Extra Research for Season 6 – Episode 1 – Lullaby
Metepenagiag Heritage Park
Located on seated territory of the Mi’kmaq Nation in New Brunswick, Metepenagiag Heritage Park is known as the village of 30 centuries, highlighting a history that stretches back more than 3000 years. It’s also home to two national historical sites discovered by Elder Joe Augustine in the 1970s while trying to ensure the land could not be disturbed by developers. The park now features an interpretive centre, 1800 meters of walking trails and hundreds of archeological finds that highlight the exceptional and enduring expression of Mi’kmaw spirituality, rituals and culture.
The Augustine Mound
Estimated to be about 2500 years old, The Augustine Mound can be found on the north side of the Little Southwest Miramichi River across from the present Mi’kmaq community. It includes a circular ritual site surrounding a slightly elevated burial mound near the junction of the Northwest and Little Southwest Miramichi Rivers. Discovered in 1972 and only partially excavated in 1975, the site contains both human remains, stone and copper artifacts, fabrics, ceramics, animal bone and traces of plant materials, that contribute to and verify the long oral histories shared over generations by the Mi’kmaw people. As it continues to be a significant ceremonial site for the communities that live nearby, further excavations have not taken place.
At least nine to 13 individuals were buried at the mound, which appears to be a secondary burial site, meaning they were not buried at the bound immediately following death. This follows some traditional practices of moving ancestors when moving settlements. There is evidence that the individuals were buried ceremonially, and men, women, children and one infant were interred at the Augustine Mound.
The Oxbow Site
Found less than 1 kilometre away from the Augustine Mound, and discovered at roughly the same time, Oxbow is known as a deeply stratified Maritime Woodland period village site. Recognized as one of New Brunswick’s most valuable archaeological discoveries, a wide range of artifacts were discovered on what would have been the floor of dwellings, helping archaeologists develop a chronological framework for the region’s Early, Middle and Late Maritime Woodland period. Most importantly, however, the site is both a witness and record of 3000 years of continuous Mi’kmaq life in the area.
– Jane Caulfield