Culture ~ Language

The Mi’kmaq language is a member of the Algonquin family of languages. Of 30,000 Mi’kmaq, there are an estimated 8,100 who consider themselves speakers of the language. From the 1920s to the 1960s, many young Mi’kmaq were sent to residential schools where they were forbidden to speak Mi’Kmaq and lost familiarity with speaking the language. To preserve the Mi’kmaq language here on Lennox Island, it is taught during children’s first six years of schooling and in Grade 7 and 8 in Hernewood Intermediate School.

Over time, the Mi’kmaq language has evolved from the hieroglyphic form to one that uses the modern alphabet system. Many orthographic writing systems have been used in the Mi’kmaq language. The text you’ll see on our interpretative panels along The Nature Trail is the Pacifique Orthography. This was named after a French Capuchin missionary, Father Pacifique de Valigny, who came to work with the Mi’kmaq in 1919. While here he also composed the Mi’kmaq Flag Song, which remains one of the most widely sung anthems of our culture.