Nature Conservancy of Canada to buy island off western P.E.I. and give it to the Mi’kmaq

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A small island in Cascumpec Bay off Prince Edward Island’s North Shore will quickly be protected land, and in 5 years, the Island’s Mi’kmaq will turn into its everlasting stewards.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada has introduced it plans to buy Oulton’s Island, or Kwesawe’k in Mi’kmaw. 

“When we will discover these little gems that appeared to have been spared from threats of growth, it’s simply nice to have the ability to carry them into conservation,” stated Lanna Campbell, program director for P.E.I. with the Nature Conservancy of Canada. 

“There’s heaps of small mammals that use the island, heaps of shore birds feed on its shores. It’s simply this lovely little spot. And once you’re there, you’re feeling such as you’re kind of intruding on their house,” Campbell informed Mitch Cormier on Island Morning. 

Lanna Campbell, Nature Conservancy of Canada program director in P.E.I., says her group approached the P.E.I. Mi’kmaw neighborhood about changing into long-term stewards of Kwesawe’ok. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

Kwesawe’k, which is about 85 hectares or 210 acres, is made up of salt marsh, wetlands, conventional Wabanaki (Acadian) forest, and 4 kilometres of seaside shoreline. It sits about 400 metres offshore in Cascumpec Bay. 

“Every time we go to this island we uncover one thing new. This summer time we discovered nesting nice blue heron and double-crested cormorants,” stated Campbell. 

The island was privately owned and the conservancy negotiated the $1.2-million buy, for which it continues to elevate funds. 

In 5 years, the conservancy will switch possession of the Island to the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils. 

Kwesawe’k, or Oulton’s Island, sits in Cascumpec Bay in Western P.E.I. (Submitted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada)

Campbell stated her group has been working in collaboration with the Mi’kmaw neighborhood on this space of P.E.I. for some time. 

“We approached the P.E.I. Mi’kmaq to kind of gauge their curiosity in changing into the long-term stewards of Oulton’s for conservation … seeing that this space has a heightened cultural significance to them,” stated Campbell. 

‘It’s in our hearts, it is in who we’re as a folks to shield lands,’ says Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard. (Tony Davis/CBC)

Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard, who can be the co-chair of the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils, stated that collaborating on conservation with Indigenous folks is effective and important. 

“It’s in our hearts, it is in who we’re as a folks to shield lands,” stated Bernard, including she is happy to proceed that work alongside the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

“It’s a conventional Mi’kmaw cultural panorama identical to Hog Island and Sandhills, proper. Our folks had been on these islands and had been utilizing these islands to maintain themselves since time immemorial.”

Engaging Indigenous communities in land safety is about reconciliation, Bernard stated.

“We want to be half of this going ahead, being half of defending lands in Prince Edward Island.”

With coastal erosion consuming away at the province it’s vital to have a number of teams and organizations serving to with land safety, she stated.

“We want to have the ability to construct capability to have the ability to co-manage these areas.”

Campbell says they’re excited to see what could possibly be uncovered archeologically on Kwesawe’ok utilized by the Mi’kmaq in the previous. (Stephen DesRoches/NCC)

The buy of the island is separate from the ongoing negotiations between Parks Canada and the Mi’kmaq on the close by proposed Pituamkek nationwide park reserve. 

Campbell stated the conservancy and representatives from the Mi’kmaw neighborhood have been visiting the island collectively, together with a number of journeys this previous summer time. 

“It’s only a actually magical island and we’re excited to see what we might uncover archaeologically from possibly previous use of Mi’kmaq of this space,” she stated.

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