A message from Elder Dr. Joe Michael on National Indigenous Peoples Day

In light of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Elder Dr. Joe Michael wanted to share this message with the community:

"Understanding and interacting with different cultures helped me to better understand the diversity of culture. Our Mi'kmaq Nation has met many different ethnic and diverse groups, and learning to respect these cultures has allowed us to better communicate and understand people."

 

Who is Elder Dr. Joe Michael?

Elder Dr. Joe Michael (or "Elder Joe Mike" as he's often known) is Acadia's Elder in Residence. In this role, he collaborates with Acadia's Indigenous Student Resource Centre and provides support and resources, primarily to Indigenous students and Indigenous staff, from a holistic Mi’kmaw perspective. This support addresses mental, spiritual, cultural, emotional, and physical health needs.

Elder Joe Mike, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities from Acadia in 2019, is a highly regarded inspirational and spiritual leader within the Mi’kmaw Nation, Indigenous communities across Canada, and on Acadia’s campus, particularly with students interested in learning traditional knowledge.

His passion for educating youth has made him a regular visitor to university campuses in Nova Scotia. At Acadia, he has played a key role in Mawio’mi events since 2015. In addition to his consulting and teaching, Elder Joe carves talking sticks that have made their way around the world and are a symbol of his belief in the power of storytelling and finding balance.

Elder Joe Michael was the first Mi’kmaw member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. During his 25-year RCMP career, he earned respect from Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. He combined his traditional knowledge with contemporary policing practices to increase cross-cultural awareness and develop the RCMP’s Aboriginal Community Policing model that remains part of the force’s cadet training program in Regina. Before retiring from the RCMP as Detachment Commander, he became the force’s Pipe Carrier responsible for performing sacred rituals and ceremonies and helping all people better understand the Indigenous culture.

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