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Mi'kmaq History Month

Thirty-four years ago, Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. invited all Mi’kmaq to observe October 1 as Treaty Day. Today, this has become a time to celebrate and honour the relationship between the Mi’kmaq Nation and citizens of Nova Scotia.

The basis of this relationship is found in the series of Treaties signed in 1725. The Peace and Friendship Treaty was signed in Halifax, and it was agreed that on October 1, the Mi’kmaq and the Crown would gather and renew their friendship as outlined in the living document. Almost 300 years later, this commitment remains relevant to all citizens and is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and in our Constitution.

We are all Treaty people

The 1985 ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada (Simon v. the Queen) confirmed the validity of the Treaty of 1752 signed between the Mi’kmaq Nation and the Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia. This ruling not only upheld Mi’kmaq Treaty rights, but also confirmed the unique relationship that exists between the Mi’kmaq and the Crown, an agreement that is maintained in the Covenant Chain, a series of interconnected treaties of mutual consent.

In Nova Scotia, we are all Treaty people. As a College we understand the significance of the relationship, and the rights and responsibilities of all Nova Scotians found in the sacred Peace and Friendship Treaties. 

Legislation recognizes Mi’kmaw as province’s first language 

In the Spring of 2022, legislation was created in partnership with the Mi’kmaq recognizing Mi’kmaw as Nova Scotia’s first language. The Mi’kmaw Language Act commits the Province to working closely with Mi’kmaw communities and organizations such as Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey to develop a language revitalization strategy. This legislation came into effect on October 1, 2022. 

Theme: Beadwork and the art of beading

Treaty Day also marks the start of Mi’kmaq History Month. In 2022, the theme is Mi’kmaw Beadwork and the Art of Beading. The website notes: “As Mi’kmaq History Month is about educating and celebrating our history and culture, this year we honour and celebrate our beading masters who have carried on our beading traditions, designs and patterns through their ceremonies and art.”

This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about Mi’kmaq history, culture, and values, and to strengthen our unique relationship based on a mutual understanding of the transformative change to create equity and our responsibilities to each other.

Find out more by visiting our Indigenous Resource Guide created by NSCC’s Library employees.

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