Charlottetown History - Native Indians



According to Mi'kmaq mythology, the Great Spirit shaped a piece of clay, as red as the skin of the Mi'kmaq people, into a crescent and lay this "Minagoo" in the singing waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. They called the island "Abegweit," which means Land Cradled in the Waves. The Mi'kmaq (their name used be anglicized "Micmac"), the easternmost tribe of the Algonquin family, most often came to the Island during the summer season to camp and fish.

Early French writers such as Champlain and Lescarbot referred to the Aboriginals they encountered as "Souriquois." In 1693, they were given the name "Mi'kmaq" or allies, but they referred to themselves as "Epegoitnag." The Mi'kmaq were a resilient people, allying themselves with the French during the various wars between Britain and France. The Mi'kmaq people also express their faith through the Roman Catholic Church. On June 24, 1610, Grand Chief Membertu and twenty of his braves were baptized in Port Royal (in modern-day Nova Scotia). Today, this monumental event is celebrated and renewed on the day of the patron Saint of the Mi'kmaq, St. Anne's Sunday, which is marked by pageants, games, music, and dance.

Today, the Prince Edward Island Mi'kmaq community is host to an important annual event for Aboriginal peoples throughout Atlantic Canada and the northeastern United States. Over the third weekend in August, the Panmure Island cultural grounds hosts a three-day powwow filled with storytelling, song, dance, and drumming.

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