Miramichiers turned out in full force to hear the announcement of ACOA’s $80,480 investment into a visitor kiosk and replica of Governor Denys’ trading post. It was an excellent show of support, standing room only.
“History is repeating itself,” said Daniel Levesque in his opening remarks, making reference to Acadian and Native communities coming together to work on this project.
In English, Councilor Emerson Francis delivered a beautiful Mi’kmaq prayer seeking strength and wisdom and then asked everyone to rise as he drummed and sang a traditional Mi’kmaq Honour Song.
The drumming was fantastic. I could feel it resonating in my heart, vibrating right in the back of my throat. I let the language wash over me wishing I understood the words.
“Our ancestors must be quite proud that we’re still resonating to our native drums on the Miramichi,” said Mr. Levesque, who emceed the proceeding. He added that the performance was very moving and he needed to take a moment to recover before continuing on to thank and acknowledge the dignitaries.
“The number of dignitaries present speaks volumes for the importance of this project,” he said.
MP Charles Hubbard expounded on some of the history surrounding Beaubears Island and thanked Native partners for attending.
“It has a long history, a history of many peoples,” Hubbard said. “We have to remember our history, our culture, our language,” he stressed.
Hubbard had the privilege to introduce the Honourable Joseph McGuire, Minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) who would make the official presentation.
“Whatever you have to offer for money today, our hands are still out,” he joked.
The Minister thanked Hubbard for the great history lesson and said they wanted to start March off on the right foot with this investment.
“We’re finding tourists are very interested in the culture and history,” McGuire said.
Gilles Laplante, President of The Friends of Beaubears Island Inc., took to the podium next and explained that this investment is for the building of the structure.
“We all need to protect our heritage and be proud of where we come from,” he emphasized. “And we must work together if we’re going to survive.”
Gilles also took a moment to mention another local accomplishment — that Carrefour Beausoleil won first place out of all the French schools in the province. Good stuff!
John and Joyce Leblanc were then presented with a plaque celebrating their time and devotion to the Friends of Beaubears.
Roger Augustine said this is “history in the making.”
“It is an honour to represent the Mi’kmaq people,” he said. “Anything we do, it’s about all of us. In order to survive we must work together and respect each other.”
There was a slight mix-up as the ceremony neared the end. Levesque gave his closing remarks without first introducing Mayor Rupert Bernard. Everyone had a good hearted chuckle about that. The mayor thanked everyone for all their efforts and encouraged them to “keep up the good work.”
In his closing remarks, Levesque urged everyone in attendance to make mention of the project in their publications and on their websites “so the mighty Miramichi roar is heard throughout the world.”
And that is what we’ve done, both here and on Bread ‘n Molasses! And so should you.
Sometimes I think the people living in the world outside know more about what’s happening here than we do. When you live someplace I think you settle in and make assumptions about things without doing any sort of investigating to see if it’s true. And a lot of the time those assumptions tend to be negative.
All of the news coming out of the tourism industry is concrete fact — not assumption — and it’s EXCELLENT!! So, tell your family, tell your friends, tell your neighbours and co-workers — this is exciting stuff and Miramichiers need to know what’s happening here at home.
Giv’er Miramichi is about “What’s up, what’s new, what’s happening”. We are focused on building people up, supporting one another and celebrating our successes.