The Mi’kmaq community have a long-existing and unique relationship with their land and its’ resources which involves exploitation and conservation as well as source of spiritual ideologies. This knowledge is held by Mi’kmaq individuals and has been passed on from generation to generation; kisaku kinutemuatel mijuijij (Mi’kmaq).
Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Studies (MEKS) gather and document the collective body of ecological knowledge which is held by the Mi’kmaq people. These studies usually accompany an Environmental Assessment or Impact Statement but can also document the knowledge as a community project. The MEKS will provide assurances that the Mi’kmaq use and knowledge of a subject area and its’ resources are considered within the overall environmental presentation and as well, will further ensure that the Environmental Assessment is thorough.
A Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study achieves to document and analyze information gathered regarding the special relationship between the people and the land.
A MEKS can help provide a better understanding of history and present use of an area prior to being developed.
The Mi’kmaq Ecological Knowledge Study consists of three major components:
- A Historical Review regarding Natural and Mi’kmaq Cultural history such as past occupation and resource exploitation of the area
- Past and Present Traditional Land and Resource Use Activities
- A Traditional Significance Species Analysis
At the end of the study, the final deliverables are usually a report with a summary of the data collected, along with accompanying maps.