FREDERICTON (CNB) - Students will soon have the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal culture and heritage through the creation of the New Brunswick Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat Award for the Celebration of Aboriginal heritage.

The initiative was announced today by the minister of Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, Rick Brewer, and Wellness, Culture and Sport Minister Hédard Albert.

"New Brunswick's Aboriginal Heritage Award will give students the opportunity to celebrate and learn from our province's rich and vibrant First Nations culture," said Brewer.

Over the past three months, 130 school-based fairs were held across the province, giving students the opportunity to assemble and present hands-on, multi-media presentations on Canadian people, legends, milestones and achievements.

"I am honoured to work with the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat on such an important subject," said Albert. "Sensitivity to First Nations heritage and culture is essential to understanding our province and this is why we strongly believe it is important to support such programs."

Participating students will be recognized by New Brunswick's heritge community at regional heritage fairs that will take place in April and May. Fifteen awards are available, one per regional heritage site. Award recipients will also be selected to attend the provincial showcase taking place at the Village Historique Acadien June 25-27.

Eligible students must meet the following criteria:

  • projects may be presented in English, French, or an Aboriginal language, at any grade level;
  • projects must have an Aboriginal theme or perspective;
  • projects should express an appreciation for Aboriginal history, heritage, or culture;
  • projects and students must demonstrate a clear understanding of the Aboriginal theme chosen for study;
  • projects should use resources that accurately and appropriately reflect Aboriginal perspectives and voices; and
  • students must demonstrate enthusiasm for, and reflection on, the topic.

The New Brunswick Heritage Fairs Program is an initiative of Heritage Branch of the Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport. Support is also provided from the Department of Education, the New Brunswick Museum, the Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the Council of Archives New Brunswick, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages, the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, the New Brunswick Labour History Project, the Provincial Capital Commission and the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat.

For more information, visit the New Brunswick Heritage Fairs website.