The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre will be a meaningful and dynamic centre for Mi’kmaw people, and for visitors from across Nova Scotia, Canada and the world. Currently in the planning stages, the Centre will be built in Debert, Nova Scotia—a place where our ancestors lived more than 11,000 years ago, and a place where they still dwell today. The future cultural centre is dedicated to sharing, protecting and exploring the stories and lives of our earliest ancestors and those who have come after them in Mi’kma’ki.
Connecting with Our Past Mawitaik ta’n tett wejitaik
Picture an ice-age landscape with mastodons, caribou, and giant beavers wandering over the tundra that covered Mi’kma’ki more than 11,000 years ago. Imagine communities of people who lived at the base of the Cobequid Mountains for as long as a thousand years. This begins the story of the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre.
Located in Debert, Nova Scotia, the Centre will be a world-class experiential facility that will enrich the lives of visitors and foster a greater awareness of our communities.
When the Centre is complete, visitors will be invited into a dynamic cultural landscape that is alive with Mi’kmaw worldviews. It will be a place for understanding, healing, and reconciliation for Mi’kma’ki and beyond.
Experience a Journey Wji-kinu’tmasi wula elien
When visitors arrive at the Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre they will choose from an array of journeys – some fun and entertaining, others more serious, exploratory and contemplative. Stories and experiences in the galleries will encourage interaction among visitors. There will also be a number of demonstration and teaching areas for students of all ages that will meet a wide range of educational needs.
Rich experiential programs will allow visitors to explore the history and culture of Mi’kmaw people. Using the power of storytelling and modern technologies, the Centre will transport visitors back in time, immersing them in the lives of our earliest ancestors—through time to the present. Healing opportunities will support and strengthen individual and community journeys of reconciliation.
Ancestors Live Here Sa’qewe’ki’k kikmanaqi’k wikultisni’k tett
The archaeological sites at Debert continue to reveal new evidence of people living in what was an ice-age landscape. They are the oldest, directly-dated archaeological sites in Canada, and are among the largest and best-preserved sites of this age in North America. For more than a decade, the Mi’kmaw Nation has taken the lead in protecting this ancestral place.
Planning for the Centre Elmi’knikewey etli-mawita’mk
Developing the Centre involves intentional and comprehensive planning for the future–inspired by love for our people and respect for our past.
With a mandate from the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs, and under the guidance of the MDCC Elders’ Advisory Council, The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq is working on behalf of all 13 Mi’kmaw communities to lay the foundation for a realistic and sustainable operation. The Centre will have significant direct economic impacts for Nova Scotia and the Mi’kmaw Nation.
With an eye to the future, the project is embarking on a campaign to support its unique collections and programs.
Mi’kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail
The 4.4 km trail is available to the public year-round and takes about 75 minutes to hike. The trail abounds with wild flowers, tall trees and running streams, and travels through moderate terrain and diverse forest cover. The interpretative panels, featuring the artwork of Dozay Christmas, share the ever-growing story of the ancestral Debert sites.
The trail’s rugged terrain does not accommodate wheeled vehicles. It is located fifteen minutes from Truro, just off Exit 13 on the Trans Canada Highway 104. Parking is available and temporary facilities accommodate visitors from May to October.
Join Us and Explore Mi’kma’ki at Your Pace
The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Centre has launched a new website to share stories from Mi’kma’ki as well as the plans for the future Centre. The site contains more than 50 pages of multimedia content including videos, slideshows, discussion pages, teaching resources, and even an online quiz to test your knowledge of Mi’kmaw history and culture. “From the natural sounds of Mi’kma’ki and the spoken Mi’kmaw on the very first page, we want you to feel like you have stepped into our culture,” says Tim Bernard, Director of History and Culture at the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq.
Across the site, the Elders from the Mi’kmawey Debert Elders’ Advisory Council share the stories of their lives and their perspectives of the project. The Ancestors Live Here Sa’qewe’ki’k Kikmanaqi’k Wikultisni’k Tett pages, which include a series of videos from across Mi’kma’ki by cultural educator Gerald Gloade, is among the most sought after content on the site. The website also links to the CBC Land and Sea documentary, The Mi’kmaq Journey, which captures one of MDCC’s trips to Washington DC to visit one of the best Mi’kmaw collections in the world. The site also serves Shubenacadie Indian Residential School survivors and descendants through dedicated content and discussion pages.