When Melody Martin-Googoo was a child, she didn’t have the option of hearing her mother tongue spoken in school, let alone taught. Things have certainly changed since then. Now, Melody, who holds a master’s degree in education, is sanctioned by her school board to teach the Mi’kmaq language. Although the Mi’kmaq Language Program is not as well funded as the established French program and the curriculum is still being developed, Melody’s Mi’kmaq language classes are full. This year she’s teaching about 75 eager students at Truro Junior High; students who in grade six were given the option of studying either Mi’kmaq or French. Surprisingly, quite a number of non-Aboriginal students choose Melody’s class. “They’ve grown up surrounded by the Mi’kmaq culture,” she says, referring to the nearby Millbrook Mi’kmaq community. “They’re curious, they want to learn.” Melody grew up in Millbrook. Her mother, Patsy Paul Martin, was also a teacher and passionate about the revitalization of the Mi’kmaq language. As a result, she strongly encouraged Melody to speak her language and Cape Breton relatives were under strict instructions not to speak English when young Melody visited. Five years ago, when Melody graduated and was offered the opportunity to teach Mi’kmaq with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, it was a no-brainer. Teaching at Truro Junior High has also given her the chance to educate the students of her own community. “I really felt that my community had supported me in my education,” she says. “They were so excited that I had become a teacher and I really wanted to give back to them.” For Melody, a 32-year-old mother of two, passing on her language is intensely personal. “I’m not just sitting in a classroom delivering a curriculum. I know how crucial it is for people to learn the language. I know how significant it is to our identity and to our being.” With only a tiny fraction of her community still able to speak Mi’kmaq, Melody sometimes wonders if it’s already too late. “I think we’re so used to speaking English, that we don’t realize we’re not even speaking our language to each another anymore,” says Melody. “I think people have forgotten it’s our mother tongue. We need that back. We need grandparents speaking to their grandchildren. We need to see our young people not afraid to speak it, to be proud to speak it.” In fact, Melody’s master’s research revealed a disturbing stigma associated with speaking Mi’kmaq. She found that there is a wide-spread myth, even among her own people, that someone who studies French as their second language is going to end up smarter than someone who studies Mi’kmaq. “Parents think if their kids take the Mi’kmaq language, over French, then their kids aren’t going to do as well in school.” Sister Dorothy Moore is a Mi’kmaq educator who has been recognized by both the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada. She was directly involved in the development of the Mi’kmaq language curriculum when she served as Director of Mi’kmaq Services at the Nova Scotia Department of Education. Like Melody, Sister Moore feels strongly that the loss of the Mi’kmaq language is tied to the loss of their unique culture and she applauds Melody’s passion for reviving the language among junior high students. “As an educator, Melody has the persuasive power to stop the continued erosion of the Mi’kmaq language and to reinstill the beauty of the language in the minds and hearts of youth.” Each year, Melody starts her Mi’kmaq classes with a poem – I Lost My Talk – written by the Poet Laureate of the Mi’kmaq people, Rita Joe. Melody engages her class in a discussion about the emotional ramifications of losing your language and how they can stop that from happening. “I try to get them to realize how important and how significant it is that they are in my class, learning the Mi’kmaq language. I applaud them for taking the first steps and making the effort.” As the only teacher hired by her school board to teach Mi’kmaq, Melody dreams of a day when Mi’kmaq immersion programs are available for all Mi’kmaq students. Currently, the only other school board that has Mi’kmaq language curriculum is in Eskasoni, Cape Breton. The teachers there have freely shared both their knowledge and guidance with Melody and the developing program at Truro Junior High. In Melody’s mind, the time is now – this is the generation that has to make an effort to revitalize and to regain the language. “It’s almost like we’re in an emergency state,” she says. “Running around trying to fix the wrongs of the past and to let our people know how important it is to learn this language.” When she sees her students practicing and speaking Mi’kmaq together, it gives her hope. “By the time they leave grade nine, we look at our journey together and realize there is much more to learn,” she says. “I’ve given them the tools and now they need to go out and build what they can with those tools. It’s up to them to encourage others to speak the language back to them.” One of the tools that Melody uses to get the Mi’kmaq language out into the mainstream is the “Speaking Mi’kmaq” component of the Truro Daily News. She records a Mi’kmaq word and its English translation once a week on their website, www.trurodaily.com. Melody is heartened by the fact that the general public is becoming more appreciative of the role of the Mi’kmaq people in Nova Scotia. “It’s so different now. I’m teaching Mi’kmaq and I’m being supported by the people around me – my peers, my co-workers, my administration, the parents. We’re in this together. It’s not about you and me anymore. It’s about us. Welta’sultetis kinu Kikmanaq – our ancestors would be proud.” -30-
No adornments please, we’re BritishCredit:Alamy Her warning are in accordance with regulations from the Kennel Club, which runs Crufts and which in November 2016 changed the breed’s standard to stop people showing dogs with bows in their topknots.The wording reads: “It is strongly recommended that the hair on head is tied up without adornment.”But Mrs Maule’s admonition has prompted an angry backlash from owners overseas, where bows are regarded as more acceptable and who were planning to exhibit their dogs in Britain.Kathy Garcia, a shih tzu breeder from Rancho Palos Verdes, California, said: “The self-righteousness of the statement and the overall UK arrogance about their shih tzu rubs the rest of us wrong. The bow is completely irrelevant when it comes to judging the dog…..such a ridiculous thing for her to say!”Sharon Murray, an Australian breeder, added: “For many of us putting bows in the top knot of our shih tzu is a long held tradition. To state it’s only done in an effort to misrepresent an exhibit is so offensive to those who have put many years into breeding high quality dogs but also enjoy using the bow.”Sydney breeder Greg Lamb said: “If a judge has been judging for 26 years they should be more than capable of judging structure regardless of a bow.”Mrs Maule says she has been taken aback by the vitriol aimed in her direction by shih tzu exhibitors she claims are “hell bent on being nasty”.She said she had only posted the note to help visitors from abroad who may not be aware of the rules regarding bows and topknots at UK shows.“I’ve been called a c— judge because supposedly I’m unable to judge under a bow,” she told Dog World magazine.“I’ve awarded challenge certificates for 26 years and have more experience in the breed than most. In America the bow is used to hide faults from the judge and it’s something we don’t want here in the UK.” The intensely passionate world of dog grooming has been riven by bitter divisions over one particularly delicate issue – decorative bows.Angry words have been exchanged after a judge warned exhibitors at Crufts, which opens in Birmingham on Thursday, that she would not judge shih tzus wearing bows or “adornments” of any sort.Pat Maule said such fripperies would not simply be permitted in the ring.In a post on a shih tzu Facebook group the veteran judge warned sternly: “Plain elastic band holding the topknot only please.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Royal Mail has detected a rise in Dark Web dealers sending drugs through one of its sorting offices, police have revealed.A number of Christmas and greetings cards containing cannabis have been intercepted in recent days at Royal Mail’s office in Swindon, addressed to destinations nationwidePolice were alerted by staff who could smell the Class-B drug through the envelope.Inspector David Tippets, from South Swindon Police, said the force had identified around 30 similar packages in Swindon over the last six months.”It’s normally cannabis, because it’s got such a strong smell, if it’s in an envelope and there’s an obvious lump it gets easily identified,” he said.”Some dealing must go on online but in Swindon we deal with the more traditional methods of dealing, with a customer being supplied directly or by a runner as a cash business. “Certainly the birthday card we found is still effectively supplying controlled drugs. Money doesn’t have to change hands for it to be an offence.”Generally what we do is seize the item at the sorting office and it gets destroyed and we record it as intelligence.”Police can have difficulty in tracking down the senders of drugs by post. A postal worker sorting cards and lettersCredit:Joe Giddens/PA It has has become a popular method among dealers who use encrypted online market places to sell and deal drugs which are then concealed in harmless-looking packages and cards.Around 800 cases of posted drugs are thought to have been reported in the past year.A Royal Mail spokesperson said: “Royal Mail understands the tremendous harm that illegal drugs cause in the community.“We work closely on the ground with law enforcement agencies, including the police for domestic mail and with Border Force for international mail.“We support these agencies to stop the carriage and delivery of illegal drugs that are ordered on the dark web, We also encourage our postmen and women to report to their managers any suspicious items which we then promptly refer to the authorities.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.