Kejimkujik Petroglyphs Fading Fast

A serpent shaped petroglyph from Kejimkujik

We had the good fortune of being invited to White Point for the summer solstice to watch a sunrise ceremony and learn about Kejimkujik Petroglyphs.

This is an important time in many cultures, including Mi’kmaq.  To celebrate the beginning of summer, Elder Todd Labrador led us in a sunrise ceremony at the beach, that included a smudging and the Honour Song (see clips in the video below).

There were a variety of other cultural activities taking place at the resort that weekend.  Unfortunately, we had missed the previous night’s drum circle, but I was looking forward to the morning’s discussion on the Kejimkujik petroglyphs.

Out on Kejimkujik Lake with Whynot Adventures

I had been to Kejimkujik Park for the first time earlier in the month. Keji has been and continues to be an important place for the Mi’kmaq people, in part because it was a traditional trade route but also because it is the home of many petroglyphs.

A serpent shaped petroglyph - Kejimkujik Petroglyphs

Protecting Kejimkujik Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs are significant images carved into stone.  Visitors to Keji no longer have open access to them.  This is partly to protect them, and partly because many of them are underwater.  There are 500 images at Keji, but many of them are fading due to erosion and human impact.

First contact with Europeans kejimkujik petroglyphs

Kathy Leblanc was the Parks Canada interpreter who led the discussion.  I think the original intent was for this to be a presentation, but Kathy opened the talk up to the floor.  Elder Todd Lbrador and his son Matthew both shared their experiences as caretakers for the petroglyphs, and many others in the crowd shared what Keji means to them.  Bernie Francis, Mi’kmaq linguist and co-author of The Language of This Land, Mi’kma’ki, also contributed to a spirited discussion on the Mi’kmaq language and the history of the petroglyphs.

Silicone cast of a petroglyph from Kejimkujik

You may not be able to see the original petroglyphs, but several methods have been developed to cast them in silicone and in copper, and these casts are available for visitors to see.  It is estimated that in 50 years, the original Kejimkujik petroglyphs will have completely faded.

You can see the casts up close by going on one of the daily tours at Kejimkujik National Park this summer. With the new oTENTik options and Learn to Camp programming, it is a great time to pay a visit to this culturally and historically significant site.

You can read more about our visit to the new White Point Beach Resort HERE.

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The Local Traveler

Two travellers' tales of finding adventure on the East Coast. This blog is dedicated to the best parts of travel, and to discovering, celebrating and promoting things to do in our corner of the world, and sometimes beyond. We especially love craft beer, day trips, romantic escapes, local food & hidden gems. Join our community on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and share tips and photos of your favourite East Coast adventures.

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