Mi’kmaw Language

Language of this land image

 The Language of This Land, Mi’kma’ki by Bernie Francis and Trudy Sable “is an exploration of Mi’kmaw world view as expressed in language, legends, song and dance.”

Language Description

The Mi’kmaw language is a verb-oriented language. Words have no gender attached to them, but there is a broad distinction between animate and inanimate. Different dialects of the Mi’kmaw language are found in Cape Breton, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, and on the Nova Scotia mainland. It is spoken by about 7,500 people, but its use is currently in decline.

How can you support Mi’kmaw language revitalization?

Curtis Michael from Indian Brook teaches the Mi’kmaw language at the community high school. He sells Language Cards (3 volumes).

The Mi’kmawey Debert Cultural Center publishes teaching materials aimed, in part, at increasing the use of the Mi’kmaw language in schools across Nova Scotia. They are currently seeking financial support for these and other projects. Find out more.

Or pass the language on in your own family. Here are some Language learning resources:


Aunt Elsie

ElsieElsie and Children copyElsie

Here’s a tribute to her from Mi’kmaq Elder Daniel Paul: Elsie Basque: Mi’kmaq “pioneer”

Uncle Wilfred C. Basque

Uncle Wilfred C. Basque

Sma’knis Wilfred C. Basque, Member of the Mi’kmaq Sante Mawi’omi, The Grand Council of the Mi’kmaq Nation and 1st cousin of my Grandfather.

Here’s a tribute written by one of his mentees that includes a poem from him: http://www.lonetrail.ca/blogs/news/tagged/mi-kmaq-warrior

Here’s a timeless piece written by him to explain the significance and spirit of the Mi’kmaq Treaties and Concordat with the Europeans: