My Father’s Archaeological Find Revived Our Community’s Mi’kmaq Culture

It also established Metepenagiag as the oldest continually occupied village in New Brunswick.

Metepenagiag (Red Bank, New Brunswick)Annie Mae Morrison

I was born and raised in Metepenagiag (Red Bank, New Brunswick), and have lived here all my life, except for a few years when I left to attend university.

It’s home to the Metepenagiag Heritage Park, which houses all the artifacts that were found in the Augustine Mound and the Oxbow Site, two National Historic sites. It was through oral tradition that these two sites were discovered by Elder Joseph Augustine (my father) in the early 1970s.

Elder Joseph AugustineCourtesy Annie Mae Morrison
Annie Mae’s father, Elder Joseph Augustine, played a key role in the recent history of this friendly, highly active community.

While on hunting excursions as a young man of 12 with his father, and always stopping near the Mound to rest and have their lunch on an old caribou trail, my grandfather told him that this was where our ancestors had ceremonies for their deceased loved ones. It was only years later when my father was in his 60s that his memory would be jarred by a magazine article about Native burial mounds in the United States. His curiosity peaked, my father went to investigate and discovered that the mound was indeed a burial mound. This happened at a time when a nearby gravel pit was being dug up. His discovery halted the digging of the gravel pit and the rest is history. The resulting archeological digs have revived our Mi’kmaq culture, and allow us to lay claim to the fact that Metepenagiag is the oldest continually occupied village in New Brunswick, dating back more than 3,000 years!

Metepenagiag PowwowAnnie Mae Morrison

Metepenagiag Today

The Metepenagiag Pow Wow, Trout Derby and Washer Toss Tournament are just a few of the many family-oriented events that take place here annually.

Needless to say, I am so very proud of my heritage and community. Metepenagiag is situated along the Miramichi River, which is world renowned for its salmon fishery and it’s a photographer’s dream, thanks to its beautiful scenery during all seasons. Photography is my hobby and I could not ask for a more beautiful backdrop to take photos.

Next, discover the fascinating story of St Martins, New Brunswick.

Originally Published in Our Canada