Community & Culture

Photo of a Wi'kuom, a traditional style Mi’kmaw dwelling, constructed by a local Eskasoni resident, Mr. Darrell Morris.

With a population base of close to seven hundred (700) people living in the small village of Wagmatcook First Nation, the community straddles the Bras D’or Lakes and is one of five (5) Mi’kmaw First Nation communities of Unama’ki (Cape Breton Island, N.S.). Newly elected in the summer of 2010 is Chief Norman Bernard and he currently has a six (6) person Council that work together to address the needs of the community. There is approximately 210 full and part time staff in the community throughout the calendar year (including summer students) that work together for the benefit of the community.


The majority of the population that is over thirty (30) years of age still speak the Mi’kmaw language fluently but with the younger population it is proving to be tougher and tougher to hold onto. The Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre plays a pivotal role, along with the Wagmatcook School, as well as the parents of these youth to maintain the importance of the language and history of the Mi’kmaw people.

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It's been a very busy but very rewarding month since taking over the role of Culture and Tourism Operations Manager for Wagmatcook First Nation. What a great time to start just in time for Mikmaw History Month!

We have hosted an Elder's Gathering, been part of a national Aboriginal tourism video, organized our 6th Annual Aboriginal Arts and Culture Festival, where we planned and delivered multiple cultural workshops for hundreds of people visiting us both locally and from around the world as part of the Celtic Colours International Music Festival.

We have also just completed a six-month project on the Peter Frank Bernard Aboriginal music project that we debuted at Art Festival and closing ceremonies. I can honestly say that we truly put on a wonderful show for all of the 200 + audience that showed up that evening.

As well we have been working with the community to get more info on our programs and future activities through the ongoing work with our Community based Culture and Tourism Advisory Committee... this has been very important for us to help guide us in our future planning.

With the support of Chief Norman & Wagmatcook Council we have some upgrades to the Wagmatcook Culture and Heritage Center (2 new 14 ft video screens & projectors) and of course working on our updated Culture and Tourism Strategic Plan... So many people to thank and so many hours of extra work that our wonderful staff have put in... all of us working together for the benefit of cultural and tourism growth in this community...

In a couple of weeks we will be hosting the CEPI sustainability conference with the amazing Dr Suzuki as the headliner presenter! This should be an amazing event!

We are also focusing on completing our 1 year, 3 year and five year plan and looking at participating in the upcoming Nova Scotia Tourism Industry Association Conference in Halifax and delivering an Aboriginal Workshop on culture and tourism.

After this we are working hard on hosting a familiarization tour where 1-2 bus loads of participants from around the world (visiting us for the 2016 International Aboriginal tourism conference taking place December 12 - 14 in Membertou) will come to our Center and experience Hands-On Aboriginal cultural activities and performances. So excited about this new initiative and Conference!

Lots and lots of work completed and still lots and lots of work and planning still to come but feeling good about all the positive progress we are making! Hoping to see you at one of our events very soon!

Thanking everyone for all of their support and hoping you are all enjoying our activities!

Sincerely yours,
Robert Bernard
Wagmatcook Culture & Tourism
Operations Manager
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1 day ago  ·  

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