Mala cover Visiting Malikewe’j (Malagawatch) for the first time, people often describe a sense of peace and well-being that comes over them as they enter the Mi’kmaq community on the shores of the Bras d’Or Lakes.

Mala, as it is affectionately known to the Cape Breton Mi’kmaq who share it, is off the beaten track, and its serenity is only broken by the call of the eagles who share it with the handful of residents. It is unique in that it is shared jointly by the five bands in Unama’ki (Cape Breton), and has been used by the Mi’kmaq people as a gathering place and burial grounds for generations.

This week, at the community’s annual outdoor mass, the residents celebrated the publication of a new booklet on the history and people of Malikewe’j. Malikewe’j: Understanding the Mi’kmaq Way, written by Nadine Lefort with Charlie Dennis,tells the story of Malikewe’j through photos, illustrations, and stories from long-time Mala residents.

“It discusses the special cultural and spiritual relationships Mi’kmaq people have with Malikewe’j and looks at Mi’kmaq Grand Council’s traditional role in resource management, with lessons on how to re-establish the “Mi’kmaq Way” as the community caretakers.” says Nadine.

“A project of MELC-Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Centre and Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, funding and support was provided by Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Parks Canada/Parcs Canada and UINR–Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources.

You can download a free copy here: Malikewe’j: Understanding the Mi’kmaq Way