March 15, 2016 1:05 pm
Updated: March 15, 2016 1:11 pm

Mi’kmaw woman Rebecca Thomas named Halifax’s next poet laureate

Facebook/Rebecca Thomas - Poet

Halifax Regional has appointed Rebecca Thomas, a Mi’kmaw woman, as the new poet laureate for the city.

As the sixth poet laureate, Thomas will be an ambassador and advocate for literacy, literature and the arts and she will give readings at civic events to bring her art to the community.

“We’re very pleased to appoint Ms. Thomas as our next Poet Laureate, a position which will empower her to enhance our understanding of our region’s unique cultural tapestry through her work,” Mayor Mike Savage said in a release Tuesday.

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Thomas will serve as the Halifax poet laureate for two years. Her time will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion as well as the 150th birthday of Canada.

As a Mi’kmaw woman, Thomas brings another layer of culture and experience to the public conversations that she will be a part of.

“Poetry can give a voice to the voiceless. Poetry can make a powerless person feel powerful. This is why I speak,” Thomas said.

Thomas is the current Halifax Slam Master as well as the Coordinator of Aboriginal Student Services at Nova Scotia Community College.

In recent years, as part of the Halifax Youth Slam Team, Thomas has helped to organize events like poetry series’ and workshops with a focus on youth, hoping to get more young people involved and feeling empowered.

Thomas will take her post as the poet laureate on April 1. The event, happening just in time for National Poetry Month, will be marked by a special reading at Regional Council followed by a public reception.

Thomas will take the place of outgoing poet laureate El Jones, who announced in the spring that she would be leaving Halifax.

WATCH: El Jones talks about leaving Halifax

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