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.