The Story of Kluskap

From the book, “Finding Kluskap: A Journey Into Mi’kmaw Myth” by Jennifer Reid

The stories have it that Kluskap was responsible for the creation of landscape features throughout Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. His kettle was an island; his canoe was a large rock; and his dogs, at his departure, were turned to stone. He created turtles, tadpoles, crabs and leeches, took the noses from porcupines and toads, gave beavers their tails, gave frogs and loons their distinctive voices, and reduced all of the animals to the size they are now…

He left his footprints in stone, cleared rivers for navigation, carved channels with his paddle, gave names to the principle places along the shorelines of the Maritime provinces, and finally, named all the stars and constellations. The natural environment was a theatre in which Kluskap helped to create a world; and in that world he gave the Mi’kmaq primordial rights to harvesting of various types. He was, primarily, a teacher. As Rand put it, “All that the Indians knew of what was wise and good he taught them.” He taught them the names of the stars and how to build canoes, but most often in the stories, he taught the Mi’kmaq how to hunt, fish, and cure what they harvested and how to find medicines to heal sickness…