Epekwitnewaq Mi'kmaq – Pituamkek
NCC and partners on the Conway Sandhills, Prince Edward Island. (Photo by Alec Jardine)
The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Epekwitnewaq Mi'kmaq began working in partnership in 2008.
Located in northwestern Epekwitk (Prince Edward Island), the area known in the Mi’kmaq language as Pituamkek (pronounced Bee-doo-um-gek), which means "At the Long Sand Dune," and in English as Hog Island and the Sandhills, is rich in ancient Mi’kmaq history. This area has also been one of NCC’s prime areas of focus for conservation for well over a decade. When NCC officially started working in the Sandhills, there was a shared conservation goal with the PEI Mi’kmaq to protect as much of the Sandhills complex as possible.
The Cascumpec and Conway Sandhills, two barrier islands, are one of the most spectacular, unique, least disturbed and ecologically significant coastal dune ecosystem complexes in eastern Canada. Many species of shorebirds — including greater yellowlegs, semipalmated plover, semipalmated sandpiper, whimbrel and red knot — use both the north and south beaches for feeding during migration. Piping plovers, a species at risk, use the Sandhills for nesting and fledging their young. NCC has been honoured to conserve and steward the natural features of this unique area so its ecological heritage survives now and into the future.
NCC officially started working in the Sandhills close to a decade ago. At that time, NCC and the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI identified their shared conservation goal of protecting as much of the Sandhills complex as possible. Hog Island and the nearby Sandhills are very important to the Mi’kmaq people, both historically and today. In collaboration with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy and the Province of Prince Edward Island, NCC has been working to protect land here for the future.
This is an exciting time, as our renewed conservation work is recognizing and celebrating both the ecological importance of the area as well as its Mi’kmaq cultural significance. In 2022, NCC secured Kwesawe'k (Oulton’s Island), an island within Cascumpec Bay and Pituamkek, to be part of the larger conserved area. In 2027, NCC will return Kwesawe’k to the PEI Mi’kmaq, its original stewards, for their continued stewardship for conservation.
Since time immemorial, the Epekwitnewaq Mi’kmaq have stewarded the lands and waters of Epekwitk (Prince Edward Island). NCC is honoured to have shared goals to protect this important place.