Ken Bryson Ph.D., "A Guide to Problem Solving and Informed Social Action in Indigenous Communities"


The following STS Toolbox provides a pathway to the resolution of issues that exist at the intersection of science, technology, and society in Indigenous communities. In this model, the data banks of academic and community resources along with their respective value added programs are filtered through the lenses of interactive systems (eco-systems, resources, economy, society, polity, and culture) under the watchful eye of STS’s four thematic contrasts (citizenship/idiotship, comprehension/ignorance, holism/reductionism, benefits/cost), and blended into panels leading to the ethical resolution of social issues through informed community based social action. STS is offered over two semesters. The first semester focuses on a study of the STS method and its application to the identification and resolution of community issues. The second semester sees a wider application of the method to the study of issues at the intersection of science, technology, and society such as medical technology, computer ethics, biotechnology, and environmental ethics. On occasion the social action project initiated during the first semester is continued into the second term of the course.

Keywords: resources, programs, systems, thematic contrasts, panels, ethics, social action. 


The following method provides a hands-on toolbox designed to raise awareness and solve community issues.1 The Science, Technology and Society (STS) Panels that follow below identify necessary steps towards resolving existing problems, or preventing the otherwise unanticipated consequences of technological developments in these communities. The resolution of these issues takes place through a process that examines academic and community resources and programs in the light of STS principles and informed social action. The role of STS principles is to mediate the process from the discovery of existing resources and programs to the resolution of actual or potential community issues. This paper outlines a systematic process to resolve these issues through the production of responsible, informed, social action. The present model is based in large measure on the STS literature, as well as the STS program at Pennsylvania State University2

An STS problem is one that arises at the intersection of science, technology, and society. What makes this STS method different from other approaches to community issues is the explicit blend of classroom theory and societal issue in each community as an integral part of the course structure. Theory and problem come together to solve pressing issues by using the lenses of society, culture, economics, politics, resources, and eco-systems as the solution to an existing problem. Further, the method is designed to avoid the unwanted consequences of scientific developments before they arise. The belief in the value of progress directs us to look to science and technology for the solution to real problems. But developments in science and technology can also create new unanticipated problems. In summary, the following guide is a proven method for anticipating and resolving the second order consequences of technological developments before they arise, and for directing the future course of community change through informed social action.

The Panels discussed in Figure One form a dynamic unit. They are distinct but they are not separate from the whole. Each Panel forms part of a mobile. To set a Panel in motion is to set all Panels in motion. Once a Panel is activated it begins to connect the Resource and value added Panels with an actual or possible community problem (Focus Panel). The process begins with either the Resource-Value Added Panels or with the Focus Panel depending on the constructivist perspective or what a student brings to the classroom. The student’s entry point is an essential part of the process because it functions as the means through which the nature of community issues is introduced for planned action. The student’s input along with available resources and programs (academic and community driven) are filtered through STS lenses (STS Method). The goal of the analysis is to generate informed social action. The Social Action Panel contains a set of guidelines to ensure that the action initiated by the Band is successful. No detail is too small to overlook. For instance, the list of checkmarks to action includes a review of the adequacy of scientific investigative skills, the breadth of communication skills, the nature and limits of the medium used to deliver social action. Each Panel contains details to serve the goal of informed action. While some details are more relevant than others to the resolution of a targeted issue, all aspects of a problem are examined to ensure that the right solution is found. We need to anticipate and avoid possible negative outcomes. This is especially important today because we do not have consensus on the consequences of issues such as the nature of future work or the type of problems that could haunt future generations. The STS process opens in one of two possible ways. It can begin with a study of the Resource Panel, or it can begin with a study of the Focus Panel depending on the constructivist perspectives students bring to the classroom. The Focus Panel can be reactive or proactive, as explained above.

The academic tone is set at the beginning of classes. What makes science special? Can we imagine that negative as well as positive outcomes arise from science? We look at the history of inventions as a teaching tool to examine the role that systems (culture, society, economics, policy, ethics, environment) play in scientific inductions. We seek to identify the positive and negative impact of these inventions on a community. STS is introduced as a method for making informed choices about our quality of life. In addition, students are invited to think about the connection between academic theory and the solution of community problems. For instance, students are asked to imagine the nature of the connection that could exist between each course in their program and a focus area. We need to take an interdisciplinary approach to community problems. As far as the academic budget permits, STS courses are team taught. STS courses at CBU originated as team taught by an engineer and a philosopher. The holistic perspective depends on interdisciplinarity. In practice, we form small research groups of five to six students that strive to represent as many different disciplinary interests as possible. This allows students an opportunity to see a problem through many eyes. 


As discussed above, the STS analysis begins with a study of five interconnected Panels;

Focus Panel: This Panel opens with the study of a problem found in a local community or with the undesirable consequence of a proposed technological development. The first step is to delineate all aspects of the focus area through an in-depth study of the problem at hand. A problem is a deviation from a norm. What is the norm? Why did the problem arise? Be specific in deconstructing the problem by including all specifications of the problem such as the what, when, where, why, how, and when of the problem history. What gave rise to the problem; was anything changed in the environment that could be used to explain the emergence of this problem.

In philosophy, we seek to understand problems through a methodology that in part examines the problem from the point of view of principles and causes. This approach leads to several steps such as the effort to define and/or describe terms, make distinctions (for instance the distinction between defining or determining what a being is, and describing, or observing what a being does, is made because not all things have universally accepted definitions). In addition, the Socratic method focuses on the examination of all assumptions surrounding a problem. Take nothing for granted. Not all unknowns are clearly identifiable but no aspect of a problem should go unnoticed. Descartes’s methodology is helpful in this regard as we seek to reduce the complex aspects of a problem to simpler elements. The simple elements are examined individually through a mathematical system of intuition and deduction, analysis, and synthesis. Logic rightly focuses on maintaining internal consistency. For my part the analysis of a problem forces the inquiry into why an issue is a problem. The examination of assumptions concerning the problem at hand forces a discussion into why the issue exists as a problem. The process depends in part on a philosophy of the person. In my study of what it means to be a person (we need to agree on what we are before we can fix what is broken about us), I propose that persons are the output of three main strings of relationships, namely (1) carbon (2) interpersonal, and (3) relationships arising in the order of consciousness. Thus, the examination of a problem area deconstructs into one or more of these streams of person-making associations. In this methodology, the solution to a problem arises by addressing the break in one or more of these associations.

The goal of this STS analysis is to solve that problem, and ideally to do so proactively although society can be saddled with the undesirable consequences of technological developments after the fact. The matter is complex because an informed social action arises through the in-depth study of the elements found in all the Panels. The Resource Panel plays a major role in that solution as is evident in a review of how past problems were resolved. Past problems studied in First Nations communities include fracking, waste water disposal, water treatment, job seeking, high unemployment, radiation, poverty, garbage control, bilingual street signage, dog control, drug use disorder, residential school experience, Styrofoam cups, recycling, agriculture. Appendix

‘A’ contains a detailed list of issues examined in the classroom (1990-2016).

An important specification for the study of problem area is that it exists locally. In STS we think globally but we always begin locally. The reason for this is that a problem comes to life in the user’s community. You know where everyone lives; you know who to call and what resources are available to solve the problem. We begin the process by forming small groups of like-minded individuals. In practice, a proposed policy is written and brought to band Council by students with different disciplinary resources such as business, drama, technology, chemistry, English, Mi’kmaq, physics, biology, anthropology, social work, and philosophy (…) to take a comprehensive approach to a focus area. Class discussion focuses on how each academic discipline relates to a problem area. Students are invited to think about the connection between a community resource, their disciplinary focus, and the problem area. To cultivate this mindset, students are invited to keep a folder of newspaper clippings on the focus area and other materials from the popular press, as well as peer reviewed journal articles that relate to the problem at hand.  I also assign readings on a chosen focus area.

The next step is to write a detailed history of the problem. Be objective and open to the truth (bias free) because history can be distorted by individuals with an agenda. The victors often write history. The ideal is to approach the Resource and Value added Panels as objectively as possible. Keep the constructivist perspective in mind, namely flesh out the interests that each member of the group brings to the table. Some students study at CBU because they already have a focus in mind while others come to university without any clear goal other than to obtain a university degree and move on to graduate school in some area or other. The final choice of a major, minor or concentration is made at the end of the second year of studies. 

Resource Panel: The STS method is not limited to the mix of traditional course offerings and the availability of community resources. The possibility exists for an individual to draw on elective courses to develop imaginative combinations of academic disciplines and community resources to solve existing problems. For instance, in co-op programs some work experience translates into academic equivalency. At the same time the realization that a required community resource does not exists, can be an opportunity to fill a perceived need. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. This vision extends to academia as new courses are constantly being developed by faculty to fill the perceived academic needs of students. In most cases, existing degree programs need to be reconfigured before they can meet the needs of future generations. In the development of future degree or certificate programs it seems possible to imagine that students could write their own degree contents through the selection of resources (courses and programs) that meet their individual needs. This is to widen the existing parameters of university programs to include courses that meet the needs of a technological society.

The goal of the Resource Panel, as the wording suggests, is to link an academic discipline and/or a community resource with a problem area. The connection takes place through the value-added Panel where academic and community programs are housed. This is made clear with a practical case. Say for instance that your focus area is ground contamination. The discipline panel invites you to examine the connection between each course you take at CBU and that problem. The history of the case sends us on multiple errands as we take the tools of all the disciplines and community resources to uncover the multidisciplinary truths of pollution. For instance, a business course leads me to inquire into the cost of pollution while psychology and biology send me on a parallel path to that same truth through a study of building sickness and environmental contamination. The connection might not always be obvious but the challenge in some cases is to find it. For instance, a course in English literature leads me to connect a romantic period poem with the beauty of nature. Philosophy leads me to make distinctions between conservation and preservation, and perhaps examine academic resources (articles and books) on environmental rights by raising questions such as ‘do a tree have standing rights’, that is rights that can be represented in a court of law? A course in biology and psychology can point me in the direction of research on the effects of waste contamination or less than aesthetically pleasing architecture and building sickness. In this proactive light, each course acquires a fresh new meaning and an existing community resource is identified and used. The success of this Panel is a prelude to even better things to come as we examine the Value-added dimension of academic and community programs.

Value Added: Academic and community programs bring life to academic and community resources. A guide on Mi’kmaq and Indigenous Studies is found at http://libguides.cbu.ca/Mikmaq while a detail of resources and programs available in NS Bands is found at the back of this paper. The development of programs from available resources is an application of the Gestalt principle ‘the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts’ because of the element of organization or as we say in philosophy, meaning always creates a surplus of the signified over the signifying. Programs provide a forum for citizens to do the right thing. They add value to theory. There is no value free academic or community program. The two main points to keep uppermost in mind about programs are ethics (on doing the right thing) and the constructivist perspective (the needs of the participants). Programs develop to meet those objectives. The importance of being objective in program development is critical to the success of a program, although the individuals that participate in those programs do so to meet their own needs. For instance, a resource for abused women or men can develop programs for individuals that experience partner violence, respite care, and anger management to name a few successful programs.  


Whereas a missed constructivist bias can distort the nature of an intended program, doing the wrong thing also leads to unwanted legal and ethical issues. But what is the right thing to do? Ethical theories are grouped into four main types with several side roads in each category to help guide moral conduct. The first group of ethical headings is placed under the heading of normative ethics which are a priori and move from the top down so to speak. Aristotle’s virtue ethics, Aquinas’s natural law ethical theory, Kant’s deontological ethics, and Mill’s utilitarian ethics are instances of normative ethics. Descriptive ethics, on the other hand, moves from the ground up as we learn to do the right thing from experience. Professional codes of conduct such as the association of computing machinist, engineering, and architectural ethics each fall into this category. Common sense etiquette, the use of precedents to determine points of law, and the observed choices that a people make in their community also provide instances of descriptive ethics. In time, descriptive ethics leads to the establishment of normative codes of behavior that professional are expected to follow in their chosen area of work. The next group of ethical headings falls under the section of applied ethics. This type of ethical theory is growing in use as the global community strives to reach agreement on public policy. The Charter of Human Rights provides an excellent illustration of how applied ethics works as we strive to attain universal agreement on human rights (beneficence), and avoid discrimination, torture, and violence to name a few instances of Charter rights (no maleficence). These instances of applied ethics can also lead to the development of a normative ethics. The development of environmental ethics is the third urgent issue in our day. The treatment of the environment and the treatment of some First Nation women follows a similar misguided path. While the Global Green Charter was established in 2001, we have yet to reach global agreement on the nature of sustainable developments, ecology, and economics. The focus in our day is on economic development rather than human development. Environmental ethics also includes medical ethics, bioethics, engineering ethics, journalistic ethics, and health care ethics. Some of these cases appear to fit into two or more categories because the study of ethics is multidisciplinary.

A Charter of Rights and Freedoms governs citizens. In the development of academic research programs, on the other hand, all universities have a code of ethics that researchers must follow. We have two ethical codes at CBU, not because we are especially righteous in this area but because we fully integrate two main cultures, the one that safeguards the cultural heritage of Mi’kmaq students and the other to satisfy the demands of the Cape Breton community-at-large. These codes adhere to the law of the land in the protection of human rights. The Mi’kmaw Research Principles and Protocols form is used for conducting research with and/or among Mi’Kmaw people. The CBU office of Research and Academic Institutes has research ethics form under the heading; “application for review of research involving humans.” Both forms are available at http://www.cbu.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/. These committees ensure that a research project respects cultural differences and individual autonomy, informed consent, beneficence and non-maleficence, privacy and confidentiality, and social justice in the allocation of scarce resources. The principles that serve to protect the rights of at-risk clients appear to apply equally to environmental rights (Bryson, 2003, 2008).  The co-rights of persons and environment cluster about the arms of a ‘person-making’ process (the suggested relationships that characterize persons).

We need to know what we are before we can fix what is broken about us. The acronym P-M stands for ‘person making’. Philosophers are frequently at odds on what it means to be a human being and what characterizes our species. The variance is not surprising given that philosophy of human nature begins with the examination of the assumptions that surround a focus area. We do not have consensus on what it means to be a human being chiefly because of the distinction between mind and brain. We know that the contents of the human mind reflect the structure of reality but we do not have agreement on how the same reality can be simultaneously material and immaterial. The P-M process was developed in hope of arriving at a clearer understanding of what makes us human beings and therefore how STS interprets quality of life not only for our species but for the whole of the eco-system. While we are equal as human beings we are not equally personal. My starting point is that we exist in relationships; we are the output of three streams of converging relationships. Some of these associations are inherited; others are framed through personal choices. The first set of associations that individuate us take place at the level of carbon relationships (DNA). It includes our intimate relationship with the environment. We are carbon atoms along with other carbon atoms; eating and being eaten in turn. We live and we die along with other living and dying organisms. The carbon-self stands for everything physical about our species. The second series of associations to individuate us springs out of social relationships, namely mother, father, siblings, family at large, friends, neighbors, strangers, pets, and the animal kingdom-at-large. The third series of person-making associations takes place at the level of the psyche (reflexive awareness) where all carbon-based relationships and all interpersonal relationships are processed, varied, instituted, and transformed. STS examines real community problems that affect us in one or more of those three ways. Knowing something about being human provides a clearer focus on how academic and community programs affect us. Humans exist in relation to the natural environment. Trees and humans both have rights. A paper on the Sydney tar ponds (Liu and Bryson, 2009) deplores the toxic pollution of the environment and therefore of people. The P-M concept is also a useful tool to discuss issues surrounding quality of life and other matters concerning death and dying, and in the study of spirituality and health. It has numerous applications, not the least of which is with how problems (Focus Panel) affect us.

STS Method: systems, themes, and thematic contrasts direct the method

The material summarized in the following table Nef, Vanderkop, & Wiseman, 1989) was discussed at a conference on Ethics and Technology at Guelph University in 1989. In the present model, the Resource and Value added Panels (Figure One) proceed to the solution of a problem (Focus Panel) through the lenses of the STS method. The method includes the use of systems, themes, thematic contrasts, and informed social action. In the case of poverty, for instance, the academic and community Resource Panel contains ‘economics’ and ‘business’ under the heading of science/theory and technology, respectively. The Value-added Panel focuses on ‘right action’ and contains programs to help the poor (a data base of existing programs provided by some NS Bands appears at the end of the paper). The ‘Value’ column is a measure of the efficiency of existing programs to alleviate poverty. The STS Method Panel views the problem of poverty and waste through the lenses of the System and Themes columns. The ‘thematic contrasts’ perspective is an essential element of STS thinking and is discussed in figure three.


System   Themes   Problem   Science/Theory Technology   Value  

Global   Environment Degradation Ecology Conservation Survival

Eco-System   Peace & War, Under- Biology Peace-

  Security development Geography keeping

  Development Medicine

Resources  Energy   Depletion Physics Engineering  Sustainability

  Agriculture Exhaustion   Chemistry Agronomy

Geology  Veterinary

Economy   Theory Poverty Economics   Business   Efficiency

   Business Waste Accounting

   Labour Commerce

   Equity  Finance

Society   Health    Injustice Sociology Social Work  Equity/

   Moral Choice Alienation Health Care   Justice

     Recreation Well-being 


Polity Law & State  Violence Politics   Government   Liberty/Order

   Regulation Repression Administration

   Insecurity  Warfare

   Ungover-  Control


Culture Communications  Ignorance Philosophy   Education   Enlightenment

Learning Prejudice Accessibility



The Systems Column:

The STS analysis of a focus area always takes place through the perspectives identified in the System column. The global eco-systems along with resources, economy, society, polity, and culture provide the STS lenses through which a problem is analyzed. Some systems play a larger role than others in the solution to problems depending on the range of the focus area. For instance, the analysis of poverty through the lenses of economics and polity (politics and laws) seems to be more relevant to a solution to poverty than the analysis of poverty through the lenses of eco-systems but all systems are interconnected. The System component of a problem creates a ripple effect that we can house in the Themes column. For instance, the problem of poverty creates several main ripples in the Theme of unemployment, addiction, suicide, and domestic violence. I developed a cardboard disk that I use in the classroom to illustrate how this works.  The themes refer to places where the wave action of systems analysis reverberates. The culture system, for instance, focuses on communications and warns against problem areas such as ignorance and prejudice. The science/theory resource is philosophy while the technology is education. The value-added component of education is enlightenment and accessibility. The best strategy for problem resolution is to think globally but always begin locally where the circumstances of a focus area are well known

Culture: this system refers to the set of attitudes, values, and beliefs that surround a focus area. The weighting assigned to beliefs, values, or attitudes varies in different parts of the world. For this reason, a focus area is always examined in a local setting. One of the biggest cultural issues that face us is that we are blind to one another’s way of life. Ignorance and prejudice often leads to alienation and war. The solution is education and respect for others. A useful guide to research Mi’kmaw language and culture is available at http://libguides.cbu.ca/mikmaqstudies/journal (accessed 12 May, 2016)


Economics: the economic system refers to structures and processes used to meet basic survival needs. This includes goods and services. No one should be unemployed or poor because there is a lot to do and lots of resources we can share. The problem is that in North America we value only one type of work, namely the useful along with good profit margins. In STS, we seek to attain a fair trade off (thematic contrast) between capitalism and socialism. The STS focus is on human development along with economic developments, that is the efficiency of developments for all citizens.

Society: this system is comprised of all the group interactions such as families, associations, and institutions that characterize our social face. The failure to act in the best interest of all citizens leads to injustice and alienation. The well-being of a society depends on making sure that no class of citizens (the poor, minority groups) is marginalized.

Polity: the political system addresses a society’s structures and processes for conflict management at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels. Law is an essential component of this structure. Laws that are just promote civil order. Governments need to ensure that all citizens are treated fairly and that human rights and freedoms are protected. The absence of law leads to violence, repression, and insecurity.

Resources: a resource is that part of the environment that can be exploited for productive use and economic gain. The depletion of non-renewable natural resources is a great concern. The focus is on sustainable developments, that is, developments that can meet our present needs as well as the needs of future generations.  

Eco-systems: the irreversible industrial damage to the planet is one of the greater unintended second order consequences of industrial development on life. The environment is where we live! The critical condition of the planet today is the result of an early science mindset (Francis Bacon) that ‘nature can be tortured for her secrets’ as though the environment lies outside of us, and is boundless. The case against this mentality was made by Martin Heidegger in 1929 (on Technology), Rachel Carson in 1959 (Silent Spring), the Meadow’s report The Limits to Growth in 1972 and 1992, the Brundtland commission report Our Common Future (published 1987), and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s video presentation ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ (22 June, 2007), to name a few. This attention to global warming along with a long string of seemingly endless meetings among world leaders have failed to produce a universal agreement on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Recently (3, October, 2016) Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a Carbon tax on carbon emissions, but some Provincial Premiers are upset at the Federal Government for imposing this tax on Canadians without consultation with the Provinces. Ontario’s new ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation has serious financial consequences for Canadian oil refineries. The Sarnia Journal (October 13, 2016) claims that the carbon tax has serious implications for Sarnia because one quarter of the largest producers of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Ontario are located in Sarnia-Lambton. Under the legislation, companies that emit more than 25,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually must participate in the cap and trade program. Heavy emitters will be given a number of credits each year. After 50,000 tons however, they will be required to purchase more credits; ‘the Shell refinery in Corunna, for example, currently produces about 170,000 tons of GHG yearly”. The impact on local industry would be devastating. If Ontario set the initial price at $ 18.00 per carbon credit, as some have suggested, it would cost the Shell refinery several million dollars in additional operating costs. If the price is set at $ 50.00 per credit after the first year and the first compliance period ends in 2020, the impact on Sarnia-Lambton industry would be devastating. One of the problems is that these companies must compete against jurisdictions that may not have cap and trade in place. This economic reality is one of the biggest obstacles facing politicians as they seek to legislate laws to reduce GHG emissions. Nothing is free! Perhaps Trudeau acted unilaterally on this matter because of the urgency of the problem and the Premiers’ inability to reach consensus on how to solve the problem of global warming. Some provinces are more dependent on the revenue generated by fossil fuels than others. The U.S. President Donald Trump places jobs above concern for the environment, but it is difficult to imagine how they can be treated as separate issues.


This set of tools is adapted from the core STS undergraduate course at Penn State University. It embodies ways of thinking that are present in many other STS courses and provides an operational mindset from beginning to end. The STS community designs the following guidelines to direct the course of responsible social action (Cutcliffe, 1993, 19-20). The guidelines are based on four thematic contrasts, and are reproduced below with Cutcliffe’s permission. The STS method is based on a thorough knowledge of both alternatives, that is on drawing the logical consequences that flow from each perspective; the success of the method hinges on the discernment of the right thing to do. In the order in which the contrasts are listed; 

Thematic contrast one: “Citizenship versus Idiotship”

The word “idiot” derives from the Greek idiotes, persons who did not hold public office or take part in public life, and were therefore ignorant of current affairs. If people refuse to become critically conscious, if they refuse to investigate daily events in order to influence the roles of science and technology, relating such inquiries to their own lives and the lives of others, then they will tend to condone the way things are (....) DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY DEMANDS RESPONSIBLE SOCIAL ACTION (Cutcliffe, 1993, p. 19).

Without critical inquiry into the consequences of developments in science and technology, responsible social action is impossible. STS education strives to promote inquiries that free citizens of a liberal democracy to participate in public business and exercise responsible action.

Thematic contrast two: “Holism versus Reductionism”

Reductionism limits experience or reality to one or more of its parts, failing to recognize the complexity of the whole. By contrast, holism points toward large frameworks of understanding and multiple interconnections among events. It implies that all events are in some way interrelated, and that THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS (Cutcliffe, 1993, p. 19).

However, the reduction of the whole to its parts allows us to see the connection that exists between the parts and the larger whole; “The holistic perspective urges us to work back and forth between comprehensive frameworks and detailed analyses, from unity to diversity—and back again to unity” (Cutcliffe, 1993, p. 19).

Thematic contrast three: “Comprehension versus Ignorance”

Comprehension occurs when knowledge is holistic—and judged within the framework of a wide range of values. This theme rests on Synthesis and the principle that there is neither VALUE-FREE KNOWLEDGE NOR KNOWLEDGE-FREE VALUE (Cutcliffe, 1993, p. 20).

Scientific knowledge is specialized because of the method used to secure it. The mind always synthesizes knowledge and values. Non-scientific knowledge (cultural, historical, religious, and traditional knowledge) is ‘more holistic, and includes a wider range of value concerns. The reducing of knowledge by science, and the accompanied narrowing of the value-range, results in limited comprehension.’

Thematic contrast four: “Benefits versus Costs”

(…) With this contrast STS emphasizes the idea of Tradeoffs, and argues that THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH. Such a principle guides us to look for both the benefits and the costs of technological innovations. With regard to this contrast STS does not want to affirm one and reject the other. Science and technology can never be only beneficial and without costs. No benefit can be had without some cost. (…) (Cutcliffe, 1993, p. 20).

This contrast encourages us to examine how proposed developments will benefits or harms a person or group. We are not generally inclined to associate technological developments with tradeoffs, so this thematic contrast increases our comprehension of benefits and costs to promote more intelligent democratic citizenship in the scientific-technological society.


This is the final step towards informed, holistic, value centered, responsible social action. A thoroughgoing risk evaluation and management component is essential to effective social action. The process (Shrader-Frechette, 1991) enlists a detailed cost/benefit analysis of all the variables that surround an issue. No action beneficial or not is without a downside.  In the past 25 years, my STS students have conducted hundreds of social action projects in their local communities. Students often tell me that they continue to use their “STS wheel” (a classroom cardboard cutout of the STS tools) in other courses and programs of study such as the B.Ed. The value of STS tools in producing informed social action cannot be overestimated. For instance, the use of strikes and product boycotts needs to be governed by responsible and informed citizenship. A great deal of harm is caused to a focus area by irresponsible social action. In a democracy, provincial funding for expert witnesses and legal advice should be made available to both sides of a dispute as required so that the ‘insiders’ and the ‘outsiders’ are equally balanced.  

The Panels approach to applied learning is a useful tool in bridging the gap between the role of academic and community resources in the solution of community problems. The present discussion is but the tip of the STS building but it provides a useful model to begin the journey towards experiential learning at the CBU environment.

Conclusion: Characteristics of Successful Social Action3.

Four related variables measure the success of a social action project: (1) delineation of the focus area, (2) informed research, (3) overall characteristics, and (4) final results;

Focus: How focused is your project?

Is the problem and proposed solution stated clearly? Are your goals realistic? What steps will bring about your intended outcome? Did you include an historical perspective of the problem? Have you guarded against positive or negative bias? 

Informed: How informed is the group project?

Does your project contain evidence of solid academic research? Have you considered all the consequences of the proposed problem? Do you provide evidence that all aspects of the focus area have been examined (panels, systems, themes, thematic contrasts, history, and ethics)?  

Characteristics: The overall characteristic of the group project.

Are your project goals stated clearly in your presentation? Do you provide evidence of solid teamwork? Do you use posters, handouts, video, e-mails, letters, and other communication aids in your presentation? Does the proposed action fit the focus? Is the proposed environment adequate for the delivery of your proposed objective? Do you have ethics committee approval to proceed with the proposed social action? Is your questionnaire or survey (if any) approved? Is anyone in your community at-risk because of your group project? Do you provide clear evidence that everyone’s rights are respected?

Results: How effective is your proposal?

Are your results clear? Do you provide evidence that the social action objective is met? Do you have mechanisms in place to ensure the ongoing viability of your project after this course is completed? Is your project well received by your community and by this class? Do you have other feedback from this project, perhaps from elders? Do you have any written feedback from your project? In your opinion, is your project a success or a failure? Have you learned anything from this social action? What, if anything, would you change if you started over? 


The next step is to develop a data bank of relevant academic resources and programs that can be added to the existing list of community resources and programs. The academic list is compiled by providing a detail of faculty publications in the targeted areas of community developments. At the end of the day an STS study of a problem raises the level of awareness we have about the nature of that problem, although it often leads to the resolution of the issue when it is combined with existing community resources and programs.



1Over the past quarter century I used the present model as the cornerstone of STS courses at Cape Breton University and off campus at the invitation of Ann Denny and Leanne Simmons co-directors CBU indigenous studies program. While the school of indigenous studies has a strong presence on campus, I make note of several indigenous communities where the course is taught because of the success of the method. The insight, sincerity and determination of indigenous students provide an ideal atmosphere to demonstrate the applied nature of STS courses. STS studies move beyond the walls of academia to focus on real issues in a local community. The courses were held in seven First Nations communities, namely Eskasoni (We’kistoqnik), Wagmatcook, Waycobah (We’Komaq), Millbrook, Indian Brook (Sipenckati), Chapel Island (Potlotek), and Afton (Paq’nkek). These courses bridge classroom theory and community issues through informed social action. The delivery takes place through a method affectionately known as the ‘STS Wheel’. The ‘Wheel’ is the repository of tools we use to accomplish class goals. It works due to the honesty and hard work of my indigenous students in these communities. Social action outcomes are successful by the very fact of focusing our STS analysis on community issues whether they resolve existing problems or not because at the very least the exercise raises the level of community awareness on these issues. In most instances our work results in positive changes in the community, however. Thus we meet a key goal of the course to integrate the academic contents of the course (the Wheel) with the real issues found in the communities were the course was taught. My thanks also to the community Elders for accepting my invitation to join us in the classroom to discuss group project presentations at end of term. These presentations provided an opportunity for everyone to reflect on what we did best during the term and where we left room for improvement for the next generation of STS courses. We know that many of our projects had a beneficial effect in the community. At the end of the day philosophy 2222 became as much a community project as an academic course. Thank you to everyone. This guide to problem solving is dedicated to you. I wish to thank the following students in my STS class at Cape Breton University (2016) for assisting me with the identification of community resources and programs: Kaylee Bernard, Jewl Christmas, Kristen Cremo, Mallery Denny, Susy Denny, Mary Googoo, Faith Gould, Alwyn Jeddore, Reanne Jeddore, Mary Johnson, Nikko Marshall, Brianna Paul, Keane Paul, Shaelyn Paul, Tiannie Paul, Kaylene Simon, Treslyn Stevens. A community resources directory of all 13 NS Bands is available through Daphne Hutt-MacLeod, Director of Mental Health, Eskasoni, NS.: 902-379-2910, with updates by Mallery Denny: 902-565-1314.  WELA’LIN

2 The STS program at Pennsylvania University was introduced by Carl Mitcham in 1969 as part of the Engineering program. I was delighted to be invited to join Carl Mitcham and his team at Penn State in the summer of 1994 for a six week training program titled “Rethinking Technology.” I was one of two Canadians on a 17 member STS study team made up of colleagues from the U.S.A., China, Denmark, Puerto Rico, and The Netherlands. The focus in those early days was on examining scientific and technological developments from the point of view of their unanticipated consequences. The focus was to provide a method the scientific community could use to anticipate and prevent unwanted consequences from happening before it was too late to do so. We met that summer with researchers on the cutting edge of STS notably Albert Borgman, Paul Durbin, Don Idhe, Fred Dretske, Deborah Johnson, Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Langdon Winner, and Ivan Illich, along with the Institute organizers Carl Mitcham, and Leonard Waks.

3. The STS community’s reaction to the interaction between science, technology and society travels both ways. Developments in science and technology do arise because of societal demands, but discoveries in science and technology also affect the direction of society. One of the goals of informed social action is to anticipate and prevent the undesirable and unanticipated second order consequences of technological developments. Once the proverbial horse is out of the barn it is often too late because we cannot expect that we can go on indefinitely with the process of throwing technological fixes at second order consequences. In the democracy, STS social action is one of the more powerful tools we have at our disposal to shape our own future. In my STS courses, we examine environmental issues, developments in medical ethics, computer ethics, biotechnology, and the future of work. The social action project is a good introduction to developing a strong voice in these bigger issues. My STS classes form groups of 3 to 5 students to take informed action on a focus area in their local community. Students present the group’s findings to the class during the final week of classes. In the best-case scenario, a social action project continues to enjoy a life of its own long after the academic course ends. Project outcomes fall into two broad categories, namely, successful or not so successful. There are no failures because at the very least a social action classroom presentation raises the level of awareness about an existing community problem. The grade assigned for social action work is 35% of the final course grade. The community is invited to attend group presentations whenever STS is taught in a native community where participation is manageable. In these cases, the community’s Elders have a voice in the success of the social action and have the right to allocate 5% of the social action grade. The overall grade assigned to a social action project depends on the successful use of the STS method, including the use of thematic contrasts, and the overall transparency of the process as it leads to a resolution of the issues.


Bryson, K. (2003). “Treatment plan for clients of vocational centers and special care residential units”. In International Journal of Philosophical Practice. Vol. 1. No. 4. Summer. ………  (2008) “Negotiating  environmental rights”. In Ethics, Place and Environment. Vol. 11, no. 3, 353-368.

Cutcliffe, S. H. (1993). “Pennstate University STS history”. In Science, Technology & Society Newsletter.

Carl Mitcham and Richard Deitrich, Guest Editors. Nos. 95-96. April/June issue, 19-20.

Liu, F. and Bryson, K (2009). “Sydney Tar Ponds remediation: experience to China”. In Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society. Vol 29, 397-407.

Shrader-Frechette, K. (1991). Risk and Rationality. California, U.S.A.: University of California Press.   

Appendix A

Focus Panel Data Base: History of social action issues initiated at CBU (1991-2016)

The following list of social action activities covers the STS research conducted in Eskasoni (We’kistoqnik), Wagmatcook, Waycobah (We’Komaq), Millbrook, Indian Brook (Sipenckati), Chapel Island (Potlotek), Afton (Paq’nkek), Membertou, and Pictou, as well as 30 or so communities surrounding Cape Breton. On occasion, social action took place on an issue that exists in an outside community such as Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island depending on a students’ principal residence. The same problem is often identified in more than one area. In the early days of social action at CBU (90s) the focus of a social action could be about an issue arising in other Maritime Provinces such as Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island but gradually we began to insist on the study of local issues because of the ready access to resources to solve problems. The following is a sampling of social action issues at CBU over a course of 25 years. These projects were approved by the CBU ethics committees if they included work with human subjects;  

Academic calendar, Adopt a Highway program, Arbor Day (tree planting), Bacterial contamination in Floral heights, Beach cleanup (Point Aconi coastline), Biomedical waste disposal, Bullying, Blue box management on campus, Bus service, Bras D ’or Watershed area, Cafeteria foods (CBU), Cameron Estate Recycling program, Campus cleanup, CBU rankings, Centralization (our roots), Certificate program in palliative care at Regional Hospital, Children’s physical activity, Class cancellation policy, Coal Field, Composting, Condom, dispenser in washrooms, Course registration problems, Coxheath Quarry, Declining medical services,  Dog control, Dominion Beach pollution, Electricity consumption, Drug abuse problem, Fracking, Fibre Optics communication, Fishing industry (decreasing fish stocks), Food drive (foodbank), Garbage control, Governance (how First Nations communities are governed), Greenhouse gas emissions, Heat and stroke awareness, Healthy lifestyle, Heavy garbage pickup, Homeless shelter, Horticulture, Incinerator facility, Injustice (in your community), Library hours, Lighting on CBU campus, Nova Scotia Youth Conservation Corps., Nuclear energy, Occupational health and safety, Outmigration, Parking at CBU, Pesticides, Port Morien strip mine, Poverty, Pulp and paper industry, Public gardening, Public transportation, Radiation, Railroad, Rain Forest, Recycling (CBU residence), Residential Schools (Canada’s), Rugby at CBU, Salmon conservation, Solar/wind power, Solid waste disposal (recycling), Styrofoam cups ground contamination,  Street signage (bilingual: Mi’Kmaw and English), Stress release, Sunday shopping, Sydney Tar Ponds, Transition House, UCCB cafeteria (Styrofoam cups, cleanliness, microwave, prices), Unemployment, Unhealthy lifestyle, Waste management (Regional Hospital),  Waste water treatment (and disposal).

Appendix B

The following list of community resources and programs in selected NS Bands was compiled by students of my Philosophy 2221:51 course Jan-April 2016, (Appendix B) while a current data base of al 13 NS Bands resources and programs is available through the office of Daphne Hutt-MacLeod, Director of Mental Health, Eskasoni, with updates by Mallery Denny. Chantal Phillips is developing a parallel data bank of community resources at CBU while Mary Keating has compiled a student handbook of academic resources and programs available through the CBU School of Arts and Social Sciences. The complete list of academic resources at CBU is found at the CBU office of R&D, and the Unama’ki College. The CBU Library holds an excellent source of information on Mi’kmaq studies.  

Wekomaq Healing Center tel. 902-756-3440. Centre for Mi’kmaq or Maliset women of abuse.

Programs: Intimate Partner Violence.

Parenting Programs

Men’s 2 Wolves program- Men of abuse

Anger Management


Visitation for Micmac family clients and children.

Teen dating violence

Six volumes of Canada’s Residential Schools: Reconciliation, The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada is now available in the CBU Library (a reference section near the Research Assistance Desk).


Wekomaq school  : Kindergarten to Grade 12, tel. 902-756- 9000.

Programs: After school programs

Floor hockey


Adult learning programs

Day Care, tel. 902-756-1119

Wally Bernard:Sports and Recreation, tel. 902-756-4627

Snowboard team

Hockey team

Activities for youth and children of Wekomaq such as swimming, games, teaching traditional knowledge, baseball

Health Centre: 756-2156


Diabetic nurse

N.A. meetings Monday and Wednesday evenings

Women’s Well Day; free hair cuts

Men’s Well Day- free hair cuts

Training: CPR. Etc.

Band Office, tel. 902-756-2337

Band Manager, tel. 902-756-1119

Chief: RodGoogoo@waycobah.ca

Council members:










Administration Employees:

Social assistance, tel 902-756 3301

Rod’s One Stop, tel. 902-756-3088

Gaming – VLTS, tel. 902-756-9125

Housing Manager, tel. 902-756-2337

Economic Development officers, tel. 902-756-3149

Indian Affairs, tel. 902-756 2440

Fitness Centre, tel. 902-756-2333

Fire Station, tel. 902- 756-2069 (ten trained individuals).

Police Station, tel. 902-756-3371

There is a police station there but they don’t have any police officers currently working in the community, they call them in from Port Hawkesbury or Baddeck.

Elders in the community:

Knowledge, Oral tradition and Mi’kmaq tradition

Fisheries, tel. 902-756-2525

Employee’s fishermen

Fisheries Manager; training for Deckhand; in cooperation with Mi’kmaq persons interested in a career at the Arichat crab and fish plant.

Elders numbers/ contact information:

Noel J – Gould : 902-756-2364

Pearl Googoo: 902-756-2672

Marjorie Gould: 902-756-2743

Raymond & Annie Googoo: 902-756-3236

Julena Bernard: 902-756-3240

Ben and Marie Sylliboy: 902-756-2556

Bernie and Phyllis Googoo: 902-756-2210

Mary Victoria Googoo: 902-756-3240

Benedict Toney: 902-756-2534

Cecil Condo: 902-756-3427

Dorthy Googoo: 902-756-3266

Geraldine Paul: 902-756-9159

Dan j & Juanita: 902-756-3232

Henry Googoo

Wanda Philips

Anabelle Nicholas: 902-756-3264

Louis Joe Bernard: 902-756-3158

Joe Mike & Grace Paul: 902-302-1556

Rose Prosper: 902-756-9028

Mary Ann Martin

Harriet Bernard: 902-756-9078

Arlene Michael

Joan & Dave Christie: 902-756-9124

Martin Bernard: 902-756-3050

Janet Bernard

Jean Maclean

Mickey Googoo

Douglas Paul

Joe Nicholas: 902-756-3264

Ricky Gould & Isabelle Martin: 902-756-9007

Terry Gould: 902-756-2739

Debbie Bernard

Seven Bernard

Betty Philips

Madeline Bernard

Dolena Poulette & John Herney: 902-756-2415

Albert Toney: 902-756-3321

Junior Paul

Harriet Peck: 902-295-0204

Madeline Michael

Harvey Bernard

Maynard Poulette: 902-756-9142

Elizabeth Patles: 902-756-3085

Cara Philips: 902-756-9113

Betty Googoo

Gilbert Bernard

Angus Michael Googoo

Mary rose Googoo

Fabian Toney

Rod Phillips and Ida Marhsall: 902- 227-0545

Eskasoni Chief and Council

    Chief: Leroy Denny Council:
      Bertram Bernard Barry Francis Dion Denny Leon Denny Sr Kimberly Marshall John Frank Toney Gerald R. Francis Eldon Gould Brendon Poulette Derek Johnson Allan W. Jeddore Chris Stevens

Land Management:

    Albert J. Marshall

Eskasoni Housing:

    Darlene Marshall – Housing Director Mary B. Toney – Finance Clerk Kylie Young – Finance Clerk Fred Marshall – Donald Francis –

Economic Development:

    Tracey Menge Megan Gillis Mary C. Marshall Laura Prosper

Public Works:

    Fred Sylliboy Patrick Jeddore Andrew Lafford

Band Manager:

    Gerard Francis Mary Johnson Cora Dennis Allan Sampson (Financial advisor)

Gaming Commission: (902) 379-2704

    Darlene Francis Sonya Marshall


    Roger Stevens Wanda Patles Lisa Denny

Social Assistance (Welfare) – (902) 379-2826

    Dale Sylliboy (Director) Social Assistance Officers:
      Dawn Johnson Ian Isaac Elizabeth Johnson Annette Bernard
      John Isaac Victoria Alex Charlotte Young Sharon Johnson Norma Doucette

Indian Registry

    Melinda Young

Post Office:

    Thomas G. Poulette Peter J. Marshall Linda Googoo

NADACA (Native Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselling NS: 902-379-

    Community Wellness Program Woman’s Treatment Program Co-ed Treatment Program Trauma & Addictions Program Community Preventions Programs (2):
      Prescription & Drug Awareness Relapse Prevention Program

Contact Persons:

    Darlene Patles: FASD Coordinator Dawna Prosper: Solvent Abuse Coordinator Nelson (Inkin) Young: Prevention Counsellor Joseph H. Denny: Executive Director Josh Whitall: Prevention Counsellor Nellie Cremo: Financial Comptroller Ramona Gould: Office Manager/Administrative Assistant Vincent Stevens: CB Prevention Coordinator

Mi'kmaw Family & Children's Services of NS: 902-379-2433

Resource Family

    Responsible for foster homes, children who need placements Preservice training Adoption Traditions of caring training, when people want their home to be a kinship home
Kinship home – someone can sign up to open their home for a specific child, usually relatives

Foster home – are open for anyone, foster parents are required to take training and courses

Respite home – like a babysitting home, where one can put in a request for another foster home to take care of your foster child for a couple of days or a week, if a foster parent needs a break due to illness or stress, or when they go on vacation without any children

Protection Intake

    Investigation in homes when they get calls If a child is in care, they have a temporary care worker who works with the child and the foster parent

Children & Care

    Children in permanent care They have their own worker

Family Skills

    Work with the families before or while child is in care, help them with budgeting, cooking and parenting courses available Whatever needs to be worked on family skills will work on it with the family

Family Group Conferencing

    Helps families come up with a plan, they come together in a meeting along with a family group coordinator

Community & Family Healing Program

    Where they do different things in the community Assist with some things Provide workshops at events such as “Women’s appreciation day” , which occurred at the Cultural centre and women were welcomed to get a free haircut and their nails done

Mi’kmaq Family Healing Centres

    Workers, support counselors Women’s outreach workers – if a woman needs help, that’s where they can stay and is provided support Men’s outreach workers – provide programs when men have issues with anger or anything else

Membertou (MB2) - Resources & Programs

Human Resources

Manager: Richard Stevens

The HR department is responsible for duties such as:

- Payroll

- Quality Assurance

- Occupational Health and Safety

- Staff issues

- Employee benefits

- New staff orientation

- Job postings

- Hiring procedure

- Maintaining files

- Attendance

- Staff training

- Annual staff meeting

- Staff events for all 22 departments

Membertou Administration Building 111 Membertou St.: 902-564-6466

Finance Department

Chief Financial Officer: Mike McIntyre

The Finance Department is responsible for:

- Manages members budgets and finances

- The finance department oversees all expenditures, which includes administration and

government programs, capital projects and economic development.

Membertou Administration Building

111 Membertou St.: 902- 564-6466

Public Works

Director: Darrell Bernard

- Planing and Promoting new development in Membertou amid an ever changing environment.

- Design, construction and maintenance of Membertou's water and sewer infrastructure along with community roads.

- Remediation of construction sites and the preparation of new housing lots.

- Snow removal and winter work operations

- Played a significant role in the construction of new development, such as the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, gaming pavilions, and roadway enhancement

90 Sabtelésewawti: 902-562-6842

Environmental Services Manager: Nicole Francis is responsible for maintaining a clean and healthy work and public friendly environment in all of the Membertou community and civic buildings.

- The department also provides internal linen cleaning services for the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre and Membertour Entertainment Centre's constant requirements.

- Staff members are all thoroughly trained to provide health services and utilize the latest equipment and eco friendly supplies available to protect all of the public environments and work areas. 115 Membertou St.: 902-539-2125

Occupational Health & Safety Director: Constance Osborne, Emmergency Measures Officer (EMO). Responsible for maintaining health and safety in workplace, the community of Membertou. Provides technical expertise to all employees regarding all health and safety matters and administers training in several key areas to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all Membertou employees. The Centre sponsors courses such as:


- First Aid

- Due Diligence

- Construction. Safety courses required by Membertou

Membertou Administration Building 111 Membertou St.: 902- 564-6466 (Ext: 2550)

Membertou Radio C99FM

Manager: Dawn Wells

Announcer Producer: Aggie Baby

C99 FM uses a native radio station type B format.

This station is owned by the Membertou Chief and Council

Call letters are C-J-I-J. The FM stereo dial is 99.9. Operating at 50 watts. C99 FM also can be heard on Eastlink digital cable on channel 855 in Sydney, NS.

Membertou radio plays;

- Classic Rock

- Modern Rock

- First Nations music

- Canadian Artist

- Country on Sunday's

There is also a variety of programs dedicated to particular genres of music within its schedule.

Membertou Radio CJIJ FM

Email: c99@membertou.ca

On Air: 902-562-0009

Program Room: 902-562-0679 (ext. 3600)

Health Department & Wellness Centre Director: Darlene Anganis

The Wellness Home delivers the following programs;

- Heart disease/hypertension

- Smoking cessation

- Healthy weight

- Crisis prevention/intervention

- Mental health

- Pre-natal

- Diabetes foot care

- Addictions

- Services

- Dental therapy

- Chronic disease

- Home and Community care and respiratory illness

All programs encourage a healthy lifestyle and are offered through monthly information sessions

- Weight loss groups

- One on One counselling.

Program are available to anyone in the community.

The Membertou Wellness Home offers a family practice medical clinic with Dr. Jeff Power and provides services to the community from Monday to Friday: 902- 564-6466

Social Services Department Director: Joan Denny

- The department has been working hard to change the norms of social spending in

Membertou. Through active measures; our community leaders are making substantial

investments in its workforce through education and training administered by the department.

- Social Training Assistance Initiative Reinvestment Strategy. (STAIRS) The Apprenticeship section of the policy supports apprentices registered with the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Program to work towards their certification.

- Membertou's Social employees' commitment and hard work to improve the overall

development of Membertou's workforce enables our community to continue to prepare our future employees with the skills they require in today's challenging workplace.

Membertou Administration Building 111 Membertou St.: 902-564-6466

Education Department Director: Darren Googoo

• Through Membertou's own elementary school, valuable programs and services are offered that are not available elsewhere.

The Membertou Education Department provides:

- Culture and Conversational Mi'kmaw classes to youth

- Offers state of the art technology, such as,

• Laptops for all children, hosts after school homework clubs and other extra curricular


Membertou's C@P Site Program offers online computer kills enhancement programs, cyber camps for children, aboriginal small business information kiosk, and is available to anyone to simply browse the net, check emails and assist with homework and school projects. Membertou opened its own youth centre dedicated to the encouragement of cultural, academic, social and recreational programs to youth: 902-564-6466

Membertou C@P Site Director: Alex Dugandzic

The Center is responsible for:

- Facilitating summer computer seminars

- Tutoring for junior high and high school students

- Gives visitors the opportunity to surf the web or check email.

The Membertou Youth Centre supports Membertou's long term goals of promoting active, educational and cultural activities relevant to the future of Membertou, and encourages youth to be involved in a wide variety of activities: 902-539-4920

Membertou Entrepreneur Centre Manager: Eileen Paul

• The Membertou Entrepreneur Centre now provides customized business training and support to interested entrepreneurs in the community.

- provides an for community members to actively pursue small business development and in turn contribute to the Cape Breton economy.

- Offers a business development program that includes:

Customized training and workshops as well as one-on-one support for new and existing

businesses. The Main focus is to assist Membertou residents that are interested in starting a new business or expanding and existing business, to develop a strong business plan. The Centre will also work together with Aboriginal Business Canada (ABC), Ulnooweg Development Group and other federal, provincial and community economic development agencies to determine how best to provide investment capital and funding to support new business ventures in Membertou.

The Membertou Certificate Program's Calendar currently includes the following courses:

• Bookkeeping

• Marketing and Social Media

• Customer Service

• Proposal Writing

• Balance and Life Skills

• Finance and Credit

• Business Planning

201 Churchil Drive: 902- 562-6919; Cell: (902) 577-0785

Email: eileenpaul@membertou.ca

Office hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 4:30pm

Membertou Administration offers various administrative services to the community such as work covering Governance, Policy, and the various Mi'kmaq Employment Training Secretariat (METS) programs.

Membertou Market

Manager: Marilyn MacQueen

Putting Membertou in the forefront of the convenience store and gasoline industry.

The Market offers a variety of products including;

• grocery items

• Fresh fruit and vegetables

• Gas

• Diesel

• Propane

• Lottery

• Tobacco

Membertou Market expanded its fast food operations by re-branding its existing Chicken outlets and adding deli. Kiju's Chicken and Deli Express features ‘tasty’ chicken and deli menus for eat in, takeout and delivery. Membertou Market: 902-539- 8401

Kiju's Chicken & Deli Express. 38 Maillard St.: 902-539-9078

Membertou Trade & Convention Centre

General Manager: Audrey Firth

Event Destination ‘Perfect place to hold events’;

- small staff gatherings to large-scale entertainment shows

- Weddings

- Conferences

- Modern architecture and intriguing Mi’kmaq art & artifacts

While at the trade and convention centre, guests can visit the Box office to view upcoming shows and dine at Kiju's Restaurant.

Also attached to Hampton Inn, 50 Maillard St.: 902-562-6826

The Membertou Department of Natural Resources Manager: Lance Paul

* The Membertou department of natural resources was formed in 1992.

* The department helps plan, organizes, directs and oversees all natural resource related activities, including FSC harvesting, fishery, wildlife, forestry, environmental, mineral, land and water based activities.

* It also includes the conservation, protection and restoration of our natural resources for the Membertou community.

* Federal legislation provided aboriginal persons protection and harvest priority of fish

resources, Harvested fish resources can be used for food, social or ceremonial (FSC) purposes.

* The Membertou natural resource Manager/Fishery Guardians plans also organizes, directs and oversees all natural resources related activities, including FSC harvesting, fishery, forestry, wildlife, environmental, mineral, land and water based activities. This includes the conservation, protection and restoration of our Natural Resources for the Membertou Band Council. The manager coordinates all operations of the Membertou Band's interests in the above activities.

* The Membertou natural resources has been partnered up with the Unama'like Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) since 1999. The UINR is known as as representing Cape Breton's Mikmaq voice on natural resources and environmental concerns, the UINR represents the five Mi'kmaq communities of Unama'ki and was formed to address concerns regarding natural resources and their sustainability. And help gain success in our Mi'kmaq cultures in Cape Breton Island.


Director of Fisheries: Hubert Nicholas

Manager/Fishery Guardian: Lance Paul

Senior Technician: George Christmas

Technician: Glenn Googoo

Technician: Rosalind Christmas

Civic Address; 84 San'tele'sew Awti, Membertou, NS. B1S 0A5: 902-567-2018

fax: 902-567-7181. Mailing Address; 111 Membertou St. Membertou, NS. B1S 2M9

Membertou Heritage Park; General Manager: Jeff Ward

The Membertou Heritage Park consists of a five-acre site that offers a living history of the people of Membertou. A large indoor exhibit and program area offers the visitor full immersion to an ancient culture. Through the Blossoms and Berries Donation Campaign the Membertou Heritage Park will be expanding their landscape in the future.

Take a little piece of authentic Canadian tradition home with you as you browse through

Petroglyph’s Gift Shop. Petroglyph specializes in Aboriginal arts and crafts and carries a wide arrangement of traditional and contemporary Mi'kmaq arts and crafts made locally in Atlantic Canada.

The Park honours the spirituality and the strength of the Membertou people telling the story of Membertou, educating and sharing the Mi’kmaq culture and assisting in preserving the Mi’kmaq heritage. Through the Membertou Heritage Park, all peoples have the opportunity to touch, feel and learn while experiencing firsthand Membertou’s rich culture. Membertou Heritage Park. 35 Su'n Awti, B1S 0A5: 902-567-5333

Fascimile: (902) 539-6076; http://www.membertouheritagepark.com/

Membertou Gaming Commission; General Manager: Diane Paul

The Membertou Gaming Commission came into effect in 2002. There are currently five (5) gaming pavilions, with head offices located in the newest pavilion at 51 Maillard Street. The Membertou Gaming Commission operates 23 hours a day, 7 days a week, and employs approximately 53 people. Membertou uses the profits gained from this industry to assist in the creation of new business, capital investments and also provides a portion in the form of dividends to all community members each year.

51 Maillard St., Membertou, Nova Scotia, B1S 2W4: 902-562-6969; Fax:(902) 562-6196

Membertou Entertainment Centre; General Manager: Laurie Marshall

The newest addition to Membertou’s commercial enterprises is the Membertou Entertainment Centre (MEC), which opened in August 2007. The MEC is a state of the art, 33,000-square-foot building that hosts bingo games four (4) nights per week on the first floor and also houses two separate VLT areas upstairs, smoking and non smoking. The MEC Bingo hall features an open concept non-smoking area and also contains dual glassed in smoking areas for our customers who wish to smoke in comfort. The MEC also hosts several Monster Bingos throughout the year and provides electronic bingo for our most sophisticated players. Players can enjoy snacks and beverages from our full service concessions. Call the Bingo Hotline for details on all your favorite games!

11 Chief Ben Christmas Awti’j, Membertou, Nova Scotia, B1S 0A2: Bingo Hotline: (902) 562-3999; Tel: 902-562-1198; Fax: (902) 562-2519; Website: www.mecbingo.com

First Fishermen Seafood; Director: Hubert Nicholas

First Fishermen Seafoods is an Aboriginal owned and operated seafood company based in Membertou, Nova Scotia, Canada. We emphasize the highest quality seafood products from a fishery rich in history and tradition. First Fishermen Seafoods believes strongly in following the traditional ways passed down from our ancestors, where nature and the environment are respected and appreciated. We believe that these practices make the ultimate difference in the taste and quality of our products to our customers.

First Fishermen Seafoods believes there is no substitute for fresh seafood and there is no better place to catch seafood than the rich fishing grounds of Atlantic Canada. Our products blend the traditions of the Atlantic Canadian fishing industry with a modern approach to quality assurance and sustainability. Utilizing the fleet of six (6) vessels Membertou’s First Fishermen Seafoods harvests a variety of ground fish, shell fish and large Pelagic including tuna and swordfish. As it continues to pursue an aggressive growth strategy Membertou remains committed to extracting the maximum value

from each kilogram of the resources that it harvests while respecting the natural environment; 111 Membertou Street, Membertou, Nova Scotia, B1S 2M9

Tel: 902-564-6466 Ext. 5011; Fax: (902) 562-5536; www.firstfishermen.com

Kiju's Restaurant; Food & Beverage Manager: Doug Minaker

MTCC General Manager: Audrey Firth. What we have to offer at Kiju's Restaurant can be summed up in three words: Fresh. Local, Friendly.

Fresh, because our Chef incorporates fresh ideas, uses fresh ingredients, and creates fresh house made meals that would make Kiju proud.

Local, because at all times, at least 40% of our ingredients are sourced from local Nova Scotia suppliers. This percentage is much higher in the Summer and Fall months.

Friendly, because our staff provide friendly Cape Breton hospitality.

The English translation for ‘Kiju’s’ is referring to one’s mother. The reason for this name is that our people have always counted on our ‘Kiju’s’ for making the best home cooked meals around. We know a meal at our ‘Kiju’s’ was always guaranteed to be delicious.

Kiju's Restaurant; 50 Maillard Street; Membertou, Nova Scotia, B1S 3W3: 902-562-6220

Email: info@kijus.com; www.kijus.com

Membertou Data Centre; Manager: Jamie Doyle

Membertou Data Centre specializes in the hosting and management of complex IT

environments, ensuring the availability, security and integrity of critical data and business applications everyday. Membertou Data Centre operates a world-class data center in Membertou that features support personnel, cooling, power, connectivity and physical security for clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.

Membertou Data Centre has been operational since January 2007. Membertou Data Centre currently hosts servers for numerous clients throughout Canada. Services such as managed hosting, disaster recovery, help desk/technical support services and website and email hosting are offered by the Membertou Data Centre; 50 Maillard Street

Membertou, Nova Scotia, B1S 3W3: 902- 562-6826; Fax: 902-562-6828

Membertou Quality Assurance and ISO Compliance Quality Assurance Coordinators: Kyanne Paul and Joan Paul

In January of 2002 Membertou received official notification of its ISO status, making Membertou the first aboriginal government in the world to become ISO 9001 certified. The purpose of ISO 9001 compliance is to further enhance Membertou's indigenous economy based on the pillars of sustainability, conservation, innovation and success. The ISO designation allows Membertou to position itself as a very credible player in the global market economy.Today, through strong leadership from Chief and Council, other senior members of management and adherence to ISO standards, Membertou continues to show the world that they have transparent and consistent management policies; 111 Membertou St., Membertou, Nova Scotia, B1S 2M9: 902-564-6466 (ext. 2570); Fax: (902) 539-6645

Pictou Landing First Nation: Resources & Programs

Chief and Council

Chief Andrea Paul

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

43 Maple Street

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0


Ph: 902-752-4912

Fax: 902-755-4715


Councillor Marsha Phillips

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0


Ph: 902-752-1709

Fax: 902-752-2206

Cell: 902-921-8432

Councillor Haley Bernard

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

43 Maple Street

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0


Ph: 902-752-4912

Fax: 902-755-4715

Cell: 902-301-0256

Councillor Barry Francis

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

43 Maple Street

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0


Fax: 902-755-4715

Cell: 902-301-0075

Councillor Gordie Prosper

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

43 Maple Street

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Email: Gordie.p@plfn.ca

Ph: 902-752-4912

Fax: 902-755-4715

Cell: 902-301-1313

Councillor Derek Francis

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

43 Maple Street

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Email: Derek.f@plfn.ca

Ph: 902-752-4912

Fax: 902-755-4715


Health Department

Director of Health

Philippa Pictou

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0

902-752-0085 ext 245

fax 902 752-6465

Email p.pictou@plfn.ca

Community Health Nurse

Laurie Phalen

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0

902-752-0085 ext 251

fax 902 752-6465


Megan Renouf

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0

902-752-0085 ext 251

fax 902 752-6465

Email: Megan.r@plfn.ca

Community Mental Health Representative

Tiana Fusco

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0


fax 902 752-6465

Email: Tiana.f@plfn.ca

Community Health Representative

Darlene Bachiri

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0

902-752-0085 ext 251

fax 902 752-6465


Medical Office Assistant

Michelle Denny

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0

902-752-0085 ext 241

fax 902 752-6465


Fran Nicholas

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0


fax 902 752-6465

Dr. Cathy Felderhof

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0


fax 902 752-6465


Mary Hatfield

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0

902-752-0085 ext 244

fax 902 752-6465


Dr.Luke Austin

Dentist Assistant

Amber Austin


Donnie Muise

Environmental Health Officer

Karen Boyles

19 Maple Street

PO Box 55 Site 6 RR#2

Trenton Ns B0k1x0

902-752-0085 ext 248

fax 902 752-6465

Human Resources

Verna Langley – Executive Assistant/Human Resource Manager

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

43 Maple Street

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-0085 x 246 Or 902-752-4912 x 246

Fax: 902-755-4715 Or 902-752-6465



Janet Francis – IT support, Band Council Assistant, Webmaster of Band Website,Mail

Email: Webmaster@plfn.ca

Jenny Fraser – VCM Administrator Assistant

Email: Jen.s@plfn.ca

Katie Paul – Band Office Receptionist

Email : Katie.p@plfn.ca

Economic Development

Debbie Dykstra

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-7597

Fax: 902-752-2206

Email: Debbied@plfn.ca


George Fraser

Social Development Administrator

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6504 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-4912

Fax: 902-755-4715

Email: george.f@plfn.ca

Colleen Denny

Social Development Clerk

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6504 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-4912

Fax: 902-755-4715

Email: colleen.d@plfn.ca

Tonya Francis

Native Employment Officer

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-7597

Fax: 902-752-2206

Email: tonya.f@plfn.ca

Capitol/Public Works

Director Capital / Operation and Management

John Paul

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6504 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-4912 x 232

Fax: 902–752-3601

Email: John.p@plfn.ca

Water/Waste water Operations

Martin Sapier

Allen Bernard

In –training Corbin Stevens

Plow operators

Roddie Francis

Martin Sapier

Residential Property Director

Sally Duff

Repairs Renovation

Hughie Francis

Fire Department

Anthony Nicholas (Quise) Fire Chief

April Nicholas

Edward Prosper

Robert Francis

Darlene Bachiri

Jennifer Nicholas

Cathy Francis

John Fraser

Corbin Stevens

Vernon Boyles

Thomas Bernard

Leonard Cremo

Patrick Boyles

Darcy MacInnis

Chris Strickland

Kenny Francis

Dennis Worthen

Derek Francis

Pam Paul

Louie Francis

Sam Francis

Patrick Christmas

RJ Moore

Justin Alex

Department of Fisheries

Wayne Denny


RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-1709

Fax: 902-752-2206

Cell: 902-753-3991

Email :Wayne.d@plfn.ca

Marsha Phillips

Administrative Assistant

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-3405

Fax: 902-752-2206

Cell: 902-921-8432

Email: Marsha.p@plfn.ca

Billy Francis

Fisheries Guardian

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-7597

Fax: 902-752-2206

Cell: 902-759-2987

Email: Billy.f@plfn.ca

Dominic Denny

Councillor/Fisheries Supervisor

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-7597

Fax: 902-752-2206

Cell: 902 759-8725


Derek Hatfield

Vessel Maintenance Manager

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6591 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-902-752-1709

Fax: 902-752-2206

Cell: 902



Residential Property Director

Sally Duff

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6504 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-4912 x 235

Fax: 902–752-3601

Email: sally.d@plfn.ca

Lands & Forests

Director of Lands / Environment

Boat Harbour Settlement Advisor

Dan MacDonald

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6504 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-4912 x 230

Fax: 902–752-3601

Email: Dan.Mac@plfn.ca


Director of Education

Sheila Francis

Phone: 755-9954

Cell number 759-4155

Email: sheilaf@pictoulandingschool.ca

Education Staff

Sarah Clark

Student Support Worker (North Nova Education Center)

Phone: 755-8180, ext 195

Email: clarksm@ccrsb.ca

Pictou Landing First Nation School

Phone: 759-4155

43 Gym Road, Pictou Landing Reserve

Website: http://www.pictoulandingschool.ca/

Facebook: Pictou Landing First Nation School Information Page

Irene Endicott, Principal


Karen Prosper, Receptionist


Kenny J. Francis, Janitor


Jackie Alex, Kitchen Worker


Marsha Herney, Kitchen Worker


Angie Campbell, Early Literacy Support


Erica Macdonald, Grade Primary Teacher


Nadine LeBlanc, Grade 2 (1 /2) Teacher


Jeremy Walker, Grade 1/Phys Ed Teacher


Kim Dorrington, Grade 3 /4 Teacher


Colin Munro, Grade 5 /6 Teacher


Heather VanEk, Speech Language Pathologist


Martha Augustine, Speech Language Support Worker


Early Childhood Development (ECD) Center

Pamela Paul, ECD Coordinator/ 3-year old program


Bridget Worthen, 4-year old program


Lorraine Francis, Child care program


Marie Moore, ECD Assistant


Angie Campbell, Early Literacy Support


Walter Prosper, Janitor



Social Development Administrator

George Fraser

RR# 2 P.O. Box 55 site 6

6533 Pictou Landing Road

Trenton NS, B0K 1X0

Phone: 902-752-4912 x 228

Fax: 902-755-4715

Email: george.f@plfn.ca

- AANDC’s Income Assistance Program

- services from Pictou Landing Band Council’s Employment & Training Department (METS/ASETS)

Paq'tnkek Health Centre

Phone: 902-386-2048

Fax: 902-386-2828

128 Saqamaw Road
R.R.#1 Afton
Antigonish Co., NS
B0H 1A0

Human Resources

· Visiting Mental Health Services

· Visiting Addictions Services

· A monthly visiting Physician

· A visiting Nurse Practitioner

· Community Health Nurse

· Community Health Representative

· Community Family Support Worker

· Monthly Foot Care Clinics

· Dental Therapist

· Visiting Social Worker (child protection)

Medical Services:

· Women's Health Services

· Teen's Health Services

· Reproductive Health

· Sexually Transmitted Infections Screening

· Referrals to a variety of outside services, agencies and resources

Education Programs:

· Diabetes Education

· Menopause

· Healthy Food Choices

· Teen Health

· Healthy Aging

· Immunization

· Oral Health

· Maternal Child Health

· Prenatal Education

· Addictions

· Child Development

Support Programs:

· Parent Support

· Teach Eating Activity Management Program for Families

· Travel assistance for medical appointments


Chief: Wilbert Marshall

Band Councillors:

James Marshall

George Johnson

Arthur Johnson

Wayne Johnson

Basil Johnson

Quentin Doucette


Chief and Council are elected bi-annually. They regulate Band policies and have final say on Band matters. 

For a detailed list of all resources and programs available at Chapel Island (Potlotek) see the website http://potlotek.ca

Indian Brook

Aboriginal Head Start Program

Patsy Michael, Aboriginal Head Start Program Coordinator

Office: 902 758 2049

Email: pmichael@sipeknekatik.ca

After School Program

Jenny Howe, After School Program Coordinator

Office: 902 236 1084

Email: jhowe@sipeknekatik.ca

Band Membership

Patricia Bernard, Band Membership Clerk

Office: 902 758 2049 ext. 242

Bylaw Enforcement

Jason McDonald, Bylaw Enforcement Officer

Office: 902 758 2049

Email: jmcdonald@sipeknekatik.ca


Jennifer Sack, Day Care Manager

Officer: 902 236 3036

Email: jennifersack@sipeknekatik.ca

Economic Development

David Nevin, Economic Development Officer

Office: 902 758 2049


Velvet Paul, Director of Education

Office: 902 236 3024

Cell: 902 751 1287

Email: vpaul@sipeknekatik.ca

Sarah Soucet, Principal of L’nu Spiuk Kina’Muokuom

Office: 902 758 3043

Email: sdoucet@sipeknekatik.ca

Employment & Training

Desiree Grantmyre, Acting Employment and Training Coordinator

Office: 902 758 3372

Email: dgrantmyre@sipeknekatik.ca


Matthew Horton, Executive Finance Officer

Office: 902 758 2049

Email: mhorton@sipeknekatik.ca

Richard Sack, Director of Finance

Office: 902 758 2049 ext 226

Email: rsack@sipeknekatik.ca

Brandon Maloney, Fisheries Manager

Office: 902 758 2049

Email: bmaloney@sipeknekatik.ca


Lorrie Syliboy, Gaming Commissions Representative/Gaming Manager

Office: 902 758 1649

Cell: 902 750 0419

Email: lsyliboy@sipeknekatik.ca

Owen Marr, Manager of Sipekne’katik Entertainment

Office: 902 835 4489

Email: omarr@sipeknekatik.ca

Gas Bar

Gas Bar Hours 7 AM to 9 PM Daily Regular and Diesel Fuel Tobacco products

Peter Adema, Gas Bar Manager

Office: 902 758 4236

Email: padema@sipeknekatik.ca

Human Resources

Heather Knockwood, Human Resources Manager

Office: 902 758 2049 ext 235

Email: hknockwood@sipeknekatik.ca


Loraine Etter, Director of Health

Office: 902 758 2063

Cell: 902 805 9990

Email: letter@sipeknekatik.ca


Michael Paul, Housing Manager

Office: 902 236 3025

Cell: 902 805 0155

Email: mpaul@sipeknekatik.ca

Operations & Maintenance

Stephen Knockwood, Director or Operations and Maintenance

Office: 902 758 3341

Cell: 902 751 0169

Email: sknockwood@sipeknekatik.ca

Rhonda Knockwood, Assistant Director of Operations and Maintenance

Email: rknockwood@sipeknekatik.ca


Kevin Copage, Security Manager

Office: 902 758 2049

Cell: 902 805 0235

Email: kcopage@sipeknekatik.ca

Social Development

Elizabeth Michael, Diector of Social Development  

Office: 902 758 2049 ext 236

Email: emichael@sipeknekatik.ca or jknockwood@sipeknekatik.ca

Recreation & Fitness

Joan Paul, Community and Youth Recreation Coordinator

Office: 902 236 3020

Email: joanpaul@sipeknekatik.ca

Tobacco Shop

Wayne Howe, Tobacco Store Manager

Office: 902 758 2049 ext 241

Email: whowe@sipeknekatik.ca

*Ken Bryson Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus, Cape Breton University, Sydney, NS,

e-mail: ken_bryson@cbu.ca


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