Sunset over Kejimkujik Lake

All locations within Kejimkujik that bear witness to the presence of the Mi’kmaq are special places. They are a source of pride and identity for today’s Mi’kmaw people, and are sacred to them. Collectively, they are also the reason why Kejimkujik has the distinction of being the only National Park in Canada to become a National Historic Site in its entirety. These sites, therefore, are monitored on an ongoing basis by a dedicated Aboriginal patrol staff, to ensure that the sites are not disturbed by visitors. However, by special arrangement, they are accessible by Mi'kmaw people, so that they are able to go to these sacred locations for ceremonies, or to make a connection with the Ancestors.

Of particular concern are the petroglyphs. Exposed to the elements, these treasures are slowly fading away, and efforts are being made to preserve and record them. However, accidental damage and deliberate vandalism have completely obliterated some of these irreplaceable artifacts long before their time. The areas around these sites are therefore restricted areas, so that they can be protected for future generations.

However, the Mi'kmaw Elders that have been consulted on this issue do not believe that anyone should take drastic measures to preserve these images for all time. They were put here by the Ancestors to speak to the future, and to create a link to a past and a heritage that many of today's generation have forgotten. When their task is completed, they will pass into history. They were never meant to last for eternity, and to interfere with their existence would be inappropriate.

Jean (center) giving a petroglyph tour


The Aboriginal History and Culture Interpretation section of the Kejimkujik National Park offers several ways to discover more about the culture and history of the Mi’kmaw people. Regular programs, in the form of guided walks and multi-media presentations, deal with topics such as the Mi’kmaw lifestyle, traditional medicines, and spirituality. Throughout the summer, visitors can walk through a recreation of a traditional encampment, and regular guided tours of the petroglyphs are also offered, so that they have the opportunity to see, touch and learn more about these ancient reminders of times long ago. Not only are these programs of benefit to other peoples, they are also of benefit to those Mi'kmaq people who are trying to learn about themselves and their heritage.

Updated: 27 Mar 2016 Print Page