Mi’kmaw Elders teach that we are all connected to and dependent on the healthy lands and waters of Mi’kmaki. They teach that humans are no greater or no lesser than any other part of Creation, from the smallest flower to the largest tree, and that l’nu (our people) are part of the natural world around us. Plants and animals give life or spirit, by giving up their life for food and clothing. The spirit flows and gives life. Plants and animals also protect life, through the great covenant of the Spirit, by performing their unique roles and responsibilities in the natural world.

In receiving this life, we must be grateful and show respect. If Mother Earth is not respected, the relationship with the land will be broken and it will no longer provide us with food or protection and we will surely die.

The Creator has made many special places throughout Mi’kmaki. Places where old things are renewed through the birth of new creation. Places where many rare plants and animals provide vital medicines. Places that are beautiful and nurture the soul. Places without which we would be less enriched. Some Mi’kmaw names for these places are: mkogwtkiktl (black spruce swamp), oseogiktl (bog), kuskibunagekl (steep river bank), sitmog (shore), sipotjitj (brook), and gton (ocean).

If you have one of these places near your home, you are enriched. Learn about them by visiting them and watching all that goes on. Share your knowledge and joy with others. Above all else learn to respect these sacred places, because they give you life.

This text has been contributed by IKANAWTIKET
Illustration: “The Circle” by Arlene (Dozay) Christmas