Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2 - Prelude

Each summer I visit my home town of New Glasgow in Nova Scotia. My entire family still lives in the area and I love this time each year. As I look back, the story starts here with my father. He grew up in a community called Pictou Landing. This community is home to a Mi'kmaq reservation. It is a small community, and like most areas in rural Nova Scotia, people that live in these places know each other very well.

 I have a lot of memories of this community from my own childhood. We spent most Sundays with family at "the landing" as we like to call it. My Dad took us to Lighthouse beach in the summer, which is on the reservation. It was a nice sandy beach where I was always sure to find sand dollars and it had a beautiful white lighthouse that has since, sadly, burned down. I can remember women from the reservation visiting my grandmother as a child and coming to my grandfather's funeral many years later. Once, as a child, I remember my grandmother speaking of a lady named Mary Christmas who at one time lived there. I don't remember what she said about her, because I was only 5 or 6 years old, but in my mind, she had the coolest name ever. The memories I have and the stories that are told in my house about this place are always told with a smile.

One rainy day last summer, we decided to take a trip to Truro, Nova Scotia and my father thought it would be nice if we took my kids to see the beautiful Glooscap Heritage Center that is located just outside Truro. It is run by the Millbrook Reserve. You can't miss it on the highway because there is a very large statue of Glooscap, a Mi'kmaq God, outside.

This is a beautiful center and a great exhibit of the history and culture of the Mi'kmaq nation in Nova Scotia. We toured the facility, my children made some crafts, and we had a great time. The people were friendly and as we walked through the facility, my father was pointing out people he knew in some of the exhibits. There is an inside joke in my family about my Dad. Everywhere we go he knows someone. It never fails. This time the people he knew were staring back from the walls of the museum. I don't think the young tour guide showing us the facility actually believed him. It was a great day, and little did I know that later that evening, I would find out I had been touring my own history all the while.

For anyone who is interested, please check out the website for the heritage center.

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