Bear River First Nation is a Míkmaq band government located in both Annapolis County and Digby County, Nova Scotia.
As of 2012, the Mi’kmaq population is 103 on-Reserve, and approximately 211 off-Reserve.
Bear River First Nation lies adjacent to the village of Bear River, Nova Scotia. Its Saint Anne’s Church was completed in 1836, and it has a school teaching the Mi’kmaq language to children attending, and a health centre established in 1998. The Bear River Mi’kmaq Heritage and Cultural Centre opened in 2004 and is the largest building in the community.
Archaeological evidence suggests the community has existed in the area for 2,000 to 4,000 years. The people of Bear River are the Indigenous community whose ancestors welcome Samuel de Champlain and others who settled at Port-Royal in 1605. The area around Port-Royal was the traditional summering site of Membertou’s people.
The community were known as canoe builders who used their craft for fishing and hunting porpoise, in the Annapolis Basin and Bay of Fundy. Oil rendered from the porpoise was sold as a machine lubricant into the early part of the twentieth century.
The Bear River Mi’kmaq Heritage and Cultural Centre opened in October 2004 and is the largest building in the community. The entrance of the building resembles a traditional Mi’kmaq wigwam and contains a heritage gallery; with photos and write ups of Bear River’s Elders and past Chiefs. The first birch bark canoe to be built in Bear River in seven generations using traditional methods is on display inside.