Mount Allison University gifts 250 Mi'kmaq artifacts to the Membertou Heritage Park
MEMBERTOU FIRST NATION, N.S. -- There was music, prayer, and a special ceremony for 250 Mi'kmaq artifacts dating back to the 18th century that were gifted to the Membertou Heritage Park Monday.
“We have everything from stones, to axes, to hammers, but also tools, arrowheads, mini arrowheads, we have some old items that are very special to people,” said Jeff Ward, the general manager at the Membertou Heritage Park.
The artifacts have been held at Mount Allison University for several decades. However, the facility recently decided they would like to return them to the Mi'kmaq.
“They were donated to us back in 1958 by an alumni,” said Anne Comfort, the vice-president, International and Student Affairs at Mount Allison University.
It is believed the artifacts came from Nova Scotia, specifically somewhere in Cape Breton.
Comfort says it's important all universities return indigenous artifacts to where they belong.
“I think we've taken so much from Indigenous people across Canada and I think when we realize we have items that are sacred to them, that are part of their history and culture, I think we need to return them to heritage sites like the one in Membertou,” she said.
Ward says there are more pieces of history on their way, but wouldn't say from where.
He says Monday's ceremony is a true example of reconciliation.
“When we talk about reconciliation, there's real action. The real action of making things happen and before we can have reconciliation, we must know the truth and here we have artifacts that are the truth,” he said.