The Mi’kmaq are the indigenous people of Mi’kma’ki, the Mi’kmaw homeland which includes all present-day Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, central and eastern New Brunswick, the Gaspé Peninsula and Newfoundland. For the last 13,000 years, ancestors of the Mi’kmaq have called this territory home.
The culture and language of the Mi’kmaq are deeply rooted in the land and the people. There is a close relationship spiritually, culturally and linguistically to the First Nations in the region. The Mi’kmaq share many cultural traditions as well as linguistic roots with neighboring nations, the Abenaki, Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet), Innu, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot as well as many other Algonquian-speaking First Nations. Together, these nations make up the Wabanaki Confederacy.
For thousands of years, the Mi’kmaq have maintained sophisticated strategies and deep knowledge about the world— animals, plants, seasons, landscapes and seascapes of Mi’kma’ki. This knowledge is contained in the language and stories, and is passed on from generation to generation in visible and not-so-visible ways. In every corner of Mi’kma’ki, you will see physical evidence of a continual presence in the land, including ancestral camp sites, petroglyphs etched on rocks, stone tool quarry sites, place names, altered vegetation, and even fish weirs that have survived for thousands of years.
Despite historic policies and practices, the Mi’kmaq Nation has survived, thrived, and continues to grow. The Mi’kmaq Nation is a vital part of Nova Scotia society, and plays an important role in the future of our province, both on a national, and international stage.
Information courtesy of Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre