French and Mi’kmaw names announced for new campground in Cape Breton Highlands National Park

News release

Parks Canada and partners work together to honour historic connections to this special place

May 12, 2022                                   Chéticamp, NS                       Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada is responsible for protecting nationally significant examples of natural and cultural heritage and sharing the stories of these treasured places.

Today, Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria, and Mike Kelloway, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso, on behalf of the Honorable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, along with representatives from La Société Saint-Pierre and the Parks Canada-Unama’ki  Advisory Committee, unveiled the name of a new campground in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Planned for opening in July 2022, Terrain de Camping Cap-Rouge / Mkwesaqtuk Campground will be the first French and Mi’kmaw facility name in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

As construction of the new campground nears completion, Parks Canada has worked in partnership with members of La Société Saint-Pierre and the Parks Canada-Unama’ki Advisory Committee to select a name that will encourage Canadians to learn about the full scope of our shared history. The name Terrain de Camping Cap-Rouge / Mkwesaqtuk Campground honours Indigenous connections to this region and commemorates the Acadian peoples who were expropriated for the creation of the national park in 1936.

Cap-Rouge / Mkwesaqtuk Campground will offer visitors a unique opportunity to connect with nature and with Acadian and Mi’kmaq cultural heritage. Mkwesaqtuk is a Mi’kmaq word that describes a place or feature that distinctly changes to red. This Mi’kmaq expression would have been used to describe the coastal area that Acadians later called Cap-Rouge, on the western side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The French and Mi’kmaw names capture the intent and spirit of Etuaptamumk, also known as the Two-Eyed Seeing approach, which combines Mi'kmaq and Western perspectives. This name demonstrates Parks Canada’s commitment to incorporating Etuaptamumk into its cultural heritage and conservation initiatives and projects in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The collaborative naming process honours the history of the location, and offers opportunities for celebrating Mi’kmaq and Acadian cultural and linguistic connections.  

Reservations for Terrain de Camping Cap-Rouge / Mkwesaqtuk Campground will launch today, May 12, 2022 on the Parks Canada Reservation Service for bookings beginning July 1, 2022. As the country’s largest tourism provider, Parks Canada is committed to providing exceptional and meaningful experiences at iconic destinations like Cape Breton Highlands National Park. 

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Additional multimedia

Parks Canada and partners gather to unveil the name of new campground in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. In this photo, from left to right: Kelly Deveaux, A/Superintendent, Cape Breton Highlands National Park; Blair Pardy, Field Unit Superintendent, Parks Canada’s Cape Breton Field Unit; Chief Wilbert Marshall, Lead, Culture, Heritage & Archaeology Portfolios for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs; Quentin Doucette, Parks Canada-Unama’ki Advisory Committee; Napoléon Chiasson, Président, La Société Saint-Pierre; and Lisette Bourgeois, Directrice générale, La Société Saint-Pierre. Credit: Parks Canada

Quotes

“The Government of Canada is taking important steps toward reconciliation and commemoration and is committed to ensuring that Canadians have opportunities to learn about the full scope of our shared history. Working in partnership with Parks Canada, the Parks Canada-Unama’ki Advisory Committee and La Société Saint-Pierre provided significant contribution in the naming of Le Terrain de Camping Cap-Rouge/Mkwesaqtuk Campground in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. This name symbolizes a strong sense of shared pride achieved among partners, and we greatly appreciate the guidance, advice and stewardship of both Acadian and Indigenous communities in the development of this name.” 

Jaime Battiste
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney-Victoria 

“The Government of Canada is honoured to have worked collaboratively with the Parks Canada-Unama’ki Advisory Committee and La Société Saint-Pierre to select the name of Cape Breton Highland National Park’s newest visitor offer – Le terrain de camping Cap-Rouge/Mkwesaqtuk Campground. The name is representative of the past, present and future of this national park, and a testament to the efforts and results of collaboration. Upon opening, Cap-Rouge/Mkwesaqtuk Campground will offer visitors an opportunity to learn about Acadian and Indigenous cultures and heritage, while offering a valuable addition to the Cape Breton Island tourism recovery this season.”

Mike Kelloway
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-Canso

“The Mi’kmaq are the first people of this land, and have been here, in present-day Nova Scotia, since time immemorial. We are proud of our history and culture and we want to share it. I want to thank and acknowledge the efforts of the Mi’kmaq-Parks Advisory Committee for working on the collaborative name for Cap-Rouge/Mkwesaqtuk Campground as it honours our shared history and offers an opportunity to celebrate historic Mi’kmaw cultural and linguistic connections to the lands which we still call home. The naming of this campground also continues to build on efforts started with our Treaties of Peace and Friendship.”

Chief Wilbert Marshall
Lead, Culture, Heritage & Archaeology Portfolios for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs 

“The expropriation of Acadian families from the area of Cape Breton Highlands National Park shaped the lives of many families and descendants who are still living in the Chéticamp area. The expropriation experience is a painful part of our shared history though it is only one story. The partnership with Parks Canada is an important step toward healing and an opportunity to tell a larger Acadian story through the creation of this new campground. The French/Mi’kmaw name of the new terrain de camping Cap-Rouge/Mkwesaqtuk campground is a testament to our enduring relationship to the area while the campground itself is a celebration of our Acadian heritage and culture.”

Napoléon Chiasson
Président, La Société Saint-Pierre

Quick facts

  • Cape Breton Highlands National Park is a gateway to adventure in northern Cape Breton Island. Visitors can enjoy hiking, cycling, swimming, ocean kayaking in sheltered bays, picnics in quants coves, and experience the friendly local culture in the fishing villages that dot the park’s edges. There’s lots to discover and Parks Canada is looking forward to welcoming visitors from across Canada and abroad this 2022 season. 

  • Cap Rouge/ Mkwesaqtuk Campground will offer coastal camping with treed nooks to create a feeling of remoteness and privacy, with the convenience of front-country camping.

  • Beginning May 12, 2022, Parks Canada will be accepting reservations for 47 walk-in sites, including 5 oTENTiks. 

  • In August 2015, flash flooding triggered breaches in the Chéticamp River watershed, causing significant damage to the Chéticamp campground. After a hydrology study to examine the risk of future flood events, it was decided that the lower Chéticamp campground be closed and the site relocated. The Trout Brook (Ruisseau des Maurice) day-use area was then selected as the location for a new campground. 

  • La Société St-Pierre is a local organization with the mandate to promote and preserve Acadian culture and language in the Chéticamp area. They are celebrating their 75th anniversary in 2022.

Associated links

Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary     
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency
855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca

Brenna Ward
A/Public Relations and Communications Officer
Parks Canada
250-299-3957
Brenna.ward@pc.gc.ca

Crystal Dorey
Communications Director
Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn
902-843-3880
cdorey@mikmaqrights.com

Lisette Aucoin-Bourgeois
Executive Director
La Société Saint-Pierre
902-224-0234
lisettebourgeois@gmail.com

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