Mi'kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study
Data collection in support of the Environmental Assessment for the Original Alignment included commissioning Membertou Geomatics Solutions (MGS) to conduct a Mi'kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study (MEKS) regarding Mi'kmaq traditional use activities that have taken place or currently are taking place in the vicinity of the Project. The MEKS was completed in March 2012 as an update to an earlier MEKS that had been prepared in 2007.
The 2012 MEKS contains:
- An overview of historic and current Mi'kmaq land and resource use in the vicinity of the Project;
- An inventory of plants of traditional significance to the Mi'kmaq in the vicinity of the Project;
- Analysis of potential effects of the Project on Mi'kmaq land and resource use; and
- Recommendations for further action or mitigation.
The two main components of the MEKS are:
- A study of past and present Mi'kmaq traditional land and resource use activities (using interviews as the key source of information)
- A Mi'kmaq species significance analysis considering resources that are important to Mi'kmaq use
MEKS information was collected through a combination of literature review and archival research, interviews, and field sampling. For the literature review and archival research, various documents were reviewed for information regarding the past or present Mi'kmaq occupation of the MEKS Study Area, including census records, colonial government records, and published books.
Interviews were the key source of information regarding Mi'kmaq use of the MEKS Project Site and MEKS Study Area. Fifteen interviews were undertaken with individuals from the Mi'kmaq communities of Millbrook and Indian Brook in November and December 2011. All of these interviews were completed in accordance with the Mi'kmaq Ecological Knowledge Protocol (Assembly 2007), which describes the process, procedures and results that are expected of an MEKS. Interviewees were shown maps of the MEKS Study Area and asked various questions regarding their Mi'kmaq traditional use activities, including where and when they undertook those activities and what type of resource they used.
MGS staff members were accompanied by a Mi'kmaq Ecological Knowledge holder from the Waycobah First Nation community while undertaking site visits over three days in October 2011 along the MEKS Project Site (i.e., Original Alignment). This provided the opportunity for further identification of traditional use activities occurring within the MEKS Project Site and MEKS Study Area.
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