Launch of the Elsie Basque Space at the Louis-R.-Comeau Library

Church Point (NS), September 15, 2021- The university community and the public are cordially invited to attend the launch of the Elsie Basque Space and the unveiling of a bust in her likeness on Wednesday, September 29 at the Louis-R.-Comeau Library.

Everyone is welcome to take part in a solidarity walk departing from the university reception at 10:00 a.m. and arriving at the library where the launch and unveiling will take place. There will also be an opportunity to browse through a book exhibit that will be on display at the library throughout the month of October to mark Mi'kmaq History Month.

In addition, a screening of the film We Were Children will be held on Wednesday evening (more details to follow).

Born on May 12, 1916, in Hectanooga, N.S., Elsie Basque was a survivor of the residential school system, was the first Mi’kmaw woman in Nova Scotia to obtain a teaching certificate and was the first Aboriginal person to teach in a non-Aboriginal school on Cape Breton Island. Both in the United States and on the Shubenacadie Reserve, she has taught Aboriginal people of all ages to be proud of their cultural heritage. Having devoted much of her time to the well-being of First Nations members, particularly elders, she took great satisfaction from the accomplishments of her former students.

Member of the Order of Canada, Elsie Basque has received honorary doctorates from Nova Scotia Teacher’s College (1997), Université Sainte-Anne (2005), and Acadia University (2013). She was the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Elder Achievement Award for her longstanding contribution to the Mi’kmaw community.

The Elsie Basque Space and the installation of her bust, a clay sculpture created in 2017 by artist Kevin P. Comeau titled A Woman of Many Firsts, was made possible by generous donors, the families of Clarence and Pauline Comeau and Aline, Jeanne and Adrienne.

The launch will also serve to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation which was recently announced for September 30 each year. This event will serve to commemorate the events of this tragic history and recognize the ongoing legacy of residential schools and the harm they have caused to Indigenous families and communities.

All Université Sainte-Anne campuses will now be closed on September 30 each year to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

As an educator and volunteer, Elsie Basque was an exemplary role model and champion of Aboriginal values and traditions. We look forward to welcoming the community to this new space to recognize the contributions of this remarkable member of our community and to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

About Université Sainte-Anne

Université Sainte-Anne, the only French language post-secondary institution in Nova Scotia, offers university and college-level courses as well as a French immersion program and customized training in French as a second language. Recognized for its excellent programs as well as its unique and exceptional living environment, Sainte-Anne offers experiential learning opportunities that promote student engagement and success, and an atmosphere which encourages a culture of excellence in research and development. Solidly established in its community, Université Sainte-Anne is a partner of choice for all those who wish to strengthen the vitality of the regions surrounding its 5 campuses as well as all of Acadie throughout Nova Scotia.

For more information        

Rachelle LeBlanc, Director of Communications and Marketing
Université Sainte-Anne
Tel.: 902-769-2114 Extension 7222