About MDCC

The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre staff is anchored strongly in Mi’kmaw communities and includes a range of language fluency and expertise from history to art to science. From left to right are Tim Bernard (Millbrook First Nation), Shannon Googoo (Millbrook First Nation), Sharon Farrell (Miawpukek First Nation), and Gerald Gloade (Millbrook First Nation).

The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) became involved in the Debert archaeological sites in 1989 when Dr. Donald M. Julien, Executive Director of CMM, was notified of newly-discovered artifacts in the Belmont area. Realizing the importance of the sites and seeing the destruction caused by all-terrain vehicles, Dr. Julien began to work towards the protection of these very important sites. Ultimately these efforts led to the vision for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre (MDCC) project is a charitable, not-for-profit First Nations organization, mandated by all thirteen Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs. The project is administered through The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, a First Nation tribal council. The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre became incorporated as a society in 2001, and gained charitable status as an organization in 2002.

In 2002, the Mi’kmawey Debert Elders’ Advisory Council was convened by Dr. Julien: this council represents Mi’kmaw communities across Nova Scotia and they have been critical in guiding the development and vision of the project.

Since this time, the project has been through an extensive planning process including the 2003 Elders’ Programmatic Statement (Connecting with Our Past), a 2005 Feasibility Study (includes fundraising feasibility), a 2007 Plan for Visitor Experiences, a 2009 Master Site Plan (includes a sustainable design strategy and security analysis), and a 2010 Functional Programme. Paralleling these individual planning elements are a number of other long-term planning processes including curatorial research at museums in Canada and the United States, environmental and archaeological assessment, and a significant endowment campaign.

MDCC Board of Directors

Dr. Donald M. Julien, C.M., O.N.S., DCL, DHumL
Executive Director
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Executive Director of The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq for the past 19 years, Dr. Julien is also a Mi’kmaw historian and human rights advocate. With over 40 years researching and documenting Mi’kmaw history, Donald shares his knowledge and experiences through speaking engagements, university lectures and research papers. Donald is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, which were granted for his work promoting Mi’kmaw history, language and culture. He has also been awarded two honorary degrees from Acadia University and Mount Saint Vincent University.

Donald is a peace time veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces and has served in the United Nations on a peacekeeping tour in Cyprus. He continues work with the Canadian Armed forces in a community advisory role for the RCMP Aboriginal Advisory Group, as well as the Auditor General on Aboriginal matters. He sits on the Advisory Board for Admiral of the Canadian Navy, and he was appointed Honorary Lt. Colonel in 2011. Don and his wife Diane live in Truro, proud parents of four children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Donald Julien is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

Lynn Knockwood
Director of Common Services
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Lynn Knockwood has over 22 years experience working for First Nations communities in the field of finance. Lynn has been with The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) since 1992. She has held positions as Finance Clerk and Financial Service Manager at CMM. Prior to her employment at CMM she worked with Mi’kma’ki Development Corporation Housing Services. Lynn holds a Certificate in Business, and has attended many professional development courses pertaining to her field.

In 2005, she was appointed to the senior management team as the Director of Common Services bringing her talents in financial management and intuitive administrative style to the position.  In 2010, The Aboriginal Financial Officers Association (AFOA) of Canada was pleased to announce Lynn Anne Knockwood as a recipient to receive the AFOA/Xerox Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award – community/regional category – for her many years of dedication and leadership in finance.  Lynn Knockwood is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

Tim Bernard
Director of History & Culture
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Tim Bernard is well known beyond his own community of Millbrook as the Manager/Editor of the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Nations News and Eastern Woodland Print Communications. Employed by The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) as a Land Claims Researcher from 1988 to 1994, he gained extensive historical knowledge under the direction of Dr. Donald Julien. He now brings his management expertise to The CMM as the Director of History and Culture, and to the development of the Mi’kmawey Debert project.

Tim is the Mi’kmaw co-chair of the Culture and History working committee of the Tripartite Forum as well as a member of the History Month and Treaty Day committees. Through these and other avenues, Tim’s direction affects communities across Nova Scotia. He has set forth and achieved realistic and meaningful outcomes through these avenues, advancing knowledge and appreciation for place names, language growth and retention, cultural resources for educators and the importance of the stories of Elders and others in the communities.

He has served on the task force of the Nova Scotia Heritage Strategy and is regularly involved with overall heritage and tourism sector development. Tim Bernard is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

Angeline Gillis, B.A., LL.B.
Director, Mi’kmaw Conservation Group
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Angeline Gillis, B.A., LL.B., was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia and was raised in East Bay, N.S. and is a member of the Eskasoni First Nation. She is the daughter of Fred Gillis and Donna Stevens, granddaughter of the late Andrew J. Stevens, former Keptin of the Sante’ Mawi’omi.

Angie earned her undergraduate degree from Dalhousie University in 2005 and her LL.B from the Schulich School of Law (formerly Dalhousie Law School) in 2009. After completing her articling with Boyne Clarke Barristers and Solicitors, she was called to the Bar in June 2010, having performed her affirmation in both English and Mi’kmaq.

Angie manages the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group at The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq. In addition to her work with the CMM, Angeline also maintains her own practice as a Barrister & Solicitor. She is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association, Halifax’s Estate Planning Counsel, and is commissioned as a Notary Public. Angeline Gillis is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

Jim Hepworth
Director of Community Programs and Corporate Services
The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq

Jim Hepworth has over 10 years experience working for First Nations Communities within the Atlantic Region in the field of community and economic development. He has been with The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq (CMM) since 1995. Before being selected for his position as Director of Community Programs and Corporate Services, Jim was Economic Development Officer at The CMM.  As Senior Director, Jim is responsible for the operation of all programs and services with Tripartite Secretariat and Liaison, Education, Health, MMDC, and Economic Development. Prior to his employment at The CMM he worked at the Canada Employment Centre and Statistics Canada.

Jim holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree majoring in Human Resource Management and Economics from Saint Mary’s University. Jim is a Certified Human Resources Professional with the Canadian Counsel of Human Resources. Jim Hepworth is the co-chair of the Steering committee of the Tripartite Forum.  Jim Hepworth is a member of the Board of Directors for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.

MDCC Staff

Shanna Francis
Language Coordinator
Mi'kmawey Debert Cultural Centre

Shanna Francis is the Language Coordinator with the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre (MDCC). Shanna is from Eskasoni, Nova Scotia where she was taught how to fish, hunt and make traditional Mi’kmaq baskets. Shanna is a recent graduate of Saint Francis Xavier University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Education Degree. Her focus is in the Secondary Stream, specializing in Mi’kmaq Language and Social Studies. Prior to enrolling at StFX, Shanna attended Cape Breton University where she also obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2015.  Shanna has had a wide range of professional and educational experience. She is working to help revitalize the Mi’kmaw Language in the Mainland communities. She will play a central role in engaging Mi’kmaw communities through a variety of media and tactics to gain input and collaboration in the planning of this project.

Ashley Stevens
Communications Officer
Mi'kmawey Debert Cultural Centre

Ashley Stevens is the new Communications Officer with the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre (MDCC). Ashley is from Membertou, NS. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Community Studies Degree in 2007 from CBU. After gaining some professional experience she went on to receive her Advanced Diploma in Public Relations from NSCC in 2015. Ashley has had a wide range of professional and educational experience. She is working to help raise the profile and awareness of the MDCC. She will play a central role in engaging Mi’kmaw communities through a variety of media and tactics to gain input and collaboration in the planning of this important place prior to architectural design. Ashley currently lives in Millbrook First Nation with her husband James and their son, Nash.

Trevor Gould
Key Stories Curatorial Assistant
Mi'kmawey Debert Cultural Centre

Trevor Gould is from the Paqtnkek Mi’kmaw Nation, and is the Key Stories Curatorial Assistant for Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre. He studied Canadian History at Dalhousie University, and was previously a band councillor for his home community of Paqtnkek. When he started at Mi’kmawey Debert, he was a photo archive assistant, scanning and researching information on a collection of old photos from Elder Elsie Charles Basque. Presently he helps five mainland communities with their Key Stories Projects, which are all unique stories that each community wants the world to learn about them and their history. He is an avid traditional singer and dancer, and has a huge interest in working as a director and emcee for local powwows. He currently lives in the Sipekne’katik First Nation with his partner Jennifer and their beautiful daughter.


Sharon Farrell
Curatorial Assistant
Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre

Sharon Farrell (B.A.) is from St. Alban’s, Bay d’Espoir, Newfoundland and is a member of the Miawpukek First Nation. Sharon plays a major role tracking all curatorial data and integrating such data into research and interpretation outcomes. While her formal duties involve the development and management of the curatorial data for the project, she can be found assisting with a range of IT, writing and editing tasks for the project. Trained in archaeology at Memorial University, she moved to Nova Scotia in 2005 to work on the geology and archaeology of the Debert-Belmont archaeological sites. Being involved with the MDCC project allows Sharon to feel connected to her Mi’kmaw identity and to bridge past generations of her family.

Gerald Gloade
Program Development Officer
Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Center

Gerald Gloade is an artist and educator who is currently the Program Development Officer for the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre. Gerald started his career working as a graphic designer for the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources’ Communications and Education Branch more than 25 years ago. The focus of his work with the Province moved from forestry education and graphic art to sharing his culture and history in the landscape and environment of Mi’kma’ki with audiences of all ages. As an artist, educator and Mi’kmaw storyteller, Gerald guides the development of visitor and educational programs for the centre. His stories and interpretations of the Kluskap legends in particular have captured many audiences. Gerald is a key member of the curatorial group, growing our understandings of collections, places, people, practices and events for the future Centre. Gerald was brought up and lives in the community of Millbrook with his wife Natalie and their two sons, Gerald D. and Kyle.

Sheila Pierro-Tremblay
Mi’kmawey Debert Administrator
Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Center

Sheila Pierro-Tremblay is the Project Administrator for the MDCC project. Her far-reaching duties include managing the logistics for all aspects of the MDCC, with special attention to the Mi’kmawey Debert Elders’ Advisory Council. A Mi’kmaw speaker she assists the project regularly with translations and understanding cultural concepts within the language. Sheila graduated from Success Business College with her Travel and Tourism Diploma in June 2002. Her previous experience as a Front Desk Agent, a Certified Heritage Interpreter and Certified Visitor Information Travel Councilor has been valuable to the planning process of the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre project.  Sheila lives in the Millbrook First Nation with her husband Elvis.

Leah Morine Rosenmeier, Ph.D.
Research and Interpretation Specialist
Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Center

Leah Morine Rosenmeier (Ph.D.) is the MDCC Research and Interpretation Specialist. Her duties include overall project planning as well as research and interpretation. With more than 20 years of experience in the museum field, she helps to bridge the project to academia and to museum practice. Throughout her career Leah has been dedicated to community education and development through cultural activities and research tackling difficult issues such as repatriation as well as more creative endeavors such as exhibition development and educational outreach. Her favorite projects include the Mi’kmaw photo project—Mikwite’lmanej Mi’kmaqi’k: Let Us Remember the Old Mi’kmaq, co-creating Anguti’s Amulet and the related community-based Inuit archaeology project in Makkovik, Labrador, and, of course, Mi’kmawey Debert. She lives in Truro with her husband Randall and their four children.

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