Bear River First Nation

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Bear River First Nation (Mi'kmaq: L'sɨtkuk[1]) is a Míkmaq First Nations band government located in both Annapolis County and Digby County, Nova Scotia. As of 2012, the Mi'kmaq population is 103 on-Reserve, and approximately 211 off-Reserve.[2]

St. Ann's Church, Bear River FN

Bear River First Nation lies adjacent to the village of Bear River, Nova Scotia. It has a church, Saint Anne's, completed in 1836, and a school which serves toddlers and preschoolers.[3] The Mi'kmaq language is taught to children attending the school.[4] A health centre was established in 1998.[5][6]


Mi'kmaq canoe on the Bay of Fundy. Atlantic Neptune, ca 1770

Archaeological evidence suggests the community has existed in the area for 2,000 to 4,000 years. It lies in the ancient District of Kespukwitk, a part of the Mi'kmaq nation.[7][8] The people of Bear River are the Indigenous community whose ancestors welcomed Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Mons, Samuel de Champlain and others who settled at Port-Royal in 1605.[9] The sakmow, or chief, at that time was Henri Membertou who befriended the French. The area around Port-Royal was the traditional summering site of Membertou's people.[10]

The community were known as canoe builders who used their craft for fishing and hunting porpoise, in the Annapolis Basin and Bay of Fundy. Oil rendered from the porpoise was sold as a machine lubricant into the early part of the twentieth century.[11][12][13]


Each summer the Bear River First Nation Heritage & Cultural Centre offers authentic cultural immersion in the life and traditions of the Mi’kmaq, featuring hands-on craft-making workshops.[14]


The Bear River First Nation is composed of three parts as shown, of which the largest is regularly occupied:[15]

Community Area Location Population Date established
Bear River 6 633.8 hectares (1,566 acres) 17.6 km. southeast of Digby 102 March 3, 1820
Bear River 6A 31.2 hectares (77 acres) 9.6 km. southeast of Annapolis Royal 0 March 3, 1938
Bear River 6B 24.3 hectares (60 acres) 6.4 km. southeast of Annapolis Royal 0 October 1, 1962

See also[edit]


  1. ^ About L'sitkuk (Bear River First Nation)
  2. ^ Bear River First Nation: Population Registered Archived December 22, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Community Profile
  4. ^ Bear River Educational Profile Archived July 6, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Bear River First Nation Health Centre[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Bear River First Nation: Health Centre
  7. ^ Bear River First Nation: Our History
  8. ^ Daniel Paul, We Were Not the Savages, (second edition), 2000. p. 33
  9. ^ Bear River First Nation: The French
  10. ^ John Mack Faragher, A Great and Noble Scheme, Norton, 2005, p. 12
  11. ^ Mi'kmaq Resource Centre (UCCB), Brief History of Muin Sipu (Bear River) and Early Porpoise Hunting Archived February 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Bear River First Nation: The Porpoise Hunt
  13. ^ * A film by Alexander Leighton about a porpoise hunt and rendering of porpoise oil (late 1930s).
  14. ^ Nova[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Mi'kmaq Resource Centre (UCCB), Mi'kmaw Bands in Nova Scotia[permanent dead link], 2010

External links[edit]