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Pictou County historian sharing Mi’kmaq history during Pictou Landing presentation

This photo from around 1918 shows Pictou Landing Chief Matthew Frances with his wife and daughter, as well as former chief Peter Wilmot, right.
This photo from around 1918 shows Pictou Landing Chief Matthew Frances with his wife and daughter, as well as former chief Peter Wilmot, right. - Contributed

John Ashton has been enthralled with the history of the Mi’kmaq people since he was a child.

“It’s a fascinating history,” he said.

Over the years, he’s extensively researched the topic and has been invited for the second time for a presentation on the Mi’kmaq presence in Pictou County as part of Mi’kmaq History Month.

The talk will be held at the Pictou Landing Health Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 1:30 p.m.

Ashton said he is honoured to be invited back to share more about the history of the Mi’kmaq and said the presentation will include some previously known as well as unknown historical research.

Archeological evidence indicates there were Aboriginal people living in the Pictou County region for the last 3,500 to 5,000 years, he said. They’re believed to have first settled in the Debert area and spread out from there.

“When they arrived they dispersed in all the coastal areas along Nova Scotia,” he said.

The first recorded reference to the Mi’kmaq in Pictou County was in 1398, which is when explorers started to explore the province.

Jesuit missionaries and explorers were the first to make contact with the Mi’kmaq. Initially, those first encounters were positive, he said, but when the settlers began encroaching on the indigenous land he said conflict began.

“That’s when terrible things started to happen,” he said.

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