Celebrating Mi’kmaq History Month

The Shubenadie River and Waterway owe its name to the Mi’kmaq as this was the name they gave to the interior lands where they spent their winters and it was also the name given to the well known tidal river which flows from Grand Lake to the Bay of Fundy.  The Mi’kmaq were highly skilled travelers as they, along with other first nations groups, had invented the birch bark canoe. 

Following his journey to the Great Lakes Champlain was quoted as saying, “There is no craft known to the Europeans except the canoe of birch bark with which the journey to the Upper Country can be made.  This cannot be said of the canoes in any other parts of the world.” The canoes in other parts of the world he was referring to were primarily dug-outs which were too heavy for the portages which were required on many of the North American rivers and streams.

The birch bark canoe was truly an important invention which has made a significant contribution to our Country and to the World and the First Nations deserve the credit for this.  While there is not an authentic birch bark canoe in the Fairbanks Centre there is a fiberglass replica of one.  If you look upwards towards the ceiling you will see it hanging from an iron brace.   This was fabricated at the CBC props department and has the appearance of bark.  Just ahead of it is another handmade canoe which resembles a Mi’kmaq version and was constructed by Dr. Don Gordon of the Bedford Institute of Oceanography.