Virtual School Meanderings

October 15, 2010

EDGE 2010 – The Conne River Project: Muinji’j Becomes A Man

The first session on day three of the EDGE 2010: e-Learning – The Horizon And Beyond… conference that I’m blogging about is entitled The Conne River Project: Muinji’j becomes a man by Marlene Brooks and Shayne MacDonald (Distance Education Learning Technologies).

The session began with a description of the community in which the project took place – Conne River. For those not from Newfoundland, Conne River is a Micmac or Mi’kmaq community of about 800. The tribe in Conne River is the Miawpukek First Nations. The community had a long history on the south coast of Newfoundland, however, with many of the elders dying out and many of the younger adults not remaining in the community, much of the history and oral tradition that existed in the community was being lost.

The project that was designed to capture that history and communicate it to the youth of the community through using Second Life. The story that was chosen was Muinji’j Becomes a Man – a fictional story set in the 18590s, which was described on the hand-out as:

Muinji’j has been waiting all his life to make this trip with his grandfather – a trip to the city to sell rich otter, beaver and muskrat pelts and bring back supplies to the village. It’s a long expedition that tests Muinji’j’s reserves of strength, patience and maturity. Just as he thinks he and his naskamij have faced all of their challenges, the worst happens – his naskamij falls ill. Although Muinji’j gathers the medicine his grandfather asks for, it doesn’t help fast enough. Both of them realize that there is only one solution: Muinji’j must continue the journey alone. He must face the challenges and mysteries of a city he has never seen, and return to help his grandfather as well as his villiage that relies on him.

The story was loosely based on the personal history of the current chief of the Miawpukek First Nations.

The presenters than spent a considerable time discussing the various aspects of the website, which can be found at The website itself can best be described as an open access course on the history of the Miawpukek First Nation and Conne River specifically, and the Mi’kmaq people in general.

Next the actual space in Second Life was demonstrated – which you can visit yourself by searching for Muinjij Island in Second Life. The island, like the story, is focused on the Mi’kmaq life in Conne River in the 1850s and is loosely designed around the themes and activities in the story Muinji’j Becomes a Man. The Second Life environment allows users to actually do many of the activities that Muinji’j undertook during the story, including dressing in period costume.

I have to be honest and say that Second Life is something I have played with a few times (like less than a dozen) and I haven’t really gotten it. I think that may be because I don’t really know how to interact and move about in the environment. But having watched these presenter demonstrate the environment that they have created to keep this history alive and the experiential manner in which that history is delivered, this is an environment I need to become more familiar with.

1 Comment »

  1. […] EDGE 2010 – The Conne River Project: Muinji’j Becomes A Man […]

    Pingback by Aboriginal Focused Programs in Canada « Virtual School Meanderings — January 18, 2011 @ 9:06 am | Reply

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