Festival & Events Schedule

Tuesday: October 13th


Opening Ceremonies: (MC Robert Bernard)

Opening Prayer (Elder) & Drum Song/Smudging

Welcome Address: Chief Norman Bernard

Guest Speaker: Andrea Ritchie, Visual Arts Nova Scotia


Overview of the Legacy of Rita Joe Project

Alan Syliboy & Scott Macmillan


Official Launch of new Rita Joe book “The Blind Man’s Eyes

Presentation by Ronald Caplan, Publisher

Some of the best poetry by Rita Joe, The Blind Man’s Eyes is a personal selection by her friend and publisher Ronald Caplan. The book also includes a batch of her unpublished poems as well as her telling of the lovely “Legend of Matlan.”
From her lifelong goal to open the eyes of both her own aboriginal community and the wider world to Mi’kmaq history and culture, Rita Joe wrote of loneliness and pain and the accomplishment of abiding love. A deeply committed social activist, rooted in both First Nation and Christian spirituality, Rita Joe’s efforts to represent and inspire her own people while communicating their Mi’kmaq experiences to the rest of the world earned her honorary degrees, the Aboriginal Achievement Award and, in 1990, the Order of Canada. She was appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council in recognition of her contribution to world culture.
Rita Joe’s role as a daring “gentle warrior” shines through The Blind Man’s Eyes – powerful evidence of her lasting contribution to Canadian literature.


Art Exhibit Curator Welcome: Cathy Martin

Art Exhibit Opens (Downstairs of the Wagmatcook Centre)

**** Lunch (Soup & Sandwich w/option on Traditional Foods) ****

Note: Large Groups & Schools are asked to coordinate their lunches with our event. Options for bagged lunches and catering are available.


Overview of the “Legacy of Rita Joe Project

Festival Coordinator: Robert Bernard

Guest Speakers: Alan Syliboy & Scott Macmillan

Visual & Music Presentation: “The Prize is Always There – Visions of Rita Joe”.

“The Prize is Always There, Visions of Rita Joe”, is a collaborative project created by musician/composer Scott Macmillan with musician/visual artist, Alan Syliboy to pay tribute to Mi’kmaw poet, Rita Joe. The presentation will be approximately 45 minutes in duration. Elders and students from Waycobah and Eskasoni will read a retrospective of Rita Joe’s poems underscored by live and recorded music composed and performed by Scott Macmillan. Simultaneously, visual artist Alan Syliboy will create a new work live during the performance. A renowned poet Rita Joe’s poems deal with many issues, happy, serious, personal and controversial. Rita Joe’s poems offer a deeper understanding of Mi’kmaq Culture that both informs and inspires. The audience will be given a unique expos√© of this prolific and thoughtful artist.


Question & Answer Period: Alan Syliboy & Scott Macmillan, Rita Joe Family Member, Ronald Caplan (Publisher)

Tuesday: October 14th


Aboriginal Film Festival (All Day Event)

Coordinator: Cathy Martin

Youth Short Video Competition & More (10:00am – 11:30am)

Local Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students will be invited to select one of Rita Joe’s poems and submit a short 3-5 minute video compilation (either shot using a video camera, a iPhone or Android phone video, etc) about what this poem means to them personally or about what messages that Rita Joe’s words have meant to their community/people. These 3-5 minute video clips will be reviewed by a panel of judges with the Top 5 video snippets chosen for the final selection of the Top 3 Prizes! Participants chosen will be invited to the event as special guests and will have a chance at winning some prizes! Deadline for video entries will be Friday, October 9th at 4:00pm.

Workshops & Aboriginal Film Showing (Afternoon)

12:30pm – 2:00pm

Participants will have an opportunity to participate in workshops that involve information on video & film, acting, documentaries, etc. Special guest speakers to present.


Aboriginal Films @ Wagmatcook Centre (A collection of some local and international Aboriginal films) – Free Admission

*** Special Presentation – The Rita Joe Project *** Showing “The Prize is Always There” – Community Showing

Tuesday: October 15th


Mi’kmaw Cultural Celebration Day (All Day Event)

Coordinator: Robert Bernard

Aboriginal Cultural Presentations & Demonstrations
Table Displays that will be set up as stations that will tell you all about the Mi’kmaw people through traditional stories, basket makers on hand showing you how to make baskets, expert beadwork and leather work artists as well as Drumming & Dancing. This is a great opportunity to learn some of our traditional knowledge and cultural teachings through hands on experiences in various presentations at this event.

Note: Large groups and schools will be asked to please PRE-REGISTER by October 9th so that we can ensure we have adequate space for all participants.

7:00pm (Thursday evening)

Mi’kmaw Legends Theatre Presentation

(Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors of Prince Edward Island) – an excellent presentation of the traditional stories of the Mi’kmaw people as portrayed from some very talented Mi’kmaw actors from Prince Edward Island. Certainly a treat for all age groups!!

Tuesday: October 16th


Aboriginal Arts & Cultural Workshops (All Day Event)

Youth Art Showcase / Cultural Workshops on Drumming

Cultural Workshop on Basketry & Leather/Beadwork

Workshops on Theatre/Acting – by the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors of PEI

Tuesday: October 17th


Mi’kmaw Got Talent Show (Pre-Registering Required)


Traditional Competition starts at 5:30pm

Non-Traditional Competition starts at 7:30pm


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