Gwe! My name is Gilbert Sewell, and I am the Mi’gmag Culture and Language Advisor for the local English school district. In addition to being a Native storyteller, I teach craft making, science, music, art, and history. I work with the school staff, including the principals, teachers, and school district, as an advisor in organizing cultural events and activities with students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. I also work as a liaison between the school and the Pabineau First Nation community. Na M’set.Gilbert Sewell’s Biography
Gilbert Sewell is a Mi’gmaq elder, oral historian, folklorist, storyteller, guide, woodcarver, and Mi’gmaq language instructor from the Pabineau First Nation. Gilbert is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the NB Human Rights Award, NB Eco Award, Orono, Maine Museum Award, and the Canadian Merit Award. These accomplishments can be attributed to Gilbert’s tireless dedication to sharing, expressing, and teaching others about Mi’gmaq heritage.
Gilbert has had audiences with Pope John Paul 11, Prince Charles, Lady Diana, and the Consul of France. He has been featured in numerous publications and media, such as, CBC TV/Radio, APTN, and The Discovery Channel. He has also provided the core content for a cd-rom encompassing Mi’gmag language, traditions, and medicines entitled “Exploring an Ancient Civilization: the Mi’gmag.”
Gilbert has worked with archeologist Pat Allen and Chris Turnbull on the excavation site of Youghall Beach in Bathurst, New Brunswick. He assisted in viewing and examining pre-European contact Native campsites and settlements. Mr. Sewell is also a known expert witness in many Native court cases involving Native Rights, most recently, a Supreme Court Canada landmark case of Darrell Gray in his right to harvest Birds Eye Maple. Gilbert’s knowledge of the ways of the Mi’gmag people of the past and present contributed to a winning case.
Mr. Sewell has enlightened many multi-cultural associations, universities, communities, daycares, schools, and tour groups from as far as Japan, France, and Germany. In March of 2004, Gilbert received the Queen’s Jubilee Medal from the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of New Brunswick.
Gilbert is the narrator of “Maq and the Spirit of the Woods,” an animated Mi’gmag children’s legend, produced in 2006 by his daughter, Phyllis, for the National Film Board of Canada. He also enjoys writing bi-weekly columns for the Northern Light in Bathurst N.B. and the Miramichi Leader in Miramichi N.B., and being the host of Roger’s Television’s “N’nu E’gati – Native Place with Gilbert Sewell,” a series of 10 vignettes about Mi’gmag culture.
Gilbert has been involved in collecting and reviewing traditional information on campsites and burial sites for the Caribou Wind Park Project and served on the advisory board for the Order of New Brunswick with the Office of Protocol from 2006 to 2009.