Mi’kmaq name to be given to important PEI National Historic Site

by Tammy MacDonald


News release from Chief Brian Francis and Chief Matilda Ramjattan

(Co-Chairs of the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI):

Mi’kmaq name to be given to important National Historic Site

The Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI is pleased to learn that its recommendation to honour Mi’kmaq heritage by giving a Mi’kmaq name to Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst National Historic Site has been accepted by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

In the fall of 2017, the Confederacy proposed that the Mi’kmaq historic name Skmaqn (pronounced Ska-MAA-kin) be given to the site. Skmaqn means “the waiting place” and is thought to have its origins in the years 1725-1758 when Mi’kmaq and French leaders met annually at the site to renew their relationship and military alliance. As French leaders were often delayed in arriving from Cape Breton for the ceremonies, the Mi’kmaq of Epekwitk would wait for them to arrive. The official name of the site will now be Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site of Canada.

“This is an important site for Mi’kmaq history and for the Mi’kmaq community. We are pleased that the name will now better reflect the complex history of the site, including its Indigenous history.” said Abegweit First Nation Chief Brian Francis.

The Confederacy proposed the name after extensive consultation within the Mi’kmaq community by the Mi’kmaq Leadership.

“The difficult and painful elements of Canadian history, such as those associated with Skmaqn, have a lot to teach us today. We need, as a country, to learn from our past; and in order to learn from it, we need to understand it, including the hardships endured by my ancestors as a result of colonization”, said Lennox Island First Nation Chief Matilda Ramjattan.

The Mi’kmaq Confederacy looks forward to working with the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Parks Canada and other cultural groups with ties to the site, to improve the presentation of the history, including the Indigenous history, at the site.


For more information:

Don MacKenzie: 902-626-2882, dmackenzie@mcpei.ca

Visit our web site at http://mcpei.ca/

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