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Conversation to focus on potential of Mi kmaq and Maliseet Peoples

Author: Communications

Posted on Feb 22, 2011

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton , Events , myUNB

As New Brunswick struggles with its stagnant economy, aging population and lack of immigration, there is growing recognition that the province’s First Nations represent significant untapped potential. How the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet Peoples Are Key to Our Future is the subject of a conversation to be held on Tuesday, March 1, in Fredericton.  Moderated by Andy Scott, former MP and Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, the event will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the J. Harper Kent Auditorium at the Wu Conference Centre on the University of New Brunswick campus. This conversation is the third in a series called Changing New Brunswick and is part of UNB’s 225th anniversary activities. Participants in the conversation include Graydon Nicholas, lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, by video; Gwen Bear, elder-in-residence at the UNB Mi’kmaq-Maliseet Institute; Chris George, director of aboriginal education initiatives at St. Thomas University; David Perley, a Maliseet educator, researcher and leader; and Angel Ward, a student in the First Nations Business Administration Certificate Program at UNB. Admission is free and open to the public.  Audience members will be encouraged to join in the discussion. The conversation will focus on the ways in which First Nations people contribute to and enrich all aspects of society, and the means by which First Nations can realize their full potential in New Brunswick, particularly through education. As Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations has said, “Our agenda is about building strong First Nations that will see Canada fulfil its economic potential.  The centre of this agenda is education.  First Nations youth are the youngest and fastest growing segment of our population.  First Nations youth who complete high school are twice as likely to be employed, and those who get university degrees triple their earning power.” A continuation of the Next New Brunswick initiative begun by then-president John McLaughlin in 2004, the conversation series focuses on issues of major importance to the past, present and future of the province.  Previous conversations looked at the legacy of Lord Beaverbrook and the future of universities in New Brunswick.  The fourth and final conversation on governance will take place on April 12 in Fredericton. The Changing New Brunswick Conversation series is funded by a bequest from alumnus J. William Andrews, who graduated from UNB in 1952 with a degree in economics.  A native of Milltown, N.B., Mr. Andrews died in 2005 leaving one-quarter of his estate to his alma mater.

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NOTE TO MEDIA:  For more information or to arrange interviews with any of the participants, please contact Susan Montague, Coordinator of Changing New Brunswick, montague@unb.ca or 506-440-2991.