Nova Scotia

For children at this First Nation, the voice behind Teepee Time is one they know

Anne Marie Marchand is principal at Mi'kmawey School in Potlotek First Nation on Cape Breton and is the Mi'kmaq voice behind the title character in APTN's weekend cartoon Teepee Time.

Local principal provides Mi'kmaq translations, narration and sings on APTN weekend morning cartoon

Teepee is a Mi'kmaq boy who gets into and out of humorous predicaments on weekend mornings. He's voiced by Anne Marie Marchand, principal of Mi'kmawey School in Potlotek First Nation. (APTN)

Students at Mi'kmawey School in Potlotek First Nation on Cape Breton don't have to wonder where they've heard their principal's voice before.

They hear Anne Marie Marchand every Saturday and Sunday morning on the TV.

That's because Marchand is the main voice on Teepee Time, a children's cartoon airing on APTN on weekend mornings in Mi'kmaq, English and French.

"Oh my God, I've got a lot of fans," she told CBC Radio's Information Morning Cape Breton

"The whole island watches [Teepee Time], and I'm hoping the mainland does, too. I'm famous," Marchand said with a laugh. "Maybe to the little ones."

Marchand describes the title character as a teepee-shaped boy who gets into all kinds of humorous predicaments.

After each dilemma gets resolved, Teepee has a nap and Marchand narrates a story.

Shows packed with information, fun

"There's a lot of stuff that's inside the programs, the little shows themselves, so it's really fun to watch," she said.

Marchand provides Mi'kmaq translations for the captions, she voices the main character and sings on the show.

She said the show's producers originally asked the Mi'kmaq Kina'matnewey — the Indigenous education authority in Nova Scotia — for a recommendation on who could be the voice of Teepee.

"I guess nobody wanted to do it, so they figured, 'Let me ask her, because she used to be the Mi'kmaq teacher at the school,'" she said. "So when they asked me, I was all for it. I was really excited to do it."

The show has wrapped up two seasons, and a third is scheduled for next year.

Marchand said being involved with Teepee Time is hard work. Each show has two episodes and there are 13 shows.

A technician and all the equipment come to Potlotek from Montreal. The recording gear is set up in a classroom at Mi'kmawey School and Marchand works on the project eight hours a day for seven days straight.

Anne Marie Marchand is principal at Mi'kmawey School in Potlotek First Nation on Cape Breton. (Submitted by Anne Marie Marchand)

Having cartoons in the Mi'kmaq language is extremely important, she said.

"A lot of times you can't translate literally, so when you look at the captions on TV, sometimes the words won't fit what I'm saying because of that. But who reads anyways, right?" Marchand said with a laugh.

"The children listen to the words, so that's important.

"I'm really proud of it, because we want to do anything we can to bring the language to the children, so that's my passion."