News release

Eskasoni, Province Celebrate Opening of New Long-Term Care Home

Seniors and Long-Term Care
Long-Term Care Facilities
Action for Health
continuing care
Aerial photo of the Kiknu long-term care home

The design of Kiknu is in the shape of a turtle, which represents the Indigenous reference to Turtle Island and is part of the seven sacred teachings. (Communications Nova Scotia)

NOTE: More photos of the Kiknu long-term care home are available at:

Mi’kmaw elders and seniors across the province now have access to long-term care in a Mi’kmaw community.

A new 48-room home named Kiknu, a Mi’kmaw word meaning “our home,” in Eskasoni is the first in the province to be built in a First Nations community. An event to mark the home’s opening was held today, April 17, and people start moving in next week.

“This new home will provide more culturally responsive care to Mi’kmaw seniors from across Nova Scotia, giving them a home surrounded by and supported by their community,” said Barbara Adams, Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care. “The structural and spiritual elements truly represent a community wrapping its arms around its seniors and providing them with an inviting and welcoming place to receive care.”

Mi’kmaw culture has been embedded into many aspects of the home, including the building’s turtle shape, which represents the Indigenous reference to Turtle Island, as North America is known.

The building’s central gathering space includes seven poles, representing the Mi’kmaw districts in the region and the seven sacred teachings of the Mi’kmaq, and a graphical representation of a healing circle, where traditional ceremonies will be held. The design and operations of the home were guided by discussions with elders in the community.

Photo of poles and representation of healing circle in gathering area at Kiknu long-term care home

The gathering space at Kiknu's entrance (Communications Nova Scotia)

The home is also providing economic opportunities for the people of Eskasoni and surrounding communities, from construction to the delivery of care and programs.

The new home is owned by Eskasoni Mi’kmaw Nation. Eskasoni and Shannex, in partnership, will operate and manage the home to reflect the cultural values of the community. The Department of Seniors and Long-Term Care provides the licence to operate the home and an annual operating budget, which covers expenses such as mortgage payments and the staffing required to provide care.

The Kiknu long-term care home is part of the Province’s multi-year, phased plan that will see 5,700 new and improved single long-term care rooms built by 2032.

Building and improving more long-term care rooms is part of Action for Health, the Province’s strategic plan to improve healthcare. Building and renovating new facilities with single-bed rooms and ensuring seniors live with dignity and can age well are also commitments in the Seniors and Long-Term Care Minister’s mandate.


“I am profoundly proud to be a part of and witness the opening of Kiknu, the very first Mi’kmaq-owned and operated long-term care home, with the help of our partner Shannex. This facility stands as a testament to our community's resilience, care and commitment to providing a culturally nurturing environment for our residents. Kiknu embodies our values and traditions, ensuring that our elders receive the respect, love and care they deserve while staying connected to their culture, heritage and, most importantly, community. This is a significant milestone for our community; we have created 75 jobs and are serving our people. I believe it will serve as a beacon of hope and unity for generations to come.”
— Chief Leroy Denny, Eskasoni First Nation

“We’re honoured to support Eskasoni in the creation and opening of this warm, welcoming and culturally significant home for their community. The vast majority of Kiknu team members are from Eskasoni, which makes this home even more special. They will be able to provide exceptional care and support for community elders while keeping Indigenous traditions strong.”
— Jason Shannon, President, Shannex

“We are proud to celebrate the grand opening of Kiknu with the community in Eskasoni. This facility will be the first of its kind in Nova Scotia to surround elders and seniors with Mi’kmaw culture and traditions while they receive 24-hour care including nursing services, medication management and personal care.”
— Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney–Victoria, on behalf of Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities

Quick Facts:

  • Kiknu is pronounced “GIG-new” (with a hard G)
  • Mi’kmaw elders and seniors from the 13 Mi’kmaw communities in the province who choose Kiknu as their preferred home will be given priority placement
  • people are scheduled to begin moving in on Tuesday, April 23
  • at Nova Scotia Community College’s Pictou campus beginning this fall, a Mi’kmaw cohort of practical nursing students will learn with curriculum that was developed with a Mi’kmaw and Indigenous lens; Eskasoni is offering prerequisite courses through Cape Breton University’s school of nursing
  • the Province and federal government shared the construction costs of the home, with the Province contributing $11.6 million and the federal government contributing $19.6 million

Additional Resources:

Progress updates on long-term care builds:

News release – New Practical Nursing Program Will Train 30 L’nu Students:

Action for Health:

Mandate letter for the Minister of Seniors and Long-Term Care:

Other than cropping, CNS photos are not to be altered in any way.