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Mi'kmaq Honour Song Translation Project

Mi'kmaq Honour Song Translation Project

Learn about the translation of the Mi’kmaq Honour Song to Mi’kmaq Sign Language.

About the honour song and translation

The Honour Song was written by George Paul and copyrights remains with George Paul. Wela’liek to George Paul for sharing the story of the Honour Song and his vision with us. Thank you to Andrea Simon for guiding the film production. Thank you to Gary Joseph for guiding the sharing circles.

The Honour Song Translation project is a collaboration with Mi’kmaq Deaf signers, Mi’kmaq Elders, language keepers, translators, singers, signers, dancers, and community members.

The Mi’kmaq Sign Language translation was co-created in November 2021 in a collaborative ceremonial text analysis translation exercise. The Mi’kmaq Sign Language lyrics were created by Mi’kmaq signers Holly Green and Sheila Johnson by weaving together their collective knowledge of Old Mi’kmaq signs, Maritime Sign Language, American Sign Language. The Mi’kmaq language knowledge was provided by Kenny Prosper, Michael R Denny, Allwyn Jeddore, and others.

In the Mi’kmaq Sign Language lyrics, friends and family become rooted in Ancestral ways, uniting with the Creator and all of Creation. Through this interconnectedness, we show respect by taking care of each other. When we care for one another and all of Creation, L’nui’suti (language, and ways of knowing and being Mi’kmaq) comes into our hearts, this is the space where the drumbeat is felt, with emotion.

This project supports the Truth and Reconciliation calls for action and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, 2S and Gender Diverse Peoples Inquiry Final Report’s calls for justice. View applicable calls for action and justice.

2022 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival

The Mi'kmaq Honour Song Translation Project was included in the 2022 FIN Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax, NS.

Protocols for video usage

Everyone can watch this video to learn about the Honour Song.

  • This video is not to be used instead of live performance. When wanting to use the Honour Song to open an event, hire Mi’kmaq performers!,
  • In the spirit of reciprocity, this video is generously shared free of charge, please do not use this video for financial gain or profit.
  • Talk to Elders and knowledge keepers to learn about cultural protocols around ceremonial songs, see resources below
  • Talk about language reclamation and revitalization and what these concepts and actions mean to the communities doing this work, see resources below

Resources for learning more about Mi’kmaq language and culture

Relevant Truth and Reconciliation calls for action

If you are using this video for education, learn about Truth and Reconciliation and your part.

  • Relevant Calls to action ¹
  • 14. i. Aboriginal languages are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, and there is an urgency to preserve them.
  • 63. iii. Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect.

¹ (PDF 279KB) “aboriginal” in the original calls to action.

Relevant Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, 2S and Gender Diverse Peoples Inquiry Final Report calls for justice

Review the Calls for Justice from the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, 2S and Gender Diverse Peoples Inquiry Final Report

  • Relevant Calls for justice #
  • 2.2 We call upon all governments to recognize Indigenous languages as official languages, with the same status, recognition, and protection provided to French and English. This includes the directives that:
    1. Federal, provincial, and territorial governments must legislate Indigenous languages in the respective territory as official languages.
    2. All governments must make funds available to Indigenous Peoples to support the work required to revitalize and restore Indigenous cultures and languages.
  • 2.4 We call upon all governments to provide the necessary resources and permanent funds required to preserve knowledge by digitizing interviews with Knowledge Keepers and language speakers. We further call upon all governments to support grassroots and community- led Indigenous language and cultural programs that restore identity, place, and belonging within First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities through permanent, no-barrier funding and resources. Special measures must include supports to restore and revitalize identity, place, and belonging for Indigenous Peoples and communities who have been isolated from their Nations due to colonial violence, including 2SLGBTQQIA people and women who have been denied Status.

Funding for this project was generously provided by:

NSCC Foundation & Alumni Relations
NSCC Foundation

Turtle Island Institute - Indigenous Social Innovation
Turtle Island Institute

NSCC Human Rights & Equity Services
NSCC Human Rights, Equity, and Inclusion