Traditional Use Study

Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw
Traditional Use Study (TUS)

Between 1997 and 2001 the MAPS team, under the auspices of the Treaty & Aboriginal Rights Research Centre in Indian Brook, conducted a province-wide Traditional Use Survey, an endeavour initiated jointly by the Union of Nova Scotia Indians and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq. Over 80 categories of land use activities and occupancy information have been identified as being carried out by Aboriginal people.


These categories include harvesting of both plant and animal life, from moose hunting, salmon fishing, clam digging, to gathering berries or sweet grass and cutting ash. They also encompass occupancy information such as travel routes, camp sites, and culturally important places such as ceremonial and burial sites. Nearly 1000 MMi’kmaw were interviewed and about 7000 mylar map overlays with land use information produced. This TUS research informs consultation or negotiations on rights with non-disputable ‘hard’ data. It can provide insight into the “Aboriginal Perspective” (R v. Marshall, logging), proves a “substantial connection” (R v. Delgamuukw) of current Mi’kmaq communities to their traditional lands, and documents activities & areas are of “central significance” (R v. Marshall, logging) to communities. The TUS also helps preserve Oral History and provide a valuable information bank on which to base more accurate and culturally appropriate educational materials.