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A Conversation with Marcus Gosse

Marcus Gosse
Marcus Gosse

Mi’kmaw artist Marcus Gosse has had his artwork featured on the Canadian Mint’s newest limited-edition coin.  The one-ounce pure silver coin which portrays the Mi’kmaq Creation Story, was released today.  Alison Muise, Communications Manager for the Band, reached out to Marcus today to talk about the project.

AM: Well, congratulations to you today! How are you feeling?

MG: I’m pretty happy it was released and it’s out.  CBC just came to my house to do a story, NTV did a story, and I’m going live with Martin Jones on CBC radio at 3:00.  It’s a big day.

AM: And now your First Nation is calling you to talk about it too. (laughter)

MG: Yes, that’s right.

AM: How did you end up with your artwork featured on a coin, Marcus? How did all of this come about?

MG: I was at the Stephenville Mall having a look around when the Canadian Mint contacted me and said Marcus, we were wondering if you’d be interested in designing a coin for us around the Mi’kmaw Creation Story.

AM: They just called you up?

MG: Yes, they said they found me on LinkedIn! They called and said they were looking for a Mi’kmaw artist to depict the Mi’kmaq Creation Story.  They basically said we looked at your art, we found your website and looked at the galleries and the art that represents you.  We’ve seen all your stuff.  We like your style and use of design… they mentioned that they really liked my depiction of the Mi’kmaw star… and then they said, we want you to design this coin.

I was so honoured.  There are a lot of Mi’kmaq artists out there.  To represent Mi’kmaq with a design on this coin, I’m honoured and humbled.  I can’t believe they contacted me.  This is my highest achievement to date.  When they approached me, it was like a lottery ticket.  Of course I said yes.

AM: so you just accepted it on the spot hey? Incredible.  After you got off the phone, did you reach out to anyone? Was there an Elder that you contacted to guide you with this project?

MG: Oh yes, an Elder was very involved in the coins’ design and the way everything was explained with the release of the coin itself.  The Mint consulted Elder Stephen Augustine.  He was I guess the Elder advisor and reviewer. The artistic design is based on his version of the Mi’kmaq Creation Story.

AM: That’s amazing.  What a perfect person to have involved.

MG: Yes, he reviewed and made suggestions throughout the design process.  Once we got to the finalization stages of the project, he joined the team on video calls to actually talk about it.  I shared my interpretation of the Mi’kmaq Creation Story with him and how I came to my design.  He understood where I was coming from and made suggestions to bring more focus to the heart of the story.

AM: Wonderful.  I wish I could talk to him and see what he has to say about it!

MG: There’s a quote from him on the website.  He’s proud of the coin and sharing the story.

Stephen Augustine is Hereditary Chief on the Mi’kmaq Grand Council and Executive Director, Donald Marshall Institute At Cape Breton University.  Here’s what he had to say,

 

“The minting of a coin honouring the Mi’kmaq Creation Story is truly a recognition of one of Canada’s First Nations’ oral history and oral tradition of storytelling explaining the creation of our Mi’kmaq world. The Mi’kmaq Creation Story has been passed down through the family of Hereditary Chief Stephen J. Augustine whose ancestor, Chief Michael Augustine of the Richibucto Tribe, signed a Treaty of Peace and Friendship on March 10, 1760 in Halifax. The principles and ethical protocols in the Mi’kmaq Creation Story are integral to the peace and friendship treaty-making process as well as Mi’kmaq spiritual ceremonies.”

AM: Other than the media, who have you been hearing from? The Mi’kmaq community must be very excited about this.

MG: Galleries that represent me and carry my artwork have all reached out… Everyone is congratulating me.  I’m proud to give back to the community, be a part of visual storytelling, trying to understand the art and share the beauty of it as opposed to just selling art.  It’s good to show my community and cultural connection.

AM: I know you aren’t the first Indigenous artist to have their artwork featured on a coin, but are you the first Mi’kmaw person?

MG: I’m the first Mi’kmaw person from Newfoundland.  I know Allan Syliboy and Gerald Gloade from Millbrook First Nation have done coins as well and there could be others. But I’m the first from Newfoundland.

AM: Well congratulations once again Marcus.  I’ll share a story on this and the link for folks to buy the coin.  Do you think it will sell out fast?

MG: There are only 5500 of these coins.  The Mint said they are expecting a very fast sell-out of this coin.  Indigenous coins don’t come along very often.  I think they mentioned the last one selling out in a week.

AM: Well, you can bet Qalipu First Nation will have some in our shopping cart before this day is done.  Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today, Marcus.  I’m looking forward to seeing the coin in person.

MG: Thank you and thanks for all the support in the newsletter and the website and everything.  I really appreciate it.

AM: We’re proud of you.  I’m happy to share.  Take care.

MG: N’multes.

Don’t miss your chance to purchase this beautiful new coin! Click here for details: https://www.mint.ca/en/shop/coins/2023/1-oz-pure-silver-coin-generations-mikmaq-creation-story

 

Marcus' finished artwork before it became a coin
Marcus’ finished artwork before it became a coin
Pink Shirt Day free colouring sheet-1

Download our Free Pink Shirt Design Colouring Sheet!

Please feel free to download and print this colouring sheet for your kids (or kids at heart!)

Pink Shirt Day happens annually on the last Wednesday in February, this year on February 22. It began in 2007 when a student in Nova Scotia was bullied for wearing a pink shirt to school. It has since been recognized annually worldwide as a day to stand against bullying.

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Emergency Housing-1

Emergency Housing Repair Funds Available to Band Members Impacted by Hurricane Fiona

In the days following one of the worst storms to hit our shores, we are reflecting on the struggles now faced by individuals and families who have lost their homes and belongings.  It is a difficult moment to be sure, and our thoughts and prayers are with those facing these challenges.

At this time, we would like to take the opportunity to remind Band members, specifically those most severely impacted along the south coast, about our Emergency Housing Repair Program and invite them to get in touch to discuss options under this program, and other supports available through Qalipu’s Housing Division.

For more on housing support programs, click here

To reach out and discuss what we can do to help, please contact Jason at 709-634-0411.

Hunting and Trapping 2022 all locations-1 (1)

Hunting and Trapping Guide Training in Stephenville, Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor

Qalipu First Nation is pleased to announce we will be conducting a Hunting and Trapping Guide Training courses November 19-26 in Grand Falls-Windsor, November 20-24 in Stephenville and November 28 to December 3 in Corner Brook. This opportunity is designed for Qalipu Members or self-identifying Indigenous individuals who are interested in becoming Hunting and Trapping Guides in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Upon course completion, students will be awarded a Certificate of Achievement in Hunting and Trapping Guide training and ultimately be prepared to apply to become certified licensed Hunting and Trapping Guides in Newfoundland and Labrador through the Wildlife Division.

Applications can be submitted either via email to ymacdonald@qalipu.ca, or hand-delivered/mailed to the St. George’s Office.

Please see below for links to the application forms.

Application for Corner Brook / Stephenville

Application for Grand Falls-Windsor

 

ilmi

Indigenous Labour Market Initiative

The Indigenous Labour Market Initiative (ILMI) Project began in 2018 and is scheduled to continue through to 2023. Currently, the ILMI project is being carried out in First Nation communities across Canada, including Qalipu First Nation. The project is funded by Employment & Service Development Canada (ESDC) and is maintained and supported by Aboriginal Employment Services Inc. (AES).

The purpose of the ILMI Survey Project is to provide a snapshot of the current labour force in our communities to assist with planning, program development, and identifying issues that need to be addressed.  Qalipu First Nation, Employment and Training is attempting to fill this gap by collecting this vital information, with an overall goal of matching community members to meaningful jobs.

ILMI button

 

To participate in the survey, click here: https://secure.indigenouslmi.ca/survey/startsurvey.aspx?s=1192004
If you have questions about the ILMI Project, or you would like to complete the survey over the phone, please contact Patrick:

Patrick Davis
ILMI COORDINATOR
Tel. 709-634-5045
Email: pdavis@qalipu.ca

SDeanTownHall2022

Corner Brook Ward Meeting No.2 with Councilor Sherry Dean

Corner Brook Ward Members are welcome to join the second meeting held by Ward Councilor Sherry Dean on Thursday, March 24, 2022 in the Qalipu First Nation Community Room at 1 Church Street, Corner Brook. Meeting will begin 7:00pm and end at 9:00pm.
Door Prizes will be drawn!

If you have any questions regarding the Corner Brook Ward Meeting please contact your
CORNER BROOK WARD COUNCILOR
Sherry (White) Dean
facebook.com/groups/262381944439089
sdean@qalipu.ca

EOI dlairport2022

Expression of Interest Indigenous Artists [Mural installation at Deer Lake Regional Airport]

Qalipu First Nation (QFN) is seeking via this Expressions of Interest (EOI) proponents who can design and fabricate a Mural for permanent installation in the Deer Lake Regional Airport.

In November of 2021, Experience Qalipu (EQ) in partnership with Deer Lake Regional Airport Authority (DLRAA) and the Town of Deer Lake released their announcement on ‘Indigenous Tourism Sense of Arrival’ to the airport and through the Humber River Trail System.

Full details on this EOI can be found here and submissions must be submitted by 11:59pm NDT on March 28 2022.

To: Rob Thomas
Qalipu First Nation
3 Church Street
rthomas@qalipu.ca

The word NEWS written in vintage wooden letterpress type in a wooden type drawer.

JOIN US FOR OUR COMPREHENSIVE COMMUNITY PLAN LAUNCH

Pre-register at the link below to join us in the launch of our Community Comprehensive Plan on November 6, 2021 at Grand Falls-Windsor Golf Club! This event is open to 130 guests; if there is an overwhelming response a random draw will occur and guests will be notified by email, If you do not have an email please provide a phone number so you can be reached! Provincial regulations for this public event will require all attendees to provide proof of vaccination upon entry. Click her to register: Comprehensive Community Plan Launch Party Registration Survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/27YMBPP

CCP LAUNCH POSTER (1)

wrap up

Qalipu Mi’kmaw Language Revival Program 2021 Wrap up

One hundred and twenty people participated in this year’s Mi’kmaw program which was held for the first time virtually, taught by a Qalipu member and supervised by fluent speakers and writers from Unama’ki (Cape Breton).  The program officially ended June 30th. Mi’kmaw Language Facilitator Dean Simon, says he is very encouraged by the interest shown in language reclamation.  “After living in Unama’ki for about 2 years, I know this level of sustained interest is welcomed”.  103 beginners participated in 3 or more classes, along with 15 Novice students.

When the program resumes there will be 15 graduating up to intermediate, 65 beginners graduating up to Novice, 35 people are choosing to repeat beginners and they will be joined by more than 100 others who have expressed interest on our Facebook page. “When you have well over 200 people in a program, you know there is passion.”

There will also be a “Conversation Only” element to the next offering for those who do not wish to learn to read and write, and just want to know some greetings and small talk.  The previous program aimed to teach people to read and write proficiently so that they could maximize their own self-study using written resources that are available online and in print.  “When you finish the Beginner level you should be able to read a Mi’kmaw word well enough for a fluent speaker to understand AND you should be able to write down words that you hear, accurately enough to go back to them later and pronounce them properly.  We don’t have first language speakers here so we have to depend more heavily on reading a writing… to get us to the speaking level.”

By creating a large group of strong self-learners, these people will be able to ‘teach it forward’ and reach way more people in the long run than one teacher could ever hope to reach. This is just one of the valuable lessons Simon says he learned in a course he just finished from the University of Southern Maine (Passamaquoddy territory), called “Revitalization and Reclamation Methods”.  He has just finished compiling a study guide for participants which will be mailed out in the coming weeks, along with program tshirts, a Mi’kmaw book (or 2), and a couple of other small surprizes.

The program has also reached people through the first ever Language Week leading up to National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21st, a 12 week series on CBC Radio and numerous other media coverage.  “We are being approached by non-indigenous organizations and individuals on a regular basis and even got to do a 90 minute bilingual radio show with Bay of Islands Radio.” People interested in learning a little or a lot of Mi’kmaw are encouraged to visit the language Facebook group by searching for “We are learning to speak Mi’kmaw” or emailing dsimon@qalipu.ca.