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Watch 4 Mi’kmaq Legends Come to Life on

Watch 4 Mi’kmaq Legends Come to Life on

Watch 4 Mi’kmaq Legends Come to Life on

Mi’kmaq or (L’nu, “the people” in Mi’kmaq) are Aboriginal peoples who are among the original inhabitants of the Atlantic provinces of Canada. Today, Mi’kmaq communities are located mainly in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, but with a significant presence in Quebec (Restigouche/Listuguj), P.E.I., Newfoundland, Maine and the Boston area.

Get a taste of this people’s fascinating ancestral mythology with these 4 short films that bring, through ingenious animation and theatre, their legends to life.

Maq and the Spirit of the Woods

Maq and the Spirit of the Woods, Phyllis Grant, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Meet Maq, a young Mi’kmaq boy who discovers his true potential while traveling through the woods to meet his grandfather. Directed by Mik’maq artist Phyllis Grant, this cartoon with a message is part of the Talespinners series, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.

Summer Legend

Summer Legend, Françoise Hartmann, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Watch great spirit (and Mik’maq cultural hero) Glooscap battle Winter in order to bring young, beautiful and sultry Summer to the North, in this stunning animation by Françoise Hartman.

Vistas: Little Thunder

Vistas: Little Thunder, Nance Ackerman & Alan Syliboy, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Inspired by the Mi’kmaq legend The Stone Canoe, this very short animation follows Little Thunder (Apje’ji’jp Gagtugwaw, in Mi’kmaq) as he leaves his family and sets out on a cross-country canoe trip to become a man. Directed by Halifax “artivist” Nance Ackerman and Alan Syliboy, a visual artist renowned for his use of Mi’kmaq petroglyphs (rock drawings), Little Thunder was created as part of Vistas: Aboriginal Expressions, a series of 13 short films by Aboriginal filmmakers on the subject of nationhood.

Medoonak the Stormmaker

Medoonak the Stormmaker, Les Krizsan, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

Join the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia for a colourful retelling of the legend of Medoonak, the reckless ruler of the winds and the seas who was persuaded to quieten his magical wings and calm the churning waters so that the Mi’kmaq fishermen could catch food for their people. Here, the story is interpreted in mime, dance and narration by elaborately garbed and masked actors.

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  1. I love the stories. I have heard different versions but these are more interesting seeing the story in animation. I am a teacher and I will use them for my students. Wela’lin. MJ

  2. Kwe! This is just wonderful. Wela’lin for sharing. I was wondering if you could tell me who the singer of The Eagle Song was – the song at the very end of the first film “Maq and the Spirit of the Woods”. I would very much love to have a recording of that version of the song. 🙂

    — Katherine McCarthy,
    1. The song is a Donna Augustine song.

      — Sagatiaej,
  3. Can these be made available in full screen and/or for chrome casting? I would love to share with the whole family.

    — Michele Jenkins,
  4. Thanks to Paul Steer for his great query. I, too, access NFB for fabulous resources. Next year, in my BC grade 3 classroom, I want to make “story telling” and life as “stories, both real and imagined” a cross curricular theme.While these 4 videos are appropriate, I am looking for some balance in gender representation. Suggestions? And, many thanks for this wonderful resource, we enjoy NFB productions regularly in my classroom.
    Denise Currie
    Kinnaird Elementary School
    Castlegar, BC

    — Denise Currie,
  5. There are two other mikmaq communities in Quebec on the gaspe pennisula, the community of Gesgapegiag and the other community of Gespeg

    — Chrissy,
  6. There are two Mi’kmaq First Nations on Prince Edward Island. Lennox Island and Abegweit. The National Film Board of Canada should know this.

    — Marilyn LeFrank,
    1. Thanks for your comment, Marilyn!
      The post has been edited to reflect your input.


  7. I would love to hear someone from the NFB talk to the teachers who I represent in Delta, B.C. about the NFB’s full collection of films with content and subject matter that are applicable to aboriginal peoples.

    The BC government has mandated ‘curriculum change’, but it’s efforts are lean and spare, so it falls to teachers to make it real.

    As a teacher of many years’ experience, I really want to make the ‘new’ curriculum work for our aboriginal students, their families, their communities.

    Is there anyone at NFB with ideas or advice for me?


    Paul Steer,
    Delta Teachers’ Association
    Member at Large,
    Executive Committee,
    British Columbia Teachers’ Federation.

    1. Hi Paul,
      I have forwarded your query to our Education team, and Michèle Tredger, the community manager for institutional and education markets, has offered to contact you directly via email to discuss various options. Thanks for your question and interest in our collection!

  8. Wonderful. Beautiful soleful

    — karen hodge russell,
  9. Would love to learn more about making cartoon videos. We produce Children’s books dealing with children’s mental wellness and this media would be a very effective format to gain the children’s interest

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