Mi’kmaq culture and tradition plays an important role in Sipekne’katik First Nation. Mi’kmaq people have been living on Turtle Island for over 11,000 years, and as such have influenced Canadian, and specifically Atlantic Canadian culture in many profound ways. Mi’kmaq oral traditions share versions of the creation story that speak of Glooscap, a hero and caretaker of Mi’kmaq people who was said to have created by the Great Spirit. Stories tell of Glooscap as the one responsible for creating the unique geography of Nova Scotia that we see today such the Annapolis valley and the Five Islands in the Bay of Fundy.
Sipekne’katik First Nation belongs to the wider Mi’kmaq nation known as Mi’kma’ki that stretches from the Canadian Maritimes to the Gaspe Peninsula in Quebec. Today there are Mi’kmaq people that also live in Newfoundland and in Maine, USA. There is a total population of about 40,000 Mi’kmaq people that live nationwide.
Historically members of the Mi’kmaq nation referred to themselves as L’nu, and to other people as Nikmaq, meaning my kin, as a form of greeting. Speaking Mi’kmaq language is of great importance to continuing our culture and way of life. Sipekne’katik changed the name of the community from the given settler name ‘Indian Brook’ to the traditional name Sipekne’katik in late 2013, which means “where the wild potatoes grow” (Chief Rufus Copage, 2014).
Sipekne’katik was officially founded in 1820 as a parcel of land established as a reserve and was given the name ‘Indian Brook’. Mi’kmaq oral history reports that this area may have been used for century’s prior as a sacred site to prepare for ceremonies and to prepare for hunting and fishing trips.