The Story of the Bear River Mi’kmaw Community

By Darlene A. Ricker  

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L’sitkuk (pronounced elsetkook) is the original name for the Bear River Mi’kmaw community, which is part of the Mi’kmaw First Nation. Nestled close to the Bear River watershed, this tiny native community is regaining its culture, language and identity after hundreds of years of colonialism and assimilation. Living in the area for thousands of years, they were among the first people in Canada to have continuous contact with non-natives.

This book preserves the memory of the elders through oral histories and old photographs, and tells who these people are and how they survived, prospered and sustained one another. The stories of everyday life reflect native values and the strong ideal of interconnectedness in the community.

Darlene A. Ricker listened to the stories and learned about the traditions and culture of the closely knit Mi’kmaw community at Bear River. From her interviews with elders and young people, she has drawn this poignant oral history.

“We have endured slavery, starvation, genocide and wars, but the spirit of our people has survived. We have one battle left to fight – ourselves.”

— L’sitkuk Chief, Frank Meuse Jr.

Roseway Publishing

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  • Introduction
  • Author’s Note
  • When the World Was Young—Pre-Contact History
  • At the Time of Contact—Seventeenth Century
  • The Struggle for Power—Eighteenth Century
  • Changing Times—Nineteenth Century
  • The Story Continues—Twentieth Century
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography


  • Darlene A. Ricker

    Darlene A. Ricker is a freelance writer who contributes to the Micmac and Maliseet Nations News and edits The Bear River Beat, the L’sitkuk community newsletter. She received an Atlantic Writing Competition award for L’sitkuk from the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia.

    She enjoys canoeing and camping through the back country of southwestern Nova Scotia. An employment counsellor at the Annapolis Employment Support Centre, she lives in Bear River with her partner George Chisholm.

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