The building is modern but the history it showcases is ancient. A walk through Metepenagiag Heritage Park takes you back “30 centuries” to the time when the Mi’kmaq lived in a thriving fishing community. Take a self-guided tour or join a Mi’kmaw guide who will take you around the park, tell you about the archeological finds of villages and cemeteries and answer your questions about the recent and not so recent history of the Mi’kmaq.
“We are in one of New Brunswick’s oldest continuously inhabited communities,” says Patricia Dunnett, general manager of Metepenagiag Heritage Park. “It dates back almost 3,000 years. We are an ancient Mi’kmaw community.” Visitors from around the world come to stay in a teepee on the powwow grounds, sit around the fire to hear elders tell stories, or go inside to wander through interactive displays, images and videos about archeological finds.
“We have a lot of people who are specifically trying to find out about First Nations,” says Dunnett. When they do, many experience a connection to the Mi’kmaq. “A lot of the visitors that I talk to about our culture like to find a similarity to their own culture,’” says Dunnett. Sometimes those connections can be quite emotional. “I’ve made people cry, in a really good way. They’re very touched in their spirit and they are overcome with emotion. They just fall in love with this place.”