File consists of an audio recording of an interview with Jessie MacKenzie, East Bay, of her time teaching in Eskasoni.
Biographical Sketch - born at Piper's Cove
Attended school at Benacadie - almost 100 children going from Piper's Cove then went to high schoo at Iona
Started teaching at age 17 - first school was at Christmas Island; taught at Benacadie for 5 years
Went to teach at Eskasoni in 1937
All Mi'kmaw children, but some claimed Scottish ancestry
Gives some Mi'kmaw names: Googoo, Gould, Mathews, Simon a popular first name
What was the reservation like?
Land provided by the Government, no taxes, school well equiped, teachers paid by Federal Government. People were very poor at that time, poor housing etc.,
What about their language?
They were proud of their language...
Did you ever try to learn Mi'kmaq?
Knew a few words at one time; gives a few examples
They understoo English, the Mi'kmaw agent did everything possible to keep them in school; they had no concept of time
Their life style was to be in the woods and on the lakes and rivers
They were very good to each other, very "clannish".
After a funeral, all the deceased person's possessions were sold to pay the expenses
No priest at Eskasoni at the time; a "Captain", one of their own people, came & instructed them - he was a very good man
What about their music & songs?
They were very musical; they learned to sing the Psalms in Latin
Some of the Mi'kmaq learned Gaelic...
Were they good students?
Not at that time - they didn't care too much for going to school
Marion Paul - the first student from Eskasoni to become a teacher
A story about getting caught in a snowstorm going home to Piper's Cove from Eskasoni
Who wrote the song "Bu deonach leam tilleadh"?
Hugh MacKenzie, Christmas Island, a bard, a fiddler & a piper
What would he make songs about?
He would make songs about anything or anybody: the telephone song, a song about an old barn etc.
Sings the song "Bu deonach leam tilleadh"
Tells of teaching Gaelic at East Bay school after she retired from Eskasoni
Had a class every Thursday afternoon - 90 children