The Mi’kmaq Nation has lived in Megumaage (now known as Nova Scotia) since time immemorial.  Carbon dating leads us to believe that the Mi’kmaq peoples lived in Megumaage for over 10,500 years.

The Mi’kmaq, who lived in settlements according to their clan, lived in what is now known as Fort Sackville in the summer and the Bedford Barrens in winter.

The Bedford Barrens rose out of the sea, and the ridges are said to resemble whale backs. It is also said that from the Barrens, one can see straight through the Halifax Harbour to the Atlantic Ocean. The Mi’kmaq carved petroglyphs in the quartzite to mark this special place.

The quartzite ridges are more than 500 million years old located just west of the Sackville River. Quartzite is formed when sandstone is transformed at extreme temperatures (metamorphism), usually due to volcanic activity. The quartzite was eventually eroded and smoothed by passing glaciers during several ice ages, the last 10,000-15,000 years ago. The smoothed set of white ridges is known as the Bedford Barrens.

For 500 years the existence of the petroglyphs was known to only the Mi’kmaq, until one day a local man–of European descent–on a walk ‘discovered’ them.   It was later confirmed that the petroglyphs were indeed of Mi’kmaq origin and not European. The petroglyphs were carved in stone with some type of rock tool.  Even for the Mi’kmaq this was very unique.

The forested area of the Barrens is protected.

For more information about the Mi’qmaw Nation, please visit


Bedford Basin History

Bedford Duc d-Anville Ship Millview