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South West Health is hosting a special ceremony for one of its inpatients at the Yarmouth Hospital on Monday, May 6.

Mi’kmaq Elder Elsie Charles-Basque will receive an Honourary Doctorate in Humanities from Acadia University. The honour will be bestowed by President of Acadia, Ray Ivany, who will be at the Yarmouth Hospital for the event. The ceremony will be videotaped for broadcast at the upcoming Acadia convocation in Wolfville, which is taking place May 12 and 13.

Basque is a well-respected Elder of the Mi'kmaq Nation. As an educator and volunteer, she has served as a role model and a champion of Mi'kmaq values and traditions, and has taught a several generations of young people.


Elder Elsie Basque and her family have allowed this ceremony to be held in the Yarmouth Hospital lobby, which will allow her care team and other staff to share in this special day with her. The ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m.


Basque  was born in 1916 and was the first Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia to hold a teacher’s licence and the first Mi’kmaq to teach in a non-native school. She spent most of her life in Boston, MA, lecturing on native issues, Mi’kmaq culture and the status of American native people. A Saulnierville resident, Dr. Charles Basque has received two honorary doctorate degrees of education and is a member of the Order of Canada (C.M.).


Another person with connections to Yarmouth who will be receiving an honouring degree during Acadia’s convocation when it is held at the university is Harry Thurston, who will be receiving a Doctor of Literature.

Thurston is a prolific author and dedicated environmentalist. He has published more than 20 books of poetry and non-fiction and been a contributor to numerous North American magazines specializing in environmental issues and natural history. He is a four-time winner of the Evelyn Richardson Prize for the best non-fiction book by a Nova Scotian and has also received the Dartmouth Book Award and Atlantic Booksellers’ Choice Award for Tidal Life, A Natural History of the Bay of Fundy. A Place Between the Tides, A Naturalist’s Reflections on the Salt Marsh, was a finalist for the Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize and winner of the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award in the U.S. His last book, The Atlantic Coast, A Natural History, received the 2011 Lane Anderson Award for best science book in Canada. Yarmouth has been home to Thurston.


For more information on the other honorary degree recipients, visit the Acadia University website:


Organizations: Yarmouth Hospital, Acadia University, South West Health North American

Geographic location: Wolfville, Canada, Yarmouth Nova Scotia Boston, MA Saulnierville Bay of Fundy Atlantic Coast

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