Sharing Food and Nutrition History and the Mi’kmaq Gift of Multiple Perspectives

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Sharing Food and Nutrition History and the Mi’kmaq Gift of Multiple Perspectives

by ahnationtalk on July 5, 202223 Views

Prepared By: Megan Churchill, Internship Education Program, Mount Saint Vincent University and University Relations – Communications & Marketing.  Thanks (Wela’lin) to all those who attended this important event and engaged in active co-learning

On June 28, the Two-Eyed Seeing Program and the Breakfast and Beyond Program collaborated to offer an event to Mount Saint Vincent University staff, students, faculty, and program partners, to recognize Indigenous History Month, Multiculturalism Day and Juneteenth.

The event featured story sharing over refreshments and a chef-led food demonstration (recipe available here). It was facilitated by Megan Churchill, a Dietetic Intern and MSVU student.

Event partners and special guests included Ann Sylliboy, Post-Secondary Consultant at Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and Co-Lead for the Two-Eyed Seeing Program, and Barb Hamilton-Hinch, Associate Professor and Assistant Vice Provost Equity and Inclusion at Dalhousie University, and Advisory Committee Member, Breakfast and Beyond Program.

Through food and conversation, the session highlighted and honoured the shared history of the Mi’kmaq People, African Nova Scotians, and others. Participants discussed several cultural and traditional foods through two eyes, or “Etuaptmumk” (two-eyed seeing). Two-eyed seeing is a conceptualization of multiple perspectives, gifted by Elders Murdena and Albert Marshall, and academic Dr. Cheryl Barlett from Unama’ki (Cape Breton).

Image 1. Live Food Demonstration, Department of Applied Human Nutrition Demonstration Kitchen, Mount Saint Vincent University, by Jade Farquharson (left), Chef, Breakfast and Beyond Program (funded by Medavie), Megan Churchill (right), Dietetic Intern, Two Eyed Seeing Program (both students and trainees of the Department of Applied Human Nutrition)

Members from across the MSVU community were in attendance, including Florence Blackett (Department of Applied Human Nutrition alumna and Interim Indigenous Student Coordinator, kina’masuti aqq apognamasuti) and her granddaughter, Chelsey Purdy (Two-Eyed Seeing Program Coordinator, Registered Dietitian, Department of Applied Human Nutrition, Masters of Science Candidate), Randy Headley (Black Student Advisor at Mount Saint Vincent University), and several members from the Department of Applied Human Nutrition, FoodARC, The Early Childhood Collaborative Research Centre and Kinu Tourism Program.

Image 2. Mount Saint Vincent University Community Members and Megan Churchill, Dietetic Intern, Internship Education Program, introducing the event, after a heartfelt land acknowledgement

Program mentors and community representatives were thrilled with the event and shared the following reflections:

Shannan Grant, Registered Dietitian, Program Director and Dietetic Intern Sponsor, Two-Eyed Seeing Program

“Megan joined the Two Eyed Seeing Program as a dietetic intern in May 2022. Since then, she has emersed herself in Indigenous and L’nu history, while showing a great deal of humility, courage, and respect. She has had the opportunity to learn directly from Elders, including Dr. Elder Albert Marshall and Grassroots Grandmother Dorene Bernard. She has also enriched partnerships with several organizations, like Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, Atlantic Indigenous Mentorship Network, the Breakfast and Beyond Program, and Parks Canada. This event represented a culmination of these experiences and teachings, where she created time, space, and safety for members of the Mount community to come together over food (commensality) and discuss the shared food history of Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotians. I am thrilled for Megan to join the dietetic profession, as she understands that reconciliation requires dietitians be open to co-learning, co-creation, and reciprocity.”

Ann Sylliboy, Post-Secondary Consultant at Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Co-Lead for the Two-Eyed Seeing Program

“MK and I have been a leader on this project for six years, which shows the partnership is reciprocal. It was great to see a non-Indigenous dietetic student recognize Indigenous History Month in this way. Megan organized a discussion around a recipe that contained blueberries (pguman) and corn (piesgmin), traditional foods of the Mi’kmaq, that allowed for every person in attendance to speak about their relationship with the food. She learned and said several Mi’kmaq words, showing her effort to recognize the language, and courage to make mistakes (and learn from them). We discussed harvesting, cooking, storage, environmental impacts, and childhood stories, as well as interesting health information. She really did a great job.”

Barb Hamilton-Hinch, Associate Professor and Assistant Vice Provost, Equity and Inclusion at Dalhousie University, and Advisory Committee Member, Breakfast and Beyond Program.

“I have sat on the advisory committee for the Breakfast and Beyond Program for three years. It was great to see the nutrition department creating this opportunity to discuss nutrition from multiple perspectives. It was fantastic to see both L’nu and Caribbean food and history honoured in this way, recognizing relevant June anniversaries across Turtle Island, like Juneteenth and Indigenous Peoples Day.”

NT5

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