The government of Canada is sponsoring an African Heritage Month event called the Mathieu Da Costa challenge.
Who is Mathieu Da Costa?
According to the Black History Month Association, Halifax, Canada, Mathieu Da Costa was a multilingual interpreter and navigator of African heritage. It is notable that he was a free man during his mention in history (late 1500s to early 1600s).
He is remembered for helping early French explorers such as Samuel de Champlain, in the 1600s, communicate with the Canadian aboriginals, and navigate the St. Lawrence River. His ability to communicate in the “Basque Pidgin” language made him particularly useful as an interpreter for the Mi’kmaq (aboriginal Canadians) and the French. Also, records indicate that he assisted the Dutch on their North American expeditions.
The Challenge in Brief:
The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge is held by the Department of Canadian Heritage to encourage Canadian youth between the ages of 9 and 18 to learn about Canada’s diversity, through writing and artwork.
This year’s contest theme focuses on Quebec as a diverse meeting place, and celebrating 400 years of French civilization in North America.
To participate, create an original piece of writing in English or French (e.g. short story, poem, song, play, illustrated story, essay, etc.) or artwork (including computer generated artwork) celebrating the contributions made by Canadians of Aboriginal, African or other backgrounds to the building of Canada.
Submissions, including completed entry forms, should be mailed to:
The Mathieu Da Costa Challenge
334 Churchill Avenue North
Ottawa, Ontario K1Z 5B9
Deadline: Submissions must be postmarked by February 22, 2008. For additional information and the PDF entry form, please visit the Canadian Heritage web page.