As part of the Louisbourg300 celebrations, Parks Canada and Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources are pleased to share a remarkable Mi’kmaq legend. Join us for some baked eel at the Membertou Heritage Park on Thursday, October 24 at 1:00 pm when we will officially launch a new video which retells the Mi’kmaq eel legend and the fall of Louisbourg in the 18th century.
“Through storytelling and original drawings by Dozay Christmas, this video brings to life an important legend in our culture about the close relationship between the French and the Mi’kmaq people,” said Lisa Young, Executive Director of Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources. “The Mi’kmaq share in Louisbourg’s history and now this connection will be shared with a global audience thanks to our partnership.”
“This is a compelling historical connection between the Mi’kmaq and Louisbourg that survived in the Mi’kmaq culture as a legend,” said Chip Bird, Field Unit Superintendent for Parks Canada places on Cape Breton Island. “Parks Canada is honoured to partner with the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources to share this intriguing story and highlight our shared history during Louisbourg300 celebrations.”
The official launch event will include a sampling of baked eel and viewing of the video. This is one in a series of videos, created by Sydney’s GRYPHON media productions in partnership between Parks Canada and Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources, that document the eel and its importance to the Mi’kmaq culture. Eels at risk and Eel traditions can also be found on the UINR channel on YouTube.
Earlier this year when we were wrapping up our ten short eel videos with Parks Canada, Elder Albert Marshall told a story that captivated everyone around the table. The story takes place almost 300 years ago during the siege in Louisbourg. Having run out of gunpowder, French soldiers went to the Mi’kmaq people in Unama’ki to request help. As the French and Mi’kmaq had very good relations, the Mi’kmaq agreed to assist the soldiers. What happened next may have changed the course of history!
To help celebrate Louisbourg’s 300th anniversary, UINR worked with Albert to develop a script so more people could hear the story. Membertou artist Dozay Christmas did a series of illustrations to illustrate the tale and videographer Madeleine Yakimchuk assembled the elements to create videos in Mi’kmaq, French and English. The story is told by Elder Albert Marshall, Anthony Morris and Monique Cantin, accompanied by drumming and chanting by Sons of Membertou.
It’s a great story with lots of twists and turns. It’s guaranteed to make you wonder…what if…