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The St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Math Contest

Mathematics is the language of the universe. It is then fitting that, as we celebrate the 400th anniversary of our foundress Marguerite Bourgeoys, we joined with the grade five and six students of the Catholic School board of Kingston for their first math contest. Mr. Henry Santos, a passionate math teacher, and former student of the CNDs, contacted us asking if our 400th celebration and their contest might link-up. He wanted the Kingston sisters to name the contest, and to choose a name and design for the new trophy that would be passed on to the winning school each year. There was much enthusiastic discussion around these topics until we came to the consensus of “The St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Math Contest,” and “St. Marguerite Bourgeoys trophy,” with the design of the official picture we received of Marguerite.

 

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National Indigenous People’s Day

Today, June 21, is National Indigenous People’s Day, a day to learn more about the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Indigenous peoples of Canada. Current terminology can assist our understanding and respectful dialogue.

– First Nations is a term that came into common use in the 70’s as an alternative to the outdated term Indian. It refers to people who have official status under the Indian Act of Canada, as well as persons without status who identify as belonging to a First Nation. First Nations have specific names we can learn to use.

– Inuit means people in the Inuktitut language and is used to refer to Indigenous people who live in the Arctic regions of Canada. The term Eskimo is no longer used and may be considered as offensive.

– Metis refers to people of mixed ancestry who have developed their own traditions, cultures and languages distinct from those of their Indigenous and European ancestors. The term should be used only to refer to people who self-identify as Metis.

It helps to move away from using old terms, like Indian or native as these words evoke Canada’s colonial past. Indigenous peoples now have the opportunity to choose the terms used to identify them.

 

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National Indigenous Peoples Day 2017 Presentation

To begin with, I am not an expert on the history and customs of First Nation People. So I can only share with you what I have learned and experienced in my 29 years with the people of the Canim Lake Reserve, Shuswap Nation, known in Secwepemc as Tsq’escenemc.

I would like to tell you a little about the Congrégation de Notre-Dame, of which I have been a member for 61 years. Our foundress, Marguerite Bourgeoys, came to New France in 1653 to be the first teacher of Ville Marie. She fought long and hard to have her group of women recognized as an uncloistered religious community. She wanted the sisters to go out to the native people around the fort that was Montreal at that time. She opened a school located in one of the towers, which still stands on the property of the Sulpician Fathers. So, we have always been a congregation devoted to education and inclusive of all people.

 

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