Mi’kmaq his­tory comes alive at na­tional his­toric site

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - RAT­ING

A tra­di­tional birch wig­wam is be­ing built as part of an ef­fort to bring Mi’kmaq his­tory to life at a Parks Canada site in P.E.I.

Nova Sco­tia el­der Todd Labrador, a master ca­noe and wig­wam builder, will work with Is­land Mi’kmaq elders and com­mu­nity mem­bers to con­struct the wig­wam this week at Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst Na­tional His­toric Site.

Parks Canada and the Mi’kmaq Con­fed­er­acy of P.E.I. are part­ner­ing to bring a ro­tat­ing sched­ule of ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the sum­mer, in­clud­ing pre­sen­ta­tions and hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties such as the an­cient Mi’kmaq game of waltes, Mi’kmaq songs and lan­guage and tra­di­tional medicines.

Ac­tiv­i­ties take place daily un­til Aug. 31.

“We’re proud to share Mi’kmaq his­tory and cul­ture for vis­i­tors to Parks Canada sites like Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst,’’ says Abeg­weit First Na­tion Chief Brian Fran­cis.

“This project is a good way to share the knowl­edge of our elders and to foster Mi’kmaq tra­di­tional skills and arts.’’

Karen Jans, P.E.I. field unit su­per­in­ten­dent for Parks Canada, says Parks Canada rec­og­nizes the in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tions of the Mi’kmaq Con­fed­er­acy of P.E.I. in en­hanc­ing vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence at Parks Canada sites and shar­ing sto­ries and cul­tural tra­di­tions.

“The wig­wam project and sum­mer pro­gram­ming present an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity for vis­i­tors to bet­ter un­der­stand the cul­ture and his­tory of the Mi’kmaq of P.E.I. through au­then­tic ex­pe­ri­ences,’’ says Jans.

The P.E.I. Fed­er­a­tion of Labour is join­ing labour lead­ers across Canada call­ing on the coun­try’s pre­miers to re-com­mit to estab­lish­ing a sin­gle-payer, univer­sal pre­scrip­tion drug plan in Canada.

Canada’s pre­miers are meet­ing this week in Ed­mon­ton to dis­cuss trade is­sues as part of the an­nual of the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion meet­ings.

But labour lead­ers are lob­by­ing the pre­miers to also dis­cuss a na­tional phar­ma­care plan to en­sure all Cana­di­ans have ac­cess to af­ford­able med­i­ca­tions.

“Canada’s piece-meal, multi-payer drug sys­tem is ex­pen­sive, in­ef­fi­cient and doesn’t en­sure peo­ple re­ceive the life-sav­ing pre­scrip­tions they need,” said Carl Pursey, pres­i­dent of P.E.I. Fed­er­a­tion of Labour.

“Cana­di­ans are spend­ing mil­lions of dol­lars a year on this patch­work of multi-payer fund­ing, pay­ing among the high­est prices world­wide for pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tions, squan­der­ing money hand over fist that’s des­per­ately needed to cover other health-care in­vest­ments.”

Pursey says he is con­cerned about how med­i­cal costs are af­fect­ing in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies. Many are go­ing without pre­scribed med­i­ca­tions be­cause they can’t af­ford them, which can cause se­ri­ous health com­pli­ca­tions, he said.

“When peo­ple skip their med­i­ca­tions or oth­er­wise ig­nore doc­tors’ or­ders be­cause of costs, ad­di­tional bur­dens to the health-care sys­tem ac­tu­ally cost ev­ery­one more.”

Labour lead­ers be­lieve adopt­ing a

sin­gle-payer pro­gram would al­low Canada to ben­e­fit from bulk pur­chas­ing power, giv­ing it the power to ob­tain com­pet­i­tively priced pre­scrip­tion drugs. A sin­gle-payer univer­sal pre­scrip­tion drug pro­gram could save Cana­di­ans ap­prox­i­mately $7.3 bil­lion a year based on an ad­di­tional $1 bil­lion in pub­lic sec­tor spend­ing, Pursey says.

“Cana­di­ans know bulk buy­ing is the smart op­tion,” he said.

“Phar­ma­care is the type of smart pol­icy Cana­di­ans are look­ing for from our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.”

Dur­ing events con­cur­rent to the Coun­cil of the Fed­er­a­tion meet­ings, pres­i­dents of pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial labour fed­er­a­tions will urge pre­miers from prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries across Canada to re-com­mit to a sin­gle-payer, univer­sal pre­scrip­tion drug plan to save lives while sav­ing Cana­di­ans money.

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