Post by Vera Marie
My sister and I are currently traveling in Canada--Nova Scotia to be exact–and have been learning about the Mi’kmaq people. (That name is pronounced Mee-maw. )What a surprise to learn that they are relatives of Quincy Tahoma’s own people, the Diné (Navajo).
We stopped at the Glooscap Heritage Center near Truro, Nova Scotia and were fortunate to meet Garrett, who is a trained archaeologist. He is 100% Mi’kmaw and filled us in on a lot of information. But the Glooscap Center would be extremely educational for any visitor even if they did not have the good fortune to run into Garrett.
Your visit starts with a short film, partly in English and partly in the Mi’kmaw language. Each language has subtitles in the other, so you will never be at a loss to understand. The main narrator is Glooscap, a spirit hero of the Mi’kmaw. He tells a little about their legends. Then others, including a woman who is an expert on the culture add other information.
I learned that archaeological evidence puts these people in the area at LEAST 10,000 years ago–much longer time than the Southwestern peoples have been in their territory.
Garrett explained to us later that there is a relationship between the Mi’kmaw and the woodland Indians of the Eastern U.S., but also to all other tribes that speak a variation of the Alqonquin language. That includes Diné.
Like the tribes of the Southwest with which I am familiar, the Mi’kmaw have developed some unique crafts. I never saw such beautiful basketry as I saw in their museum. The museum also displays contemporary painting, beadwork and quill work which is exquisite.
If your knowledge of Native peoples (which the Canadians call First Nations) is limited to those who live in your area, I urge you to look into the great variety–and maybe even discover common threads all around the Western Hemisphere.
Did you know that Navajo are related to Canadian tribes?