Deborah is from the small New Brunwick Mi’kmaq community of Pabineau First Nation. Our summer vacation is all about returning home for her, introducing me to her Granny and the rest of her family, as well as enjoying the wonders of her homeland.
The drive from Quebec was beautiful. Especially along the Restigouche River, into New Brunswick and along the pristene Bay of Chalour. I see the landscape very much how I view Anishinaabe territory – from the eyes of our ancestors, Gchi-Anishinaabeg. The Spirt of the land speaks in a wholistic language – foreboding but inviting, vast but nurturing, hostile but Loving. The land and the waters are beautiful here and provide everything that is needed, then some. For the Mi’kmaq, nothing is more important and valued than their territory and each other.
We crossed over into New Brunswick via the Listuguj First Nation, the largest of all Mi’kmaq communities. From there, be visited the Eel River Bar First Nation, where we had dinner at their impressive highway truckstop. Just across from Eel River is where we checked to stay for the week. Both First Nations are proud, entrepreneurial centres. Most Mi’kmaq have to rely on their own economies, and their own hands for survival.
Although we haven’t quite made it to Pabineau, last night we were joined at our Cottage Resort by many of Deb’s family. It was a joyeous homecoming started by many hugs from uncles and cousins. The Girls were reunited with their cousins, giggling and playing until late in the evening.
It was nice to see Deb and Scott reunite with uncles Fisher, Terry, cousins David, Kayla and Sandy, nephew Dallas and his mom Ann, and a couple of spouses and friends in the mix.
Today, we’re going out clam digging and are going to have a clam bake at historic Heron Island.
I’ll also finally get to meet Deborah’s ‘Nana’ as we break her out of her Elder’s home for some day adventures. Complicating things for us is that she somehow thinks we’re taking her for the week at the cottage and likely has had her bags packed for days. We’ll have to let her down gently that there’s no room at the inn.