About Capacity Development

The UNSM Capacity Development team supports member First Nations develop capacity in governance and programs:

  • By facilitating knowledge transfer through capacity-building training, workshops, and other tools
  • By providing advisory support to build community capacity as requested
  • Based on the individual and collective needs of UNSM member First Nations
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Our Department's Mission

To build capacity, skills, and professional expertise in our member First Nations through knowledge transfer

To provide advisory support and assistance to communities to increase their success

To engage with communities to ensure capacity development services are relevant, appropriate, and effective

To unite and bring member communities together to increase effectiveness of capacity development initiatives through partnership and sharing of best practices

Our Team

The Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq (UNSM) Capacity Development services department consists of:
Joan Stevens, Director of Capacity Development
Kirstin Ward, Operations Coordinator
Susy Denny, Projects Coordinator
Nilan Marshall, Capacity Development Coordinator
Karly Bernard, Capacity Development Coordinator
Robin Thompson, Governance Manager
Nicholas Cook, Governance Coordinator
Jennifer Jesty, Emergency Manager
Tasha Francis, Emergency Management Coordinator
Kim Milley, L'nu Learning Hub Manager
Darrell Bernard, Infrastructure Manager
Arnelle Paul, Housing Project Coordinator
Wasuek Googoo, Infrastructure Coordinator
*team photo to be updated*

Thus far, co-developing our strategic direction with our member communities has been our main focus in addition to managing Capacity Development projects.

Our Current Priorities

  • Governance Capacity Support
  • Planning Capacity Support (Comprehensive Community Planning, Strategic Planning)
  • Infrastructure Program
  • Comprehensive Emergency Management Support

    Special Projects

Our Core Priniciples

Community Led

Community Support


Culturally Appropriate

About Our Logo

In November 2018, we launched a logo contest that sought ideas from Mi’kmaw artists for a $500 cash prize. The contest called for minimalist artwork that would represent the concepts of community strength, good governance, capacity building, and knowledge transfer in a creative yet symbolic way. After much deliberation, we chose a stained-glass art piece called “Mi’kmaq Culture and Resilience” submitted by Carol Sylvester of Membertou. The orange background of the original piece represents our residential school survivors. The Mi’kmaq symbol with each loop symbolizes our stages of life. The four sacred colours, the outer red circle & beadwork symbolizes the resilience of our culture. The double-curve motif and the feather represent the love and strength of our people and culture. 

After our winner was decided, work on logo development began. To make it more relevant to our Capacity Development work and our organization, UNSM, we modified some of the colouring, adding our UNSM blue, while maintaining the overall outline of the stained-glass art piece. With the addition of text, the “Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq” and “Capacity Development”, our logo was complete!

The UNSM Capacity Development team like to give a huge thank you to the Artist, Carol Sylvester, for submitting her artwork, and to Cageless Content Owner & Operator, Ethan Fenton, for turning Carol’s beautiful artwork into a logo for our team.