The Saskatchewan Aboriginal Literacy Network held the Mamawenig gathering on May 14-16 of 2002. The gathering offered the opportunity for literacy practitioners across Saskatchewan, including participants across Canada, to discuss Aboriginal literacy issues within the province of Saskatchewan.
The 2002 gathering was located at the Echo valley conference center at Fort Qu’appelle, SK. This site was chosen due to the historical and cultural significance of the Aboriginal peoples in this area.
There was a great deal of effort involved in the planning for and management of the gathering events. The board of directors, its’ staff (project coordinator and events coordinator), and numerous volunteers were crucial to the success of the gathering.
The private and public support of many organizations was also essential in the creation of the provincial gathering. Organizations such as the National Literacy Secretariat, Human Resources Development Canada, Saskatchewan Department of Learning, Saskatchewan Department of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs, and the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, supported the conference through much needed funding. In addition there were many local businesses that donated time, money, and items that helped to make the conference a huge success.
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Basic Facts and Statistics from the Gathering
- Over 250 participants from all areas of Saskatchewan, and from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and the Yukon; as well as from Connecticut, U.S.A
- Participants included 34 learners from all areas of the province
- Members of the National Aboriginal Design Committee, who held their spring meeting at the Echo Valley Conference Center just prior to the Gathering, stayed to present and participate in Mamawenig
- Over 30 volunteers, including 14 facilitators and documenters for the Strategic Planning process, assisted with décor, registration, transportation, childcare, presenter introductions, and cultural activities
- 12 First Nation and Metis Elders and Veterans attended the Gathering
- 12 organizations provided financial support for the Gathering expenses
- Over 40 organizations, businesses and individuals made in-kind contributions of goods and services to support the Gathering
- Nine organizations and businesses provided trade show displays for the participants
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- Over 250 participants attended the Gathering including Elders, learners, practitioners, government staff and community leaders from Saskatchewan and across Canada;
- A participatory planning process that involved participants in the development of an Aboriginal Literacy Strategy for inclusion in Saskatchewan Learning’s Provincial Literacy Strategy;
- The Keynote Address on “What is Aboriginal Literacy?” by Priscilla George, Coordinator of the National Aboriginal Design Committee;
- Over 30 workshops, facilitated by Elders, practitioners and learners who shared the programs and resource materials that they have developed or adapted in their communities;
- Metis and First Nations cultural celebrations that were woven through the whole Gathering – involving Elders and Veterans, drummers, dancers, singers and helpers; and
- Involvement of 32 learners from across the province through the sponsorship of Saskatchewan Learning.