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How Koluskap Created Sugarloaf Mountain

Koluskap(as retold by elder Margaret Labillois)

A long time ago the Mi'kmaq used to live near the river banks in the summertime and they could watch all the salmon going up the river to spawn. One day they noticed the salmon could not get up the river anymore.

Now in those days the beaver were very, very big. And they had built a dam across the Restigouche River. That is why the salmon could not get up the river to spawn.

The Mi'kmaq were very upset. They knew if the salmon could not get up the river to have their babies, there would be no more salmon and they would have no food in the winter.

So they held a council with all the people. They decided they would go out in their canoes to fight the beaver.

Giant BeaverThe men went out in their canoes but when they got close to the beavers, they would slap their huge tails on the water and the canoes and the Mi'kmaq went flying up into the air and fell into the water. They could not get past the beavers so they could destroy the dam. The beavers were just too big.

So they swam ashore and they decided to call Koluskap. Koluskap's messenger at that time was Loon. They asked Loon to call him.

Loon made his wailing sound and called Koluskap. It was carried across the water to Koluskap and he soon came riding on the back of his whale to the Mi'kmaq camp.

He asked, "Why did you call me?"

They told him that the beavers had made a dam and the salmon could no longer get up the river to spawn. They said they would not have anymore salmon to eat if the salmon could'nt get up the river because then they would not be able to have babies.

So Koluskap walked on the dam and when he got to the middle he took his club and hit the dam. When he hit the dam parts of it flew. One of these parts became Heron Island. Another part is called Bantry point.

Koluskap caught the leader of the beavers and swung him around and around by his tail. When Koluskap let go the beaver landed many miles away and turned to rock. They call it Sugarloaf Mountain today. That is really Koluskap's beaver.

Koluskap then turned to the other beavers. They were afraid so he stroked their heads and with each stroke they became smaller and smaller until they reached the size they are today.

KoluscapKoluskap promised the Mi'kmaq that the beavers in New Brunswick would never grow big enough again to be able to build a dam that could cut off the rivers so the salmon could not get through. They would never have to worry about that problem ever again.

Don't try to do things alone if it is too dangerous. The men tried to fight the large beavers by themselves and it did'nt work. It was dangerous for them. But they finally asked Koluskap for help and he knew what to do.

Sometimes we need to ask someone older or wiser or more experienced than us to help in a bad situation. Trying to face a serious problem on your own can be dangerous. There are Elders who can help us.

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