The federal government signed a memorandum of understanding with the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils on Wednesday to establish a new national park reserve on the Hog Island Sandhills off the North Shore of Prince Edward Island.
The new park would be given the Mi'kmaq name Pituamkek (pronounced Bee-doo-um-gek).
Steven Guilbeault, the minister responsible for Parks Canada, signed the agreement with Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island and Chief Junior Gould of Abegweit First Nation.
Hog Island is a treasured place among Indigenous people, Bernard said.
"There's many reasons why it's important to protect this area, and I think we've touched on that in a number of different times, different people speaking, but one of them is the fact that this is, in our opinion, a Mi'kmaq archaeological site … where we have a burial ground. So it's a sacred site. It's a special place where endangered species of birds and bats that are there that need to be protected. So we want to protect that."
The MOU outlines next steps and provides a framework for collaboration as negotiations begin for an establishment agreement for the creation of the new national park reserve.
The creation of the Pituamkek National Park Reserve will be the first national park reserve to contribute to the government's commitment to create 10 new national parks by 2025.