Membertou First Nation

Discovering Membertou First Nation, Nova Scotia: A Rich History and Thriving Community

The Membertou First Nation, known in Mi'kmawi'simk as Maupeltu, is a vibrant Mi'kmaq First Nation band government nestled in the tribal district of Unama'ki, also known as Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. As of 2012, the Mi'kmaq population stands at 814 on-Reserve, and approximately 481 off-Reserve. The community operates a local radio station, CJIJ-FM, and has emerged as the most prosperous First Nation in Atlantic Canada.

The Historical Journey of Membertou First Nation, Nova Scotia

Membertou is primarily an urban First Nation community. It is named after the Grand Chief Henri Membertou (1510-1611) and is part of the larger tribal group of the Mi'kmaq Nation. The Membertou First Nation was not always located at its current site. Previously known as the Kings Road Reserve, it was situated just off Kings Road, along the Sydney Harbour.

In a landmark event in 1916, the Exchequer Court of Canada ordered the relocation of the 125 Mi’kmaq residents, marking the first time in Canadian history that an aboriginal community was legally forced to relocate through the courts. By 1926, the Membertou Community was officially moved to its present-day location near Mira Road, Nova Scotia.

Economic Growth and Development in Membertou First Nation, Nova Scotia

The Membertou First Nation has achieved significant success in diversifying its economy. The community boasts a convention centre, gaming centre, gas bar, business centre, a hotel, and other investments. The Membertou Sports and Wellness Centre, which houses a YMCA and two NHL-sized rinks, opened its doors in 2016.

Currently, a business development project named Seventh Exchange is under construction across from the Highway 125 interchange. This development will feature big box stores and light-commercial and retail development, similar to Dartmouth Crossing in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

The Composition of Membertou First Nation, Nova Scotia

The Membertou First Nation is composed of four distinct parts, each contributing to the rich tapestry of the community.

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