‘This touched my spirit’

Mem­ber­tou Her­itage Park rec­og­nized for its cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - BY KYLE LARUSIC

The Mem­ber­tou Her­itage Park was rec­og­nized with an award at the In­ter­na­tional Abo­rig­i­nal Tourism Con­fer­ence.

The best in­door cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence award was pre­sented to the lo­cal First Na­tion com­mu­nity last De­cem­ber.

The con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants were told the park pro­vides one of the best in­door ex­pe­ri­ences among her­itage parks.

The Mem­ber­tou park con­sists of a five-acre site that of­fers a liv­ing his­tory of the Mi’kmaq com­mu­nity. It also in­cludes a large in­door ex­hibit that im­merses visi­tors into an an­cient cul­ture with tour guides on site.

The new­est ad­di­tion to the park is a hockey stick crafted more than 100 years ago.

Gen­eral man­ager Jeff Ward was hon­oured to have his es­tab­lish­ment gain such high praise.

“This touched my spirit. I put my heart and soul into this and it’s great to see hard work pay off,” he said.

Ward en­cour­ages any­body who hasn’t been to the park to visit when­ever they get the chance.

“This is not just an ex­hibit for First Na­tions, ev­ery­body is welcome to come and learn our his­tory.”

Ward was once told the op­po­site of love is fear. Peo­ple fear what they do not know and that’s why peo­ple feared the Mi’kmaq cul­ture for so long, he says.

“Vis­it­ing the park will al­low peo­ple to not only un­der­stand our past, but con­nect with us spir­i­tu­ally.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to www.mem­ber­touher­itagepark.com. Kyle LaRusic is a sec­ond-year stu­dent in the jour­nal­ism pro­gram at Hol­land Col­lege in Char­lot­te­town, P.E.I. He is on a four-week in­tern­ship at the Cape Breton Post.

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