Nationhood Gathering

Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq continue work towards self-determination

The identity of the Mi’kmaq as a Nation is grounded in family roots and connections that have prevailed through time. It is through these roots and connections that the Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations are working together to help determine the vision for L’nuey’s rights-based work for current and future generations of the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq (Mi’kmaq of PEI).

The Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq came together for the third-ever Nationhood Gathering in February to discuss visions for the future and chart a new course towards self-governance, and ultimately self-determination.

“Our aspiration is to co-exist in harmony as Treaty People in a way that allows us to maintain our distinct cultural identity and pursue the benefits of rights that belong to us,” said Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation. “Our self-governance is inherent and comes from within our communities when we unite and share our vision for the future.”

The first Nationhood Gathering was held in 2019 and served as the launch of L’nuey and provided the first opportunity for PEI Mi’kmaq to gather and engage in discussions on the protection and implementation of Mi’kmaq Rights and what the future should look like for the Mi’kmaq Nation in PEI. The event was very positively received and feedback from participants included requests to have the event annually.

Similar to the previous Gatherings, the third Nationhood Gathering included a visioning session that featured facilitated table discussions to gather insight and guidance from community members regarding the vision for the future of the Mi’kmaq Epekwitnewaq (Mi’kmaq Nation of Epekwitk). Presentations were organized to support thinking and discussions on the implementation of constitutionally protected Mi’kmaq rights, including self-government and self-determination, and what that could mean for the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq.

In addition to Nationhood Visioning, there was a discussion about reconciling Mi’kmaq Rights for the future in Epekwitk (PEI)—how the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq can go forward with resolving outstanding Mi’kmaq rights issues with the rest of the Island.