by Raymond Sewell - MMNN Contributor

A Celebration of Aboriginal Day

The sun was out on Grand Lake as canoes and kayaks entered the water from the landing at Oakfield Park, the morning of Aboriginal Day June 21st 2012. Sent off with a prayer by Joe Michael, members of the Pjila’si Mi’kma’ki: Mi’kmaw Place Names Digital Atlas and Website project-team Roger Lewis (Nova Scotia Museum), Trudy Sable (Saint Mary’s University); Jim Michael and Jennifer Copage (Mi’kma’ki All Points Services); Bernie Francis (linguist); Rob Ferguson (formerly Parks Canada); Bill Jones (exp. geomatics consultant); research assistants, Kachina Sack, Justin Lewis, Matt Meuse, and Raymond Sewell; and invited guests Michael Weiler, David Cao, Hilliard King, and Larry Anthony- celebrated the day by paddling this ancient Mi’kmaw travel route. The 36km paddle down the Shubenacadie river was a challenge, but the idea of retracing an ancient Mi’kmaw route filled with scenery and wildlife such as deer, beaver, and eagles made it well worth it. The trip was held to celebrate Mi’kmaw ethnicity and to experience what it was like for the Mi’kmaq traveling the historic waterway. Arriving near Shubenacadie later that afternoon a tired, wet, and sunburned crew; there was a feeling of accomplishment and appreciation for the strength it must have taken to paddle this natural highway. A second trip is currently being planned in mid-August.