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Powwow Country: Bear River First Nation Heritage and Cultural Centre Nova Scotia

Author: 
Compiled by Shari Narine
Volume: 
30
Issue: 
3
Year: 
2012

Bear River First Nation Heritage and Cultural Centre
Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia

Take a walk along the Medicine Trail and see the special plants used in traditional Mi’kmaw Medicine. The Medicine Trail is a special and spiritual place that represents the Mi’kmaw’s close relationship with Mother Earth. Along the trail you will find the rare black ash, its wood used to make baskets; the Yellow birch flowers, which is used to make tea; Wild Sarsaparilla with the root used to make tea for an all-purpose medicine; Sweetfern, with the leaves and twigs used to make tea and poultices for the treatment of poison ivy rash and other external sores. If you prefer indoor activities, the interpretive exhibit offers Sharing Our Story: The Mi’kmaq of Bear River. This is the story of how the people lived in the area in pre-contact times, the challenges and hardships faced after contact and European settlement, and how the people continue to heal and endure through sharing their spirit, their culture, and their traditions with others. The centre also proudly displays the first birch bark canoe to be crafted in the area in seven generations. The canoe is four metres in length and is fully functional. It was built by Cory Ryan, who is a seventh generation descendent of well-known Bear River Mi’kmaw guide and porpoise hunter, Malti Pictou, and Todd Labrador. Malti was the last before Cory to make a birch bark canoe in the area. The centre offers canoe-making demonstrations outdoors at the authentic Mi’kmaw Encampment site during the summer months. The site has been re-created to represent a small group encampment as it would have been in pre-contact times, complete with a group wigwam, a cooking fire, sweatlodge, and a rack that would have been used to dry fish and animal skins. The Bear River First Nation is one of 13 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia.

For more information check out: www.bearriverculturalcenter.com

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