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Tourism PEI
Mi'kmaq, Woman, grass, ocean

Indigenous Culture Prince Edward Island

Indigenous Culture

Kwe. Pjila'si See the beauty of the Island through the eyes of Indigenous people, experience the culture through the beat of the drum, learn traditional craft from an Elder that’s been handed down through generations and expand your perspective on the Mi’kmaq story.

The Mi’kmaq are the First Peoples of Prince Edward Island and have called this beautiful island home for over 12,000 years. 'Epekwitk' is the traditional Mi’kmaq name given to the Island, meaning "something lying on the water.” As you explore Epekwitk, look out for other Mi’kmaq place names identified with a series of road signs and three Parks Canada signs. These traditional Mi’kmaq place names are rooted in the characteristics of that location or the traditional activities that would happen there – from traditional fishing grounds to hunting grounds or campsites. Here’s what they mean:

Tignish River Mta’qanejk meaning: Paddle Place
Mill River Unikansuk meaning: Portage trail
Grand River Amasisipukwek meaning: The river where it stretches out and follows far in distance
Cape Egmont Mntuapskuk meaning: Devil’s Rock
Bedeque Eptek meaning: It is hot.
Borden Pastue’kati meaning: A place where seacows are plentiful
Crapaud &Telisipk meaning: The place where it stretches out
Skmaqn-Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst Skmaqn meaning: The waiting place
Rice Point Suomane'katik meaning:
Cavendish Pemamkiaq meaning: Long sandbar
Rustico Bay Tapu Tuitn meaning: Double narrows
North River Nemtaqaq meaning: Being able to see straight or along until disappearing from view
Stanhope Atoqwa’su walney meaning: Trout cove
Tracadie Cross Tlaqatik meaning: The place where people gather; the gathering place
Murray Harbour Eskwatek
Montague Mente'ken
Souris Sqoliwe’katik meaning: Frogs’ place
Orwell Mewisitek meaning: The berry picking place
Point Prim Wejuowitk meaning: Flowing close by
Fox River Wokwisewey Sipu meaning: Fox River
Panmure Island Kwesoqamkiaq meaning: Sand bar

 

Learn How to Pronounce the Place Names in Mi'kmaq

Experiences You Might Enjoy

Each year on the last Sunday of July, the Lennox Island Band Council hosts St. Anne’s Sunday with mass, a lobster feast, parade and other events. This annual celebration dates to 1600s when French missionaries introduced the Mi’kmaq to Catholicism. At that time, Grand Chief Membertou was intrigued by similarities in the symbols and rituals of the Christian religion and traditional Indigenous spirituality. He was later baptized at Port-Royale (today Nova Scotia), thus beginning a blending of Indigenous spirituality and Christianity among many Mi’kmaq.

Here, you can also discover the history, spirituality and culture of the Mi'kmaq at the Lennox Island ecotourism centre. Plan to take part in a traditional cultural experience including Porcupine Quillwork Art, Bannock and Clam Bake on the Beach or the Beat of One Drum.

Beat of One Drum, musicians, group of people, instruments

Together, our First Nations and Parks Canada work together on conservation projects and other programs to bring Mi’kmaq heritage and culture to life. On Monday evenings in summer, don’t miss the Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors’ outdoor performance of “A’Tuken” at the PEI National Park - Cavendish Campground. Be sure to check out the traditional Mi’kmaq wigwam and interpretive exhibits at Skmaqn-Port-la-Joye-Fort Amherst National Historic Site and Greenwich - PEI National Park anytime.

Several of the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation sites have Indigenous interpreters and programming available during the summer. This programming highlights Mi'kmaq history of the local area, as well as the 12,000 years of Mi'kmaq presence on PEI through stories and vignettes.

Wela'lin