March – Forerunner of Spring
1 – 1973 – March issue of the Micmac News reports that Chief Charlie Labrador of Acadia Band finally gets Indian status after a five-year struggle.
2 – 2017 – 44th Annual Wallace Bernard Native Youth Hockey Tournament opens at the Membertou Sports & Wellness Centre.
3 – 1960 – By an Order in Council the single “Micmac Band” is divided into eleven bands in Nova Scotia, with lands set aside specifically for their use. Prior to that all reserve lands in the province are for the benefit of the single “Micmac Band.”
4 – 1917 – Thirty-four young Mi’kmaw men from the Lennox Island reserve travel to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to enlist in the army to serve in World War I.
2014 – The Grand Council celebrates the 50th anniversary of the death of the late Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy. He is honoured for his many accomplishments and his leadership, and Chief Leroy Denny makes the following statement: “On behalf of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, Eskasoni Band Council, and the family of the Late Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy we call upon the Province of Nova Scotia on this the 50th anniversary of the death of Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy to correct an injustice to the Mi’kmaw people done in 1929. In 1929, despite the terms of our Mi’kmaw Treaties our Grand Chief was charged and convicted of trapping muskrats. In 1985 the Supreme Court of Canada recognized that the treaty of 1752 was still valid and that the decision in the 1929 Sylliboy case was wrong. As Mi’kmaq we understand that nothing can undo the damage created by the dismissal of our treaties in 1929, but ask that we give the Family, the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, and the Mi’kmaw Nation closure by giving an official Pardon to our late Grand Chief. It is important in moving forward with the reconciliation of our Mi’kmaw rights that we make amends for historical wrongs, in hopes of creating a better future for all Mi’kmaq and all Nova Scotians.”
6 – 1990 – The conviction of three Mi’kmaq for fishing illegally was quashed by a five – judge appeal panel, which said native fishing rights have never been renounced and pre-date treaties. The men involved were Thomas Frank Sylliboy from Afton and David Denny and Lawrence John Paul from Eskasoni.
7 – 1760 – Colonel Frye, writing from Fort Cumberland to the Governor of Nova Scotia says, “a French priest came with two Indian Chiefs, Paul Lawrence and Augustine Michael have received their submissions for themselves and for their tribe, to His Britannic Majesty, and sent them to Halifax have likewise received the submissions of two other Chiefs, who I dealt with as before mentioned, and was in hopes I had no more treaties to make with the savages…but I was mistaken, for there would be a great many more upon the same business, as soon as their spring hunting was over, and upon my inquiring how many, he gave me a list of fourteen Chiefs…I was surprised to hear of such a number of Indian Chiefs in this part of America..and that they were all of one nation…”.
8 – 2001 – Micmac Maliseet Nations News reports Tonia Sylliboy is awarded the Medal of Bravery for her efforts in rescuing two boys from drowning. Her father Maxim lost his life during the rescue attempt and is awarded the Medal of Bravery posthumously by the Governor General. Moran and Arlene Sylliboy also accept a posthumous Medal of Bravery on behalf of their daughter Anastasia, who died in an attempt to rescue two boys on July 15, 1999, at Castle Bay beach.
2001 – Nova Scotia Provincial Court finds 35 Mi’kmaq guilty of cutting logs on Crown land. The case would be appealed the following month.
9 – 1951 – The Chronicle Herald reports that 93-year old Mi’kmaw Joseph C. Cope died Wednesday (March 7) in Shubenacadie. Cope had been a photographer, prospector, and one of Nova Scotia’s most renowned citizens. His father, Peter Cope, had met with Queen Victoria before Confederation to discuss Mi’kmaw issues.
10 – 1760 – Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed by Governor and Commander in Chief of Nova Scotia and Paul Laurent, Chief of the Le Heve tribe of Indians at Halifax.
11 – 1989 – Four Mi’kmaw students are inducted into the University College of Cape Breton Honours Society, Na Gaisgich: Douglas Brown, husband and wife Patrick and Eleanor (neé Paul) Johnson, and Joe B. Marshall.
2013 – Shelly Young of Eskasoni and Jean Sock of Elsipogtog end their 11 day hunger strike after meeting with Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs. They convince the chiefs to halt negotiations with the federal and provincial governments on a framework agreement until more community consultation can take place.
12 – 1992 – Launch of the book, L’nu and Indians We’re Called by Rita Joe is held at the Micmac Heritage Gallery in Halifax.
2011 – Olive Patricia Dickason, Metis historian and author of Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples dies on this day. Awarded the Order of Canada in 1996, Dickason’s writings portrayed the importance of Indigenous communities and their role in Canada’s evolution, particularly its economy. Dickason also received a lifetime achievement award from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. Her friend, Stephen J. Augustine, of the Museum of Civilization gives the eulogy.
13 – 1978 – Helen Martin receives an award from the province of Nova Scotia for exemplary volunteer service and significant contribution to the community. She is the daughter of Chief Ben Christmas of Membertou.
14 – 1976 – Annie Mae Aquash is buried at Wounded Knee.
15 – 1855 – The Christian Messenger prints a letter from Silas Rand in which he speaks of the Europeans’ treatment of the Mi’kmaq: “We seize upon their country. We rob them of their lands. We drive them from their homes.”
1932 – Rita Joe is born in Whycocomagh, Cape Breton Island. She will become a leading Mi’kmaw poet and author, gaining both national and international recognition.
1994 – Main courtroom at the Annapolis Royal Court House is dedicated in the name of Grand Chief Membertou. Current Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy makes the dedication and Mi’kmaw film maker Catherine Martin performs the gathering song.
16 – 1991 – Four Mi’kmaw students are honoured for outstanding academic achievement at University College of Cape Breton at the 9th Annual Honours Society Banquet: Katani Julian, Patrick Johnson, Noel Johnson, and Paul James Prosper.
17 – Pa’tliksite’wimk – St. Patrick’s Day 1971 – Federal government’s White Paper is withdrawn because of determined opposition from Indigenous communities across Canada.
1989 – First Wally Bernard Memorial Youth Hockey Tournament takes place March 17 – 19.
1990 – The Confrontation of Micmac and European Civilizations by Daniel N. Paul is published by the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs (now out of print).
18 – 1888 – Josephine Luxey is born at Bear River. A daughter of Louie and Mary Luxey, she was a skilled craftsperson. Married to Jim Pictou in 1906, she was widowed in 1918 and later married Winfred Robinson. Josephine Robinson made and sold baskets all her life and often walked through southern Nova Scotia to sell her wares. She celebrated her 100th birthday in 1988 – a strong Mi’kmaw woman who triumphed over a childhood condition that left her deaf and mute for 93 years, from the age of seven onward!
1947 – Joseph Arthur Francis is born on Lennox Island, P.E.I. He would go on to be awarded the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation, Purple Heart, and Bronze Star for “heroic achievement.” He served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps and in 1967 was wounded twice.
19 – 1842 – The province of Nova Scotia passes an act to provide for the “Instruction and Permanent Settlement of Indians.” Joseph Howe is appointed Indian Agent.
1939 – On a Sunday night Noel Julian and three other children run away from Shubenacadie Residential School. In a letter to Indian Agent W.J. Cameron, Rev. Jeremiah Mackey writes, “On Monday morning the RCMP picked up their trail on the other side of the River, and we traveled miles after them. Whenever they found themselves near the main highway, they went back into the woods. I am getting over a cold and all this traveling on Sunday and Monday, getting overheated and coming back and sitting in the car, has given me another, so I am in bed today. There is no need to tell you what to do if they turn up in your agency. This is the fifth time for Noel Julian in the last two years, and I feel that Saint Patrick’s Home is the only place for that imbecile.”
2008 – Keptin Frank Nevin of Indian Brook passes away and the Grand Council loses an esteemed member in ‘Walking Eagle.’
20 – 1842 – Grand Chief John Denny Jr. is born in Eskasoni. He was able to read Mi’kmaw hieroglyphs and was a noted prayer leader.
2007 – Mi’kmaw poet and recipient of the Order of Canada, Rita Joe, dies in hospital at age 75. The legacy of her writing however, remains: “‘I am gone, the word is all that is left.’”
21 – 2015 – Cape Breton University student Velvet Paul receives the first Patrick Johnson Aboriginal Student Leadership Award for demonstrating exceptional capacity for leadership and involvement among her peers and in the CBU community at a Multiversity Cultural Gala held in Sydney, Nova Scotia.
22 – 1925 – The Sunday Leader shows photograph of “Dr.” Jeremiah Lone Cloud with his son and nine partridges shot in a single day between Elmsdale and Guysborough Road. The photo was made into a postcard, as were a number of photographs of Mi’kmaq in the 1920s.
1971 – Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jean Chretien is in Membertou to sign an agreement bringing municipal services to the reserve, the first agreement of its kind in Canada.
1989 – National Council of Mi’kmaw Chiefs signs the Mi’kmaq Declaration of Rights in Moncton. The historic meeting was the first since 1776 – 213 years earlier. Its demands included the Mi’kmaw right to self-government, treaty recognition, Mi’kmaw title to land, and the right to educate Mi’kmaw children in the ways of the Mi’kmaq. Twenty chiefs including Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. and Head Chief Peter Barlow sign.
23 – 1672 – Nicholas Deny’s Geographical Description of the Coasts of North Americaincludes this assessment of the Mi’kmaq: “They refused nothing to one another”.
24 – The March 1994 issue of the Micmac Maliseet Nations News shows Anthony Morris of Eskasoni singing, with the caption, “Maintains the title of ‘keeper of the longest held note in a Mi’kmaw chant”.
25 – 1987 – Noted Mi’kmaw healer Jessie Gould passes away on this date.
26 – 1997 – The Nova Scotia Court of Appeal unanimously dismisses the appeal brought by Donald Marshall Jr. on his lower court conviction on commercial fishing charges. It would take two years for the Supreme Court of Canada to rule in Marshall’s favour.
2007 – A funeral for Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe is held on a sunny Monday at Eskasoni Holy Family Parish Church. Over 500 people attend the ceremony to say farewell to the much loved and respected “poet laureate” of the Mi’kmaq.
27 – 1945 – Annie Mae Pictou Maloney Aquash is born in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.
1991 – The March issue of the Micmac News reports that a Mi’kmaw grammar called Micmac Grammar of Father Pacifique reworked by Bernie Francis and John Hewson has been published. Hewson translated the material from French to English while Francis applied the Smith-Francis Orthography he and Doug Smith devised in 1980 to the work.
2001 – Catherine Martin’s film, “Spirit Wind” premieres on national television on the Vision Network.
28 – 1966 – Ben E. Christmas, chief of Membertou, dies. He was also the father of noted women’s rights activist Helen Martin.
1990 – The Native Council of Nova Scotia holds the first meeting of what would become The Nova Scotia Native Seniors Group in Truro. Attendees included Genevieve Lowe, Ellen Robinson, Mary Brooks, and Doris Peters.
29 – 1982 – Donald Marshall Jr. is released from Dorchester Prison to begin a conditional 6-month day parole.
30 – 1931 – 100-year-old Chief Ben Pictou of Bear River dies on this date. Pictou was once saved from drowning by a dog that dragged him to shore when his canoe overturned on Grand Lake. Pictou is also credited with killing a bear in a stream while armed only with a hatchet.
1983 – Federal Indian Affairs Minister gives a copy of the Order in Council to Chief Alex Christmas declaring 46 acres of land purchased from Sydney as reserve land. This was the first time in Canadian history that land annexed to a reserve was not part of a treaty commitment or land claim settlement.
31 – 1975 – Union of Nova Scotia Indians Year End Combined Statement of Revenue & Expenditure reads: Total Revenue – $1,067,235. Total Expenditure – $1,081,737. Excess – $14,502.
2001 – Daniel N. Paul is appointed to the Nova Scotia Police Commission; on this same date seven years earlier he had been made a Justice of the Peace, the first Mi’kmaw named to that position in Nova Scotia.
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