NS First Nation Communities

Acadia

Acadia is based in southwestern Nova Scotia. There are five separate reserves associated with this Band, scattered across Yarmouth, Queens and Lunenburg counties. They are: Gold River, Medway, Ponhook, Wildcat, and Yarmouth. A large portion (90%) of Band members live off-reserve, with large numbers in Shelburne County and the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The Band maintains close ties with members who live in these areas. Acadia became a united Band and obtained official status in 1967. Much of the history of the people of the Acadia is centered in today’s Queen’s County, Nova Scotia. Artifacts found along the Mersey River document the rich history of the Mi’kmaq people in this area. The Kebapskitk Interpretive Centre
is currently being developed by the Acadia in Liverpool to showcase the archaeological and cultural history of this community.

The first Chief, Charles Labrador, who served from 1969-1977, was elected by the 20 people eligible to vote at the time. Today there are over 1000 members of the Acadia. Under the tenure of Chief Deborah Robinson’s (from 1988 to present), Acadia has seen increasing community and social development for the Band. Some of these developments include a new
administrative building, the development of Kespuwick Fisheries, two health centres, six gaming facilities, and offices in Halifax and Milton to serve the off-reserve population. These services have provided employment as well as resources for the band members. Acadia is a non-profit organization that “strives for self-sufficiency, community and social
development.”

Annapolis Valley

Annapolis Valley Band has a total of 185.2 hectares located in the southwestern part of Nova Scotia. With a total population of 233 and a larger number of their population off reserve, Annapolis Valley First Nation’s primary language is English.

Annapolis Valley First Nation is composed of two land areas including Cambridge and St. Croix.

Eskasoni

Nestled along the shore of the beautiful Bras d’Or Lakes is our First Nation community of Eskasoni, the largest Aboriginal community in all of Atlantic Canada. Deeply rooted within Eskasoni is the Mi’kmaq culture. We are proud to say that we are home to the largest Mi’kmaq speaking community with close ties to traditional culture and beliefs.

Over the last several years, Eskasoni has made great strides in developing a solid infrastructure on which to grow and prosper. The community has its own community operated school system from kindergarten to grade 12. Economic development is growing and new development is welcomed in the community. Just take a look at the new Eskasoni Supermarket and our community rink. We are proud to offer many large and small businesses within Eskasoni, some of which are community owned. We also have a large private-sector base.

The community of Eskasoni has a proud history of supporting its young population with events that promote a healthy and active lifestyle among its four thousand community members. With a dedication to improving the lives of its future generation, the Eskasoni community strives to be culturally rich and respectful of its ecosystem based on concepts of shared responsibility. The word Eskasoni is derived from a Mi’kmaq word “We’kwistoqnik.” Literally translated, this word means “where the fir trees are plentiful.”

Glooscap

Gloocap First Nation is named after the legendary hero of the Mi’kmaq. Glooscap was formed in the early 1800’s in conjunction with the Micmac Missionary Society. Silas T.Rand settled in Hantsport in 1855, with the hopes of encouraging the Indians to settle closer to him. Although he had no intention of remaining there, he wrote to the society stating that there was 450 acres, available to purchase for £375, which would be an ideal location for a reserve. This spot was surrounded by woodlands, but was close enough to town limits that they could make a living in the market place. On February 6, 1907, this land was transferred to his Majesty the King, for use as an Indian Reserve for the Indians in the Province of Nova Scotia.

When Annapolis Valley Band was created, there were 160 residents residing on communities that were nearly 30 kilometers apart. Therefore, as time went by, Glooscap felt that they did not have adequate service delivery, and felt that a separation from Annapolis Valley was inevitable. In June of 1984 the two communities were separated and Glooscap became the 13th Mi’kmaw Band in Nova Scotia. Originally know as Horton, Glooscap officially changed their name in 2001.

Sipekne’katik

Sipekne’katik, also known as the “Shubenacadie Band” was established in May of 1820. The Shubenacadie Band is represented by five communities, Indian Brook, New Ross, Pennal, Dodd’s Lot, Wallace Hills and Grand Lake.
The Treaty of 1752, often referred to the “Magna Carta of Native Aboriginal Rights” was signed at Shubenacadie District. The treaty dealt with lands, hunting fishing, trapping, gathering and trading and formed the foundation of aboriginal rights in Canada today.

A memorial was erected in 2002 in honor of Chief Jean Baptiste Cope and the Treaty of 1752, Peace and Friendship Treaty.

Indian Brook has enjoyed much growth. The long-planned and much anticipated state of the art P-12 school, L’nu Sipuk Kina’muokuom (LSK), was opened in September 2008. Two community pools were opened in 2009. The community gas-bar has been re-opened (October 2009) and a Cranberry Marsh will be opening soon. A new Mi’kmaq Family and Children Services building is currently under construction and development of Grand Lake and Hammonds Plains is on-going.

Bear River

The community of Bear River, or L’sitkuk, is located in the Annapolis Valley between the towns of Annapolis Royal and Digby. The community provides for Treaty Gas and opens a seasonal Heritage and Cultural Center. A Learning Center provides space for a number of educational activities and a Health Center contributes to a Wholistic Healing Approach. A RCMP Satellite Office has recently been established and a Fitness Center will soon be opening.

Historically L’sitkuk has been a central meeting place for the Mi’kmaq due to its strategic location on old water routes connecting the Atlantic coastline to interior lands. In former times, L’sitkuk was an important meeting place for the Wabanaki Conferacy, a political and cultural alliance among the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Mi’kmaw tribes.

The traditional economy of L’sitkuk was based on hunting, fishing and gathering. They were well-know for their artwork: embroidering porcupine quills on birchbark, leatherwork, and basketry. This work is carried on today by the community’s craftpeople and woodworkers. The community has also built a strong tradition as hunting and fishing guides for non-native sports. Traditional values still practiced today include respecting elders, sharing, and striving to live happy and peaceful lives. The People love their children very much.
The name L’sitkuk means “flowing along by high rocks” or conveys “water that cuts through.” The description is fitting because the river appears to cut through the granite rock of the surrounding landscape. L’sitkuk is a place and a space where culture, a language, and a distinct and proud identity are gaining strength after hundreds of years of colonialism.

Membertou

Named after the Grand Chief Membertou (1510-1611) the Membertou First Nation belongs to the greater tribal group of the Mi’kmaw Nation. Membertou is situated 3 kms from the heart of the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia, within its tribal district of Unama’ki (Cape Breton). It is one of five Mi’kmaw communities in Cape Breton, and one of 13 in the Province of Nova Scotia.

Membertou is an urban First Nation community consisting of over 1050 people, and one of 5 communities that make up the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, with a total population of over 115 thousand people. Membertou was not always situated at its present location. Many years ago, Membertou (formally known as the Kings Road Reserve) was located just off of Kings Road, along the Sydney Harbor. In 1916, the Exchequer Court of Canada ordered the relocation of the 125 Mi’kmaq; the first time an aboriginal community had been legally forced through the courts to relocate in Canadian history. In 1926, the Membertou Community was officially moved to its present day location.

Millbrook

Located along the province’s busiest highway, Millbrook First Nation near Truro is well positioned for economic growth. The community’s retail park, the Truro Power Centre, is thriving securing close to a dozen tenants since it opened in 2001.

Current Power Centre businesses include a multiplex theatre, sit-down and drive-through restaurants, a 50-room hotel, a recreational vehicle retailer, a service station, a furniture store and the Glooscap Heritage Centre.

In 1873, a native hunter by the name of Charles Wilmot found a good piece of land near the Hilden area. He informed the people at Christmas Crossing that this land was full of wild game and there was plenty of ash growing in that area. The native people elected a spokesperson to talk with the Indian Agent about their land at Christmas Crossing for this new piece of land later known as Millbrook Reserve.

Paqtnkek

Paqtnkek is located in Antigonish County. The name Paqtnkek holds a distinctive meaning “by the bay.” It is a vibrant growing community where the youth represent approximately 50% of the population. The hope of our nation lies with our children.

Paqtnkek is the stopping point coming into Unama’ki and going out to Unama’ki. Paqtnkek is abundant in Eels, the Marshall dispute started here in Paqtnkek down Walneg and Antigonish Harbour. Donald Marshall Jr. was charged in Pomquet Harbour for fishing Eels.

Paqtnkek in the past was the main geographical area. With all the activities happening in Louisburg with the war we would gather and settle here in the area. Paqtnkek is the grassroot home for many people that were affected by centralization. All the Chiefs would meet in Paqtnkek because this is the central location.

Paqtnkek maintains a close relationship with their Treaty and Aboriginal Rights by refusing to sign any agreements that may infringe upon future rights and exercising our rights to our children. We sacrificed as a band by not signing any agreements with Government because we care about the future of our children and their rights.

Pictou Landing

Pictou Landing First Nation is a Mi’kmaq community located on the south shore of the Northumberland Strait in Pictou County, Nova Scotia. The Band Membership has approximately 600 members, with about 440 who reside in the community. Pictou Landing’s combined land base is over 520 hectares comprised of 5 area tracts:

  • Franklin Manor (co-owned with Paqtnkek First Nation) – 212.50 hectares
  • Fisher’s Grant 24 (main reserve) – 142.70 hectares;
  • Boat Harbour West – 98.20 hectares;
  • Fisher’s Grant 24G – 60 hectares;
  • Merigomish Harbour – 14.20 hectares.

The community has a church, a gas bar, a health center, a Primary to  grade 6 elementary school, and a band administration office. Pictou Landing’s main industry is fishing, which employs close to 100 people (full/part time) each year with community/core licenses in lobster, rock crab, snow crab, mackerel, herring & tuna.

Potlotek

Potlotek (Chapel Island) is an island that is 300 yards off the community that takes her name. The Island is home to the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, a traditional government that has perhaps existed since time immemorial, certainly before contact. Although no one resides on the sacred site year round, in the summer things change. Late July to early August find the island teeming with people. The people come to the island to celebrate the Feast of St. Ann, the patron saint of the Mi’kmaq. Surveys have revealed that in some past years attendance has swelled to upwards of 8000 people. The feast has been ongoing since mid 1700s. In recent years, the Island was designated as a National Heritage Site, of which a monument was erected on the mainland side of the reserve for people to view. In 2010, the 400-year anniversary of St. Anne’s Mission was celebrated.

The Community of Chapel Island is proud of the recent initiatives with its economic development with the construction and completion of the new store-gas bar which houses Robins Donuts, a Rite Stop, Esso and Video Lottery Terminals which has provided a valuable resource of revenue thus providing employment opportunities for our community residents. Chapel Island has also constructed a new School Board Office which houses the Education Department; Capsite; Resource Centre and is presently entertaining the Literacy Training by providing GED to some of its residents, so that this will enable them to continue on with further study through Education.

Other band buildings include the Chapel Island Community Hall/Kateri Chapel; Chapel Island Daycare; Youth Centre; RCMP Building; Medical Centre; Fisheries with its Oyster Plant and Fishery Building; Chapel Island Fire Hall; Water Department; Mikmawey School. Another outstanding feature is the Water Tower which provides the reserve with it’s water supply that is pumped from Indian Lake.

Wagmatcook

Wagmatcook First Nation is located in the center of Cape Breton Island (Unamaki) and is perhaps the oldest permanent Mi’kmaq settlement in Nova Scotia. “Wagmatcook” means “clean wave” a reference to the waters of the Wagmatcook (Middle River) and the Bras D’or lake system which are adjacent to the place where Wagmatcook Mi’kmaq live.

Wagmatcook is the closest Mi’kmaw community to the Cape Breton highlands. Over the last 25 years, Wagmatcook has developed numerous community based programs, services and institutions which promote Mi’kmaq culture and traditions.

Wagmatcook started the first Aboriginal secondary school (1986) in the Atlantic region and established the first Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Day Care Center on reserve. Education and programs for Wagmatcook youth are central to the Council’s priorities since the youth comprise a large percentage of the resident population. Wagmatcook students have successfully completed undergraduate and graduate degree programs and many of these graduates are now working for the community as financial officers, business managers, and educators.

Wagmatcook has a very successful commercial fishing operation which employs up to forty one people a season. The Wagmatcook Enterprise and Cultural Center houses the TD Canada Trust Agency bank, a Canada Post office, the Clean Wave Restaurant, an Alternate School for Youth, cultural demonstration projects and the second largest sound stage/venue on Cape Breton Island. The new gas bar, grocery store, wharf and warehouse facility are open for business.

Wagmatcook prides itself on the use and protection of the Mi’kmaw language. It is an important part of daily life and is used as the primary language during Chief and Council meetings.

Waycobah

Waycobah's mission statement is “to Improve the Quality of Life and Well-Being of all community members.” And with the success in housing and the education, and health infrastructure, employment and Economic Development is the next goal for this growing community.

Waycobah is a beautiful community nestled in the foothills of the Whycocomagh and Skye Mountains overlooking the graceful waters of Whycocomagh Bay, adjacent to the village of Whycocomagh, approximately 58 kilometers from the Canso Causeway.

Waycobah officially became a recognized band in 1967, when after centralization people began moving back and rebuilding and applied to become its own reserve. There is a new P-12 school which teaches the 7-habits of highly effective people, a new state of the art Health Centre, RCMP station, volunteer Fire Department, Fitness Centre and a community owned gas station called Rod’s One Stop. The name “We’koqma’q” means “head of the waters”.