NEW CREDIT – Former Chief of New Credit Carolyn King feels that knowing and respecting where you come from is an important facet of life and that community members did an outstanding job representing themselves at last week’s forum.
The Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation (MNCFN) hosted its Sixth Annual Historical Gathering in the community hall. It ran Wednesday morning to Friday afternoon. Guests who attended were flooded with stories, speeches, presentations and more from scholars and dignitaries who wanted to share their experiences and knowledge.
“The gathering up of our history is about teaching us, because there’s so much for us to know about ourselves,” said Carolyn, who was on the event’s planning committee. “We’ve done an amazing job, but getting things out there is difficult sometimes.”
Carolyn said even though New Credit’s history is filled with rich and deep culture, sometimes it’s proven difficult to bring it all into the limelight. She said that the yearly gathering is a great opportunity for people from the community and off the community to learn more about the Indigenous.
“We’re so mixed up with everybody else right now it’s hard to keep our identity straight,” said Carolyn. “We’d love to have something that houses all this research and information. Right now it’s kind of all over that place.”
Julie A. LaForme was the gathering’s master of ceremonies (MC) and she felt honoured to represent her community.
“What an honour to stand up and not only represent my First Nation, but to also introduce dignitaries within other First Nations, scholars and authors,” said LaForme.
The gathering included topics like — who the MNCFN are, historic archeology, the importance of growing and harvesting their own food, the importance of languages, traditional storytelling and more. Carolyn felt that a presentation on the work Lloyd S. King Elementary School (LSK) is doing to expand the school’s cultural program was moving and important for the community to support.
M. Karl King presented an overview and annual update of the school’s cultural program and Carolyn said it is great to see so much culture being brought into the school. Even though the program doesn’t involve the entire school and is simply a small volunteer program, Carolyn said it is doing great.
“We’re still not where it needs to be when it comes to getting our culture into the school system,” said Carolyn. But we’re getting there.”
The overarching theme throughout the three-day gathering was “learning” and all the presenters really wanted to drive the importance of that word deep into all the guest minds.
“It’s important for everybody to know their history,” said LaForme. “Be it First Nations members from our own community learning our history or other people from surrounding communities who want to learn our history, it’s an important aspect of life. The rest of Canadian society needs to learn more about the history of the Indigenous people too, but we need to know it ourselves as well.”