The Coast : 2020-07-09

GO : 9 : 9


GO The North American Indigenous Games bring the mawiomi home This month, the largest sporting event the Maritimes has seen since European contact was supposed to take over the city: 5,250 athletes from 756 Indigenous nations were ready to compete in 16 sports as part of the North American Indigenous Games. And while Halifax will have to wait until 2021 for what NAIG alumni Savvy Simon told The Coast is “the Olympics for Indigenous people,” there is some good news to hold us all over: There will be an online edition of the (the Mi'kmaq word for gathering) happening this July, called "NAIG At Home". “We really wanted to find a way to gather everyone together,” explains Fiona Kirkpatric­kParsons, chairperso­n for NAIG 2020. “What is it we can do to let these youth know we're still thinking of them; they're very much in our hearts and on our minds? How can we do something? And we've been seeing virtual events taking place, but how could we carve out and create our own unique whatever-thatwas-gonna-be?” The athletes and performers will be uploading photos and videos of themselves, Kirkpatric­k-Parsons says. “You'll see people sharing their talents: Singing, there might be a video of someone in their living room doing a dance, or a song or drumming.” “The cultural component is woven in,” Kirkpatric­k-Parsons explains. “If the games were happening here physically, you'd see the games are not just games, that the culture would be very much a part of every single sport, as well as separate cultural activities that would be going on around K'jipuktuk.” Kirkpatric­k-Parsons adds: “When you do something on social media, it tends to take on a life of its own, so we're excited to see how this takes on its own life.” She urges everyone to follow along on Facebook and like and comment on posts (search NAIG2020HF­X) from July 11 to 18: “We really want to encourage people to not just watch but to cheer people on—show these youth we're watching, we're cheering them on, we cant wait to welcome them in person. I want that same Maritime hospitalit­y we're known for to come across on social media.” mawiomi Two-storey tall banners in the Black Cultural Centre's atrium tell the stories of 16 Nova Scotians of African descent. SUBMITTED Take this summer to learn the parts of NS history you never learned in school. BY VICTORIA WALTON “Nova Scotia is known as the birthplace of Black culture and heritage in Canada,” says Grosse. Other museums like the (5795 Africville Road) and the (119 Old Birchtown Rd Site 10, Shelburne) in Shelburne focus on more specific stories, but the Cherry Brook museum tells several important stories one by one. “All of those migrations that came through, they came through with a purpose to serve or to be a part of conflict, to help at a time whether it was a war or some sort of conflict,” Grosse explains. “And through that adversity those communitie­s became successful communitie­s and contribute­d to the building of Nova Scotia and this country as a whole.” In the Centre's atrium, two-storey banners of 16 prominent Black Nova Scotian trailblaze­rs tell the stories of their lives. They range from activist and beautician Viola Desmond to naval hero William Hall to Canada's first Black female police officer Rose Fortune. The stories focus on how Black culture intertwine­s with Canadian history, like the Colour of Hockey exhibit that features teams like the Halifax Eurekas and the Africville SeaSides. “It helps people realize that although we're different, we're very similar, and I think that helps to break barriers and create a path for folks to understand each other in a better way,” says Grosse. The Centre hopes the stories and exhibits can provide a deeper context of historical figures for everyone interested in history, but also give people of African descent a sense of pride and accomplish­ment. “It creates that passion and pride, that people of African descent have made significan­t contributi­ons here in this province, and have made Nova Scotia home, and that being here for multiple generation­s and being thriving communitie­s that were even in place prior to Canada's confederat­ion,” he says. “That really reinforces our sense of belonging.” For others, the centre is a good place to work towards being a good ally. "We understand that the recent increase in awareness and knowledge of race-based issues across this country, across the world, that the Centre will be an important vehicle for people to learn more and get a greater understand­ing,” says Grosse. “And we're glad to be able to reopen for folks to experience that.” Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia 10 Cherry Brook Road, Cherry Brook Africville Museum Black Loyalist Black- led organizati­ons have been working for years to fill in the gaping holes in our history left out by school curriculum­s. Now is a crucial time to un-learn and re-learn how we arrived at this point in history. In Cherry Brook, the Black Cultural Centre for Nova Scotia—the province's only museum dedicated 100 percent to Black history—reopened on July 6 with COVID-19 precaution­s in place. The Centre's Executive Director, Russell Grosse, says it's seen increased interest thanks to recent attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. “When you look at the Black communitie­s that are here in this province, there are over 52 Black historic communitie­s in Nova Scotia, they date back well over 400 years,” Grosse says. There's a one-way route through the exhibits to encourage physical distancing and the topics on display range through four centuries of Black history in Nova Scotia, from the African slave trade in Canada to Black loyalists to Jamaican maroons to the arrival of Caribbean workers in the Cape Breton coal mines. Heritage Centre a –Morgan Mullin • • The Coast 9 HOT SUMMER GUIDE 2020

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