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Historica Canada Education Portal

Mi'kmaq Storytelling

  • Indigenous History
  • Elementary – Junior

This Learning Tool appears in 4 Collections

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To have students demonstrate an understanding of the importance of oral tradition and beliefs in early Mi'kmaq society.


To have students create their own belief story and petroglyph.


As part of the social studies curriculum students should develop an understanding of the traditional ways of life and beliefs of the Mi'kmaq. They will work to create a story that might be told by the early Mi'kmaq people in order to gain a greater understanding of the importance of the oral tradition as well as an appreciation of the art of story telling. They can draw visual clues or petroglyphs to help them retell their story to the class.

Stories and petroglyphs provide an important source of historical evidence. We learn many things from the symbols and stories told by the Mi'kmaq: attitude to the world, how they learn, climate, plants, animals and the landscape.


Time Allowance:
4 periods


The teacher can introduce the concept of oral tradition by explaining the difference between myths and legends passed on from one generation to another generation by storytelling.

A myth explains the origins of many things – the tides, the moon, spring, corn, thunder, just to name a few. A legend is a story coming down from the past that instructs and give warnings. The stories were told by gifted story-tellers. They picture the story in their mind so that they can describe what is happening in great detail. Examples of petroglyphs can also be introduced to show students how these beliefs can be represented as symbols.

Students would read examples of myths and legends, identify the main event or idea and pictorially represent this by drawing a cartoon or comic strip. The cartoon or comic strip will contain a title, character, event, obstacle and result.


Skills: Peer – self evaluation and teacher observations.
Inquiry: Conclusions drawn from story telling.
Research on storytelling – pictographs.
Communication: Student presentation.
Participation: Contribution to whole – small group discussions.
Contributions to creating a story.

Products Created: Written story, pictographs, comic strip, and presentation of a story.