For thousands of years, the Mi’kmaq have been closely observing the natural world and the cycles of the moon and the stars to track the passage of time. Each full moon in an annual cycle was named by the Mi’kmaq to relate to a seasonal event, such as tomcod spawning, birds laying eggs or berry ripening.
For the past decade Mi’kmaw Elders and Knowledge Keepers have shared stories of the traditional night sky calendar with authors Cathy LeBlanc and David Chapman. In this book Cathy relays this knowledge in stories told to her young relation Holly.
Each moon’s story is richly illustrated with an evocative colour painting created for this book by the noted Mi’kmaw artist Loretta Gould.
Alongside this presentation of the Mi’kmaw time-keeping traditions, this book offers a brief history of the modern Western calendar, and some basic astronomy facts about the moon’s phases and why the seasons change.
This two-eyed seeing approach takes young readers on a journey through one full year in Mi’kma’ki.
About the authors
Cathy Jean LeBlanc is a member of Acadia First Nation and a graduate of St. Thomas University. She is a Mi’kmaw cultural interpreter and Student Support Worker for Indigenous and African Nova Scotian youth. She lives in Bridgewater.
David Chapman is a physicist who worked for 31 years for the federal government. He is a life member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and was the editor of the RASC Observer’s Handbook (2012–2016 editions). He is a lifetime amateur astronomer. He lives in Dartmouth.
Loretta Gould is a Mi’kmaw quilter and painter who loves bright, beautiful colours. A self-taught artist, she grew up in Waycobah First Nation where she later raised five children of her own. She began making a living through her art quilts but, when her sewing machine broke in 2013, she decided to try her hand at painting. She’s been painting ever since. Loretta’s dream is to share her art with the world. For her, art is a way to get her spiritual feelings on canvas. The paintings in Counting in Mi’kmaw are done in acrylic: her paint of choice. This is her first book.