To the editor,
Your recent article “Effluent leak sparks protest near the Indian Cross burial ground” in Pictou Landing was of great interest. As a young man, my hunting fiends the late Rod Fraser and Ed Vacheresse and I used to hunt this area a lot and now I am the only one left to recall the memories.
The First Nation burial ground was special and sacred. No way would we hunt on this section. We would hunt the surrounding area though and often we would sit on the shoreline and tell hunting stories. We would not walk on the burial ground either and had the highest respect for it. What was always on our minds was that First Nations people were here for thousands of years. Once I recall my friends say that they likely were better shots with a bow and arrow than I was with my 30.06 rifle, and we all had a good laugh.
Rod told me over the years with erosion it was known some bones were found on the shore. I do recall as a boy my grandfather John James Ferguson (Connie) who lived his lifetime in Pictou Landing telling me stories of the First Nation community and his friends who lived there.
During his early life he saw funeral processions by canoe going past his home by water. His father before him told him of the burial ground and they often visited the area. The Fergusons were some of the original Scottish settlers in Pictou Landing and longtime friends of the First Nations. Canoeing was the best way to get to the old burial ground and it was the way of the people.
It is told that it was an ideal area for First Nations people as the land had low banks, and had a good supply of game, fish and shell fish. It was also mentioned that an early First Nation cemetery is shown in the Pictou County Atlas not far from Indian Cross Point.
Early maps showed the large cross at Indian Cross Point that was there at one time. I mention to an elder once that this was First Nation land and should be preserved from development. Hopefully some day a walking trail and historical markers can be put up – maybe even a large steel cross that could be seen across the East River as a reminder of the First Nations being here thousands of years.
I am confident the First Nation will handle it well and we will do whatever we can to support the community. I encourage Chief Andrea Paul and band council to arrange an outing for school children to see the area next year as part of their First Nation studies and to get a feel for what it must have been like years ago. It sure left a lifetime memory for my friends and me.
Lloyd P. MacKay