Mi’kmaq elders, poets, historians and artisans showcased their culture, traditions and computer animation skills today, June 28, to Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh at a Mi’kmaq cultural village on the Halifax Common. The Royal Couple were greeted at the Common by Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, Grand Keptin Andrew Denny and respected Mi’kmaq educator Sister Dorothy Moore. “The Mi’kmaq have always shared a genuine affection and deep respect for Her Majesty and His Royal Highness,” said Grand Chief Sylliboy. “We are humbled and honoured by Her Majesty’s heartfelt interest in learning more about our history, culture and future direction. “We are particularly delighted that Her Majesty is visiting us in 2010 to help mark the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the baptism of Grand Chief Henri Membertou.” The Mi’kmaq cultural village demonstrated traditional techniques for preparing moose hide, making baskets, and splint-making. There was a game of Waltes, a Mi’kmaq game played with dice, and a description of the importance of artifacts from the Debert archaeological site dating back 11,000 years. Mi’kmaq students presented the Royal Couple with two Mi’kmaq legends on the Northern Lights and the buffalo – depicted through digital animation. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also learned about the 400th anniversary celebrations of the baptism of Grand Chief Membertou. The cultural village program also featured the Se’t A’newey Kina’matino’kuom Youth Choir from St. Anne’s School in Conne River, N.L., which performed Weleyut (Amazing Grace). “The Mi’kmaq are Nova Scotia’s first peoples, and their friendship with other nations remains a basis of our province today,” said Premier Darrell Dexter. “Membertou 400 is an important opportunity to build a greater understanding of the Mi’kmaq nation and showcase their attributes as a lively, distinctive and innovative people.” Gifts bestowed on Her Majesty and His Royal Highness included a handmade basket; a painting in honour of the tour by renowned artist Allan Syliboy; a reading by Mi’kmag Poet Laureate Lindsay Marshall, who prepared a poem in honour of the Royal Tour to Nova Scotia by Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, and a CD containing animations of Mi’kmaq legends created by First Nations HelpDesk students. The Queen will entrust Mr. Sylliboy’s painting to the Mi’kmaq community for them to enjoy, before it is returned to the Palace at a later date. The Royal Couple were saluted by Mi’kmaq veterans and RCMP as they departed from the Cultural Village. Mi’kmaq chiefs from all 13 Mi’kmaq communities, Grand Council representatives, National Chief Shawn Atleo, and other Assembly of First Nation representatives also participated in or witnessed the celebration on the Halifax Common. Her Majesty’s outfit featured traditional Mi’kmaq double-curl motif beadwork which was completed over the past two months by Genevieve Julian and her daughter Valerie Julian of Millbrook. The Royal Couple’s visit to the cultural village was a highlight of the Membertou 400 celebration, which began with the re-enactment of the baptism of the legendary Mi’kmaq leader at the Port Royal National Historic Site on June 24. The festivities continued at Atlantic Canada’s largest Powwow or Maiomi, which ran June 25 to June 27. Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh are visiting Nova Scotia from June 28-30 as part of their Royal Tour in Canada. Event details are available at www.gov.ns.ca/royaltour. Interesting facts and live commentary are also available on Twitter via @royaltour, and on Facebook at gov.ns.ca/facebook. The Royal Couple will also travel to Manitoba and Ontario during their Canadian tour, which concludes July 6.