Green Cove sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural and spir­i­tual site for Mi’Kmaq

Eth­nob­otanist sug­gests mon­u­ment pro­ject could im­pact abo­rig­i­nal and treaty rights


Another ar­gu­ment has sur­faced against the con­struc­tion of a vet­er­ans me­mo­rial mon­u­ment pro­posed for the Cape Bre­ton High­lands Na­tional Park. In a re­port pre­pared for Friends of Green Cove, Mi’kmaq eth­nob­otanist Tuma Young sug­gests there could be con­sid­er­able im­pact on abo­rig­i­nal and treaty rights to hunt­ing, fish­ing along with the har­vest­ing of tra­di­tional medicines in the Green Cove area.

Ti­tled “L’nuwi’tey­tasik Ke’kanakweje’ka’tik: Think­ing About the Mi’kmaq Use of the Green Cove Area,” Young’s study lists some 53 species of na­tive herbal medic­i­nal plants found at the site and also ex­am­ines po­ten­tial neg­a­tive im­pacts on fish, birds, and in­sect life.

In ad­di­tion, the re­port notes the site holds sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural and spir­i­tual sig­nif­i­cance in re­la­tion to myths and sto­ries of the Mi’kmaq cul­ture hero Kluskap.

Young is an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor of Mi’kmaq Stud­ies at Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity.

“If the pro­posed Mother Canada de­vel­op­ment were to pro­ceed, any fu­ture use of the area and any fu­ture ex­er­cise of any abo­rig­i­nal and treaty rights by the Mi’kmaq would be ex­tin­guished,” said the Friends group in a press re­lease is­sued this week con­cern­ing the re­port.

The re­port’s find­ing are based on a field sur­vey con­ducted on June 20 in co-op­er­a­tion with Parks Canada and has been shared with Mem­ber­tou Ge­o­mat­ics which is now pre­par­ing the Mi’kmaq Eco­log­i­cal Knowl­edge Study (MEKS) re­quired as part of Parks Canada’s en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view process.

“It is the hope and belief of Friends of Green Cove that Tuma’s re­mark­able study — a work of power, beauty and in­tegrity — will sup­ple­ment, com- ple­ment and strengthen not only the MEKS and the so-far deeply flawed re­view process, but also the case against pro­ceed­ing with ‘Mother Canada,’ a pro­ject which now stands ex­posed as an act of po­ten­tial cul­tural as well as eco­log­i­cal van­dal­ism,” said Sean Howard, spokesper­son for Friends of Green Cove.

The $30 mil­lion pro­posed pro­ject — dubbed Mother Canada — is draw­ing crit­i­cism from a num­ber of sources. Some sug­gest the mon­u­ment will be noth­ing more than a blight on the nat­u­ral beauty of the is­land’s rocky sea­coast while oth­ers sug­gest such a mon­u­ment should not be con­structed in a fed­eral park for fear of de­stroy­ing nat­u­ral habi­tat.

Sup­port­ers of the pro­ject con­tend the cove site is the ideal lo­ca­tion for the mon­u­ment to hon­our the coun­try’s men and women who served in war.


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