Guided Cultural Programs - Discovering Mi'kmaw Culture, Traditions and Language


There is a great story in the woodlands, lakes, rivers, bogs and barrens of Kejimkujik. It is a story 4,000 years in the making. It is equal parts history and legend, and it's here for you to hear it, to see it and to feel it.


Begin your journey with a guided tour of some of the park’s 500-plus petroglyphs. Found along the lakeshores of Kejimkujik, these fascinating stone-carved stories are one of North America’s largest such collections and have been vital clues for reconstructing regional history. Carvings of porpoise hunts from sail-rigged canoes and clothing and adornments from centuries past—including the iconic peaked hats worn by women—even at times bear their creators’ signatures, some of the only remaining evidence of the ancient Mi’kmaw’s written history.

Continue your cultural exploration at Merrymakedge’s carefully recreated traditional Mi’kmaw encampment and experience, first-hand, Kejimkujik’s deep roots.


two people building birch bark canoe

Birch Bark Canoe Building Workshop - Public Demonstrations and Workshops 

The canoe is an iconic symbol of the Mi’kmaw cultural landscape and also of the contemporary experience of Kejimkujik. The Kejimkujik Birch Bark Canoe Project highlights the work of master Mi’kmaw craftsman, Todd Labrador, as he builds traditional birch bark canoes in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.

Meet Todd Labrador
As a seventh-generation Mi'kmaq from the Kejimkujik region, Todd Labrador carefully crafts birch bark canoes with bark, spruce root, and other natural materials that are sustainably harvested in local Acadian Forests. His great-grandfather was a master canoe maker, and Todd taught himself how to build canoes after his own father passed away. Today, Todd Labrador is renowned for his work and is one of the most highly sought after craftsmen for his skills.

Workshop Details

Learn the ancient art of birch bark canoe building with master Mi’kmaw craftsman, Todd Labrador. Relax on the misty shore of Kejimkujik Lake sipping a cup of tea with Todd as shares his story and passion. Then step inside the workshop for a hands-on experience helping Todd in the construction of his latest masterpiece. You’ll be boiling, stripping, and splitting spruce roots or using a draw horse to make wooden pegs for the gunwales of the canoe in no time. Best of all, for your efforts and to end your visit you’ll be treated to a delicious lunch with a healthy serving of traditional stew and Luski.

Dates and times: Sundays, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm
June 9, 16, 23 and 30, July 7, 14
August 4, 11, 18, 25, September 8
Fee: $65/person. Parks Canada entry fees apply.
Ages: 18 and up
Max Capacity: 6 people/workshop
Location: Merrymakedge Beach Canoe-Building Shop
Parking: Merrymakedge P4 – follow signs to the shop
Notes:
Workshops offered rain or shine
Sharp tools will be used during workshops
Reservations: Contact Us

Demonstration Details

Witness the ancient craft of birch bark canoe-building in person with Todd Labrador and his apprentices. Public demonstrations offer a ‘drop-in’ authentic Mi’kmaw cultural experience, complete with beautiful views of Kejimkujik Lake. Visitors and members of the Mi’kmaw community are encouraged to gather around the canoe-building shop at the far end of Merrymakedge Beach, ask questions, tells stories, and share knowledge. Each day offers a different stage of the canoe building process, so come often and spread the word. #kejibbcanoebuildingproject

Dates and times: Thursday – Sunday from 2 to 4 pm
June 6 – July 14, July 25 – September 8 *No drop-in hours from July 18 - 21
Fee: FREE with regular entry fee
Ages: All ages welcome
Location: Merrymakedge Beach, Canoe-Building Shop
Parking: Merrymakedge P4 – follow posted signs to the shop
Notes: Demonstrations are offered rain or shine.
Reservations: Not required.


group with Parks Canada cultural interpreter on petroglyph rocks

Petroglyph Tour

View iconic petroglyphs carved in slate rock and discover four millennia of Mi’kmaw history. Enrich your visit to Kejimkujik with a guided tour of some of the 500-plus petroglyphs that are found on-site. Located along the lakeshores of Kejimkujik, these fascinating stone-carved depictions make up one of North America’s largest collections and have been vital clues for reconstructing regional history. Gaze upon carvings of symbols and figures, sailing ships, and clothing and adornments from centuries ago. Comprising some of the only remaining evidence of the written history of the Mi’kmaq, the petroglyphs are definitely a “must see” part of your Kejimkujik visit.

Availability: Offered daily, July and August (Thursdays are Bilingual) at 10:30 am
Weekends tours in September
Duration: 90-minute program
Fee: Free with entry fee, but you MUST register.
Ages: Not recommended for infants and toddlers.
Group size: There is a strict limit of no more than 20 people/tour
Location: Merrymakedge (P1 parking area)
Notes:
•The petroglyphs are in a restricted area and the tours are the only way visitors can access them.
• Sorry, no pets allowed on tour.
•For safety reasons, the program will be cancelled in rainy weather.
Registration: Contact Us
Cancellations: Please call the Visitor Centre in advance if you are unable to make your tour.


group and Parks Canada cultural interpreter at Mi'kmaw encampment with wigwam

Mi'kmaw Encampment - Wejisqalia’ti’k

Come sip a cup of tea and discover the diversity of meaningful relationships that local Mi’kmaw guides have to this place known as Kejimkujik. In Mi’kmaw, wejisqulia’ti’k translates to, “Tell us that we grew from the earth”. This cultural connection is being kept alive by retelling our stories, sharing our understanding, and expressing our gratitude for this place. What can you learn from this small piece of Mi’kma’ki? Let the guides lead your journey of discovery in this ancient landscape.

Availability: July and August: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 2 pm
Fee: Free with entry fee.
Ages: all ages, family friendly.
Group size: No limit
Duration: 1 hour
Location: Merrymakedge, Mi’kmaw Encampment Site (P2 parking area)
Notes:
• Each of these programs is slightly different, depending on the Mi’kmaw guide.
• Program is offered rain or shine. However, for safety reasons, program will be cancelled in severe weather.
• Pets are permitted if they are quiet, leashed, and under control.
Registration: None required.
For more information: Contact Us


Parks Canada cultural interpreter on dark beach by lantern light

Mi’kmaq Storytelling: A Dark Sky Cultural Experience

Experience Mi’kmaw dark sky lore on a starlit sandy beach with a Parks Canada cultural guide. Awaken your senses under the night sky, complete with goose bumps and gasps. Merrymakedge Beach offers one of the most spectacular views of the Milky Way.

Availability: July: Saturdays at 10 pm; August: Saturdays at 9:30 pm
Fee: Free with entry fee
Ages: all ages, family friendly.
Group size: no limit
Duration: 1 hour program
Location: Merrymakedge Beach
Notes:
• Arrive early to watch the sunset and find a seat on a bench or picnic table.
• Limited seating. Bring a blanket or camp chair.
• ONLY red lights are permitted. As you arrive to the beach, please refrain from using regular flash lights and head lamps as they disrupt night vision.
• Pets are permitted if they are quiet, leashed, and under control.
Registration: none required.
Cancellations: This program is cancelled in rainy or severe weather.


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Artwork: Melissa Labrador

Elapultiek by shalan joudry: An outdoor theatre production

Elapultiek by Fire, written by shalan joudry, is a unique artistic experience about reconciliation, relationships and trust. Presented around the campfire circle, the play focuses on the growing relationship between an indigenous and non-indigenous biologist as they conduct a nightly wildlife count. As their relationship grows, so too do areas of potential conflict, as their differing perspectives on land, resources and history come to the fore. Produced by Ken Schwartz of Two Planks and a Passion Theatre.

Availability: Friday evenings July 5 - September 6*
*July at 9 pm, August at 8:30 pm, September at 8 pm
Fee: $4.90/person. Parks Canada entry fees apply.
Ages: Recommended for children 8+.
Capacity: maximum 80 attendees
Duration: 75 minute play
Location: Jeremy’s Bay Campground – Campfire Circle (P2 parking lot)
Notes:
• For safety reasons, program will be cancelled in severe weather and visitors will be fully refunded.
• Sorry, no pets allowed.
Reservations: Contact Us 
Cancellations: Fully refundable if you cancel 48 hours before the performance start time or if cancelled by Parks Canada staff due to weather.