Since time immemorial, the Mi’kmaq have used and occupied their traditional territory known as Mi’kma’ki which includes Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and parts of Quebec, Newfoundland and the northeastern part of Maine. Mi’kmaq Paleo-Indian sites in Nova Scotia provide archaeological evidence of Mi’kmaq occupation for over 10,500 years. Today, the Mi’kmaq continue to use and occupy Mi’kma’ki and share a deep and profound relationship with their traditional lands. In Mi’kmaq cultural tradition, the Mi’kmaq utilize Netukulimk – a Mi’kmawey concept which includes the use of the natural bounty provided by the Creator for the self-support and well-being of the individual and the community at large. Netukulimk also encompasses ecological beliefs through the interplay of collective and individual responsibilities of the Mi’kmaq to the natural world. Such relationships with the land are holistic in nature and consider many aspects of the natural and spiritual world. These include, but are not limited to, land/marine resource use, management, conservation and Mi’kmaq spiritual beliefs. Throughout history and today, Mi’kmaq subsistence and spiritual practices encompass the natural world in a manner that is, at times, distinct from understandings inherent in western society. The Mi’kmaq do not perceive the natural and spiritual world as separate and distinct spheres.
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