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Tui’kn Partnership launches Baby Smiles ~ Weskewikwa'sit mijua'ji’j, a children’s book for healthy, happy baby teeth

Posted by Tui’kn Partnership on April 20, 2023 in News

The Tui’kn Partnership, in collaboration with Tajikeimɨk, is excited to share the Baby Smiles - Weskewikwa'sit mijua'ji'j children’s book, which is now available to new parents and caregivers. The book was launched on April 20, 2023 at the Wagmatcook Culture and Heritage Centre in Wagmatcook, Cape Breton.

Released during National Oral Health Month, Baby Smiles - Weskewikwa'sit mijua'ji'j provides healthy habits to promote healthy teeth in babies.

The importance of oral health
"Dental education and resources are lacking in our First Nation communities, and there is a lot of historical trauma related to dental experiences," says Sharon (Paul) Rudderham, director for Health Transformation at Tajikeimɨk. "We know the importance of dental health and how it impacts overall health."

The book is available in hard copy, and for free, online as a pdf and an audiovisual link. The Read to Me program will also be distributing this resource to new Mi’kmaw parents and caregivers throughout Nova Scotia.

"We hope both children and adults are drawn to the beautiful Mi’kmaw artistry and the story," says Shauna Hachey, associate professor in the School of Dental Hygiene at Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Dentistry. "The information is evidence-based, with simple, helpful tips that can make a huge difference to babies’ oral health."

Support for families and language revitalization
The book is illustrated by Loretta Gould, with Mi’kmaw translation by Floyd Prosper, Kenny Prosper, and Katani Julian. The narration for the audiobook is by Anne Marchand.

"It’s very important that more resources are developed to support our Mi’kmaq language revitalization," says Floyd Prosper, dental therapist in Eskasoni First Nation and FNIHB, Indigenous Services Canada.

"We need to develop more resources that speak directly to our families, and support building their parental bonding, knowledge, and skills. We hope this book will be a resource for both fluent and new Mi’kmaq speakers, and their families."

The Baby Smiles book started as a project by the five First Nations communities in Unama’ki through the Tui’kn Partnership and has grown to include all 13 communities across Nova Scotia, through partnership with Tajikeimik.

The project was supported by Aboriginal Children’s Hurt and Healing (ACHH) Initiative, Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry, Solutions for Kids in Pain, and Read to Me.

Funding was provided by the Chronic Disease Prevention and Management: Oral Health Promotion Fund and Indigenous Services Canada.

Tui’kn Partnership consists of the five Unama’ki First Nations: Eskasoni, Membertou, Potlotek, Wagmatcook, and Waycobah. The Partnership is aimed at bringing a new way of thinking about health and the delivery of health services to the five First Nation communities of Unama’ki (Cape Breton Island). Tui’kn means "passage" in the Mi’kmaq language.

Tajikeimɨk is the new and developing health and wellness organization being created to lead health transformation on behalf of Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia.

In collaboration with Chiefs, Grand Council, and health directors, Tajikeimɨk will build on and evolve the health and wellness services and programs used by Mi’kmaw people in Nova Scotia; improve health service delivery; and strengthen coordination with federal and provincial health system partners with the goal of improving overall health for Mi’kmaq and communities.