Weska'qelmut Apje'juanu

Bernie Francis

Biography

Bernie Francis, DLitt, grew up on the Maupeltu (Membertou) First Nation community in Cape Breton, NS. From 1970-1974, he worked as the Director of the Court Worker Program for the federal court system, a program that ensures fair and proper treatment for Mi’kmaw people including access to a translator. After leaving the court system, Bernie began his training in linguistics with linguist Doug Smith from the University of Toronto. Bernie completed that training in 1980, having developed a new orthography of the Mi’kmaw language with Professor Smith. The Smith/Francis orthography is now officially recognized by the Mi’kmaw chiefs in Nova Scotia, as well as by the Canada-Nova Scotia-Mi’kmaq Tripartite Forum. Dr. Francis received an honorary doctorate from Dalhousie University in October, 1999. He continues to work on many projects including the Pjila’si Mi’kma’ki: Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas and Website Project.