FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s Office of First Nation Education and the University of New Brunswick’s Mi’kmaq-Wolastoqey Centre are welcoming participants from across the country to the fourth annual National Indigenous Education and Reconciliation Network Gathering, May 27-29 in Fredericton.

The event is an opportunity for provincial and territorial departments of education, teachers’ organizations, education faculties and education leaders, including Inuit, Métis and First Nations educators, to come together and learn from one another in Wolastoqey territory.

“We are honoured to host this gathering, and we look forward to positive discussions and new ideas and approaches to First Nation education,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy.

The first day of the gathering focuses on Wabanaki education, with sessions on topics such as community-driven approaches for reclaiming Wabanaki education systems; reconciliation through collaboration; New Brunswick’s strengths-based approach to Wabanaki learning; Prince Edward Island’s practice of including Indigenous books as part of its kindergarten welcome package; and the Labrador Institute’s Inuit bachelor of education program.

On the second day, participants will discuss new initiatives, programs and resources available nationally. The focus of the third day will be regional strategic planning.

Guests will be welcomed by student dancers and singers from the Kingsclear and Oromocto First Nations. They will share a dinner complemented by storytelling from New Brunswick Wabanaki elders, as well as traditional chants, music and storytelling by Samaqani Cocahq (Natalie Sappier) and others.

“This gathering provides a rare opportunity for people across the country not just to discuss ideas, but to also focus on strategies for turning those ideas into actions,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jake Stewart.

Other partners involved in the gathering are the University of Prince Edward Island, the Moose Hide Campaign, Abegweit First Nation, the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, the Province of Nova Scotia and the Prince Edward Island Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture.