Renaming Indian Hill Loop to Mi’kmaq Hill Loop

At a board of directors meeting on 9 February 2016 it was agreed that WRWEO would approach the Mi’kmaw Community to seek direction on the renaming of the second loop of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail. The loop was formerly called “Indian Hill” and directors at WRWEO believe that the term “Indian” is considered by many to be a derogatory, archaic, and offensive word. On 23 July 2016, the chair of WRWEO sent an email to Mike Lancaster, Wilderness Steward St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association (SMBSA). The email read, in part:

“While the dedication of the Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail, written in 2005, acknowledged that the land had been preserved by the “First People”, none of the names used for the trail are Mi’kmaw names. In fact, the trail consists of four stacked loops which were all named more than a decade ago based on settler names used to describe the geography of the area. The names include: Pot Lake Loop, Indian Hill Loop, The Bluff Loop, and Hay Marsh Loop. The board of directors find the name of the second loop (Indian Hill) to be inappropriate given that the term “Indian” has long been considered a derogatory and offensive term. Because of this, WRWEO wishes to rename the second loop; however, we think it would be more appropriate to defer to members of the Mi’kmaw community for the selection of another name rather than continuing the pattern of settlers imposing names upon Mi’kmaw territory.

We hope that you may be able to introduce WRWEO to one or more members of the Mi’kmaw community who might be willing to advise WRWEO on how we might ask for the community’s guidance on the question of renaming the loop.”

Following receipt of this request, Mike Lancaster contacted two individuals of Mi’kmaq descent, Ellen Hunt, former chair of the Mi’kmaq Burial Ground Research and Restoration Association and regular collaborator with the Micou’s Island Stewardship program, and Roger Lewis, Curator of Ethnology at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. Roger Lewis in turn communicated with Mi’kmaq of Sipekne’katik (Shubenacadie) District, noting that the territory of K’jipuktuk (Halifax) is within the traditional territory of the Sipekne’katik District. He also communicated with Dr. Bernie Francis, Mi’kmaq Linguist and co-author of The Language of This Land, Mi’kma’ki.  The consensus was that the name should simply be changed from “Indian Hill” to “Mi’kmaw Hill”.

WRWEO has now renamed the second loop of The Bluff Wilderness Hiking Trail the Mi’kmaw Hill Loop and will work to make the appropriate changes to all future maps and printed materials; however, this process will take some time. More immediately, WRWEO will undertake to update all electronic maps and will refer to the second loop as Mi’kmaw Hill in all social media posts and communications.

WRWEO would like to thank everyone who took time to consider this question and assist us in this matter. Particular thanks to Mike Lancaster, Ellen Hunt, Roger Lewis, Dr. Bernie Francis, and Mi’kmaq of Sipekne’katik District who gave their time and thought to this process.

12 ways to help the Bluff Trail

Calling on all trail users – 12 ways to help the Bluff Trail:

In the Reply Area at the bottom of this page Record & Report (R&R) or email your:

  • activity,
  • date,
  • length of time, and
  • number of people who helped,
  • before- and after-photos

– Park perpendicular to the edge on the West side of the parking lot

– Collect garbage/litter in parking lot R&R

– Collect garbage2016-04-23marchand-bluff-clean/litter on trail  R&R

– Count other users on the trail  R&R

– Create a trail report during your hike: look for evidence of harmful human impacts, hazards on the trail, and/or areas in need of maintenance  R&R

– Remediate campfires: Cache rocks from a campfire in the bush near2016june25b trail to be used for trail hardening; disperse ashes and burnt wood, cover area with leaves and twigs to restore duff layer on top of damaged or disturbed soil  R&R


– Remediate damaged cam2016june25apsites: dismantle log furniture, cut and/or hide logs as far from site as possible, cover area with leaves and twigs to restore duff layer on top of damaged or disturbed soil, camping is discouraged but if you must camp then use only the designated Leave No Tracw (LNT) educational sites  R&R

– Remediate Inukshuk & cairns: dismantle and cache rocks in the bush near trail to be used for trail hardening  R&R

– Remediate spurs: place deadfall, windfall, or rocks across the opening; possibly recommend need for “Stay On Trail” sign at the location R&R

– Help WRWEO create a complete sign & infrastructure inventory: document the location, size, messaging, and condition of signs along the trail. Document the location, length, width, and condition of boardwalks and stone hardened trail surfaces, Include photos  R&R

– Talk to trail users about Protected Wilderness Area rules and Leave No Trace (LNT) Practices  R&Rbluff_talk2

– Become a member of WRWEO or make a donation on line Membership fees and donations support ongoing conservation efforts and membership increases our representation and credibility as an organization.