Ask Heather Green about Kluskap’s Cave and prepare yourself to be transported to another time and place…a place where giants roamed the earth with powers that make today’s super heroes look weak by comparison. What is this fourth-year history major at CBU doing? Heather is working on an internship research project for UINR with our partners Parks Canada and Cape Breton University.
Heather’s research of literature on Kluskap brought her to manuscripts from the early 1850s in which missionary Silas T. Rand’s first written account of Mi’kmaq creation legends appears. She followed the thread of history to more contemporary accounts of Kluskap and his relationship between the Mi’kmaq people and the land. Heather explains, “We are looking at the overall cultural landscape of Kluskap’s Cave and what makes this area significant to the Mi’kmaq and how it encapsulates Mi’kmaq world-view.
“This is a project that means something to a lot of people. For me it has led to a new respect for the landscape, an understanding of how the traditional use of the land was reflected in Kluskap’s legends and influenced how people hunt, fish, gather and migrate.”
Kluskap’s Cave is located at Cape Dauphin on Kluskap (Kelly’s) Mountain. The trail to the “Fairy Hole” is not difficult for the average hiker, but there are challenges including a 100 foot descent to the mountain stream. Follow the trail to the stream and follow the stream to the shore. When you get to the beach you can see Bird Islands and Kluskap’s Cave. The cave is difficult to get into, so unless you are a seasoned climber you might prefer to sit outside on the rocks and have a picnic. If you do decide to scale the slippery rocks to the cave’s opening–be careful.
Kluscap was sent by the Creator as a friend for the Mi’kmaq people. He lived at Cape Dauphin and one day two women laughed at him from the shore. Kluscap jumped from his canoe breaking it into two pieces, known today as Bird Islands. He turned the two women to stone, the stone pillars now guarding his cave. The cave was Kluskap’s last home on earth before he left to the sky world. He lived there with his Grandmother,The Bear Woman, and a young man, Pine Marten. Kluscap’s many skills included his ability to disguise himself so that he could involve himself in a situation in order to teach a lesson in morals or values.