Petroglyphs Animals


View all the tracings in Creed's "Animal" category

mooseAnimals are an important part of traditional Mi'kmaw life, and their images are abundant in petroglyphs. The lives of the people were completely intertwined with those of animals. An all-encompassing interest in and understanding of animals was necessary for survival. Animals were considered not as people, but as "persons", with whom one might have a relationship. Songs, stories, mime dances, and rock carvings celebrated these relationships.

There were strict teachings about animals, those one ate and did not eat; teachings about how one thanked the animal for giving up its life to a human, and how one disposed of its remains so that the good relationship between humans and animals would continue. Animals that gave birth on land had their bones put into tree scaffolds or thrown into the fire. Animals that gave birth in water had their bones put back into water.

The animal images in the rock art at Kejimkujik vary in complexity and detail. Some are simple outlines. Others are very detailed, showing fur, antlers, eyes, and fine texture such as the image of a caribou at right. Caribou were abundant in Nova Scotia from the time the glaciers receded at the end of the last Ice Age (about 10,000 years ago) but were gone by the early 1900s century. When Creed was making his record of this image, the caribou were all but gone from Nova Scotia.

birdThis image may represent a pheasant or a peacock. As new animals were brought to North America by Europeans, these animals were represented in the art of the Mi'kmaq.