the College in 1975-76.
Classes were taught by faculty members of NSTC, and instructors from the Micmac community, with great input from numerous resource persons, both Indian and non-Indian. A balance of academic, professional and Indian content courses was retained.
This Program was designed using five basic principles:
- The language, culture, heritage of the Micmac people must be the foundation of the program.
- The bilingual abilities of the students must be supported and assisted.
- The program should build upon the experience, understanding and skill of the students.
- The students should be prepared for teaching in “reserve and non-reserve” schools and communities.
- The program should instil attitudes of self-confidence and self-esteem in order to educate teachers for leadership in their schools and communities.
The students organized a very successful Micmac Cultural Awareness Day at the College. This was attended by Band Chiefs, representatives of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, the Native Council of Nova Scotia, Native Women’s Organization, students and faculty and local community visitors.