Wagmatcook First Nation is located in the center of Cape Breton Island (Unamaki) and is perhaps the oldest permanent Mi’kmaq settlement in Nova Scotia. “Wagmatcook” means “clean wave” a reference to the waters of the Wagmatcook (Middle River) and the Bras D’or lake system which are adjacent to the place where Wagmatcook Mi’kmaq live.
Wagmatcook is the closest Mi’kmaw community to the Cape Breton highlands. Over the last 25 years, Wagmatcook has developed numerous community based programs, services and institutions which promote Mi’kmaq culture and traditions.
Wagmatcook started the first Aboriginal secondary school (1986) in the Atlantic region and established the first Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Day Care Center on reserve. Education and programs for Wagmatcook youth are central to the Council’s priorities since the youth comprise a large percentage of the resident population. Wagmatcook students have successfully completed undergraduate and graduate degree programs and many of these graduates are now working for the community as financial officers, business managers, and educators.
Wagmatcook has a very successful commercial fishing operation which employs up to forty one people a season. The Wagmatcook Enterprise and Cultural Center houses the TD Canada Trust Agency bank, a Canada Post office, the Clean Wave Restaurant, an Alternate School for Youth, cultural demonstration projects and the second largest sound stage/venue on Cape Breton Island. The new gas bar, grocery store, wharf and warehouse facility are open for business.
Wagmatcook prides itself on the use and protection of the Mi’kmaw language. It is an important part of daily life and is used as the primary language during Chief and Council meetings.