November – Frost Month
1 – Nepkik Alasutmelsewujik – Prayers for the Dead – All Saints Day
1993 – Under the authority of the Grand Council, Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy and 13 members of Afton, Membertou, and Shubenacadie participate in a Mi’kmaq Atlantic Salmon Harvest on the Margaree River in Cape Breton. Department of Fisheries and Oceans had offered the Mi’kmaq 1,000 salmon from the Margaree if they would sign communal license agreements. The Mi’kmaq refuse to sign, choosing instead to take no more than 15 salmon because of declining stocks.
2017 – Senator Dan Christmas gives a lecture in the New Dawn series on Cape Breton Island sovereignty. Christmas is the first Mi’kmaw named to the Canadian Senate.
1984 – Charles Blaise Young’s deer kill scores 172 Boone & Crockett Record Club points – an unofficial record. Elders call the animal a ‘swamp buck’ which means he could eat well and easily conceal himself, thus accounting for his large size.
1998 – The Assembly of Nova Scotia Chiefs declare the planned tree clearing associated with the Sable Gas pipeline is an infringement on Aboriginal title and may disturb sacred and archaeologically significant sites.
2018 – At Cape Breton University’s fall Convocation held at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre, the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, is given to noted Mi’kmaw activist Lottie Johnson for her many years of service in advancing Mi’kmaw causes. This is a recognition richly deserved by Thunder Woman.
1993 – Nimbus Publishing launches Daniel N. Paul’s ground-breaking book We Were Not the Savages. Nearly 300 people attend the event including Nova Scotia Premier John Savage, who apparently, was one of the Savages. A review by historian Geoffrey Plank describes the book as “…unique, in chronological scope and the story it tells, covering the last three centuries of Mi’kmaq history in detail. It is also extraordinary in the way it presents a distinctive voice [for] the Mi’kmaq…Prior to the appearance of …this book it was common for historians to downplay or even deny the violence inflicted on the Mi’kmaq…by European and Euro-American colonizers. …it is important to recognize that we have far too few histories written by Native American authors – very few indeed that cover as extensive a time span as this book does.”
1994 – Official opening of the Eskasoni Mi’kmaq Recreation Centre. Elder Dan K. Stevens cuts the ribbon to officially open the rink.
2011 – Shirley Bear and Viola Robinson are inducted into the Order of Canada in recognition of their service on behalf of the interests of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
2016 – Pictou Landing officially opens its new band administration building.
1971 – Donald Marshall Jr. is found guilty in the death of Sandy Seale.
1972 – The November issue of the Micmac News reports Clarence Gloade is the lone resident of the community of Gold River. He wonders what will become of the community if the Nova Scotia Department of Highways goes ahead with its planned highway through Gold River.
1985 – Indian Affairs Minister David Crombie tours Eskasoni and is presented with a list of demands.
1973 – Crane Cove Oyster Farm Ltd., which opened in Eskasoni two years earlier, harvests its first crop.
2017 – Liam Bernard and Shane Bernard are awarded the Nova Scotia Medal for Bravery after rescuing two American tourists from a burning truck in the aftermath of a traffic accident.
1925 – Several Mi’kmaw families move from the King’s Road reserve to Caribou Marsh as a result of a 1915 court order.
2017 – The ACCESS Open Minds Youth Space building opens in Eskasoni.
1987 – Sod is turned for a new multi-purpose, $500,000. facility at Millbrook.
11 – Sma’knis Na’kwekm – Remembrance Day –
We recall that during World War I, every eligible Mi’kmaw male in Sydney enlisted. Born in Malagawatch in 1900, William H. Herney, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Herney, served in both World War I and World War II. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew and Adelaide (Ogden) Francis, Andrew Jr., who passed away in Pugwash in 1976, aged 83, also shares the distinction of having served in both World Wars.
1945 – Leo Cope of Millbrook loses his life on the last day of the Second World War.
1985 – War Memorial is unveiled at Membertou inscribed with 178 names of Mi’kmaw veterans of World War I, World War II, and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
1985 – Dr. Marie Battiste is named Woman of the Year by the Sydney Business & Professional Women’s Club.
2019 – Mark Joseph Sark of Listuguj dies in the Campbellton Regional Hospital. Over the years Mark was band manager for both Annapolis Valley and We’koqma’q and director of Gespe’ gewaq Mi’gmaq Resource Council. A graduate of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Mark was an award-winning artist and sculptor who “…while he might have gone about life in a unique way, always tried to do the right thing.”
1990 – First issue of the Micmac Maliseet Nations News is published this month.
1978 – Allison Bernard is elected chief of Eskasoni after an unsuccessful bid in 1976.
2004 – Saint Mary’s University awards Millbrook chief Lawrence Paul an Honorary Doctor of Civil Law Degree.
1995 – Margaret Pictou LaBillois of Eel River Bar is appointed to the Order of Canada.
2018 – CBC News reports the discovery of a new kind of organism so rare that it doesn’t belong in plant or animal kingdoms or any other kingdom of organism classification. Two species of these organisms – hemimastigotes – were found in soil outside of Halifax, Nova Scotia. One has been named Hemimstix kukwesjijk after the “Kukwes,” a hairy, greedy figure in Mi’kmaw legend. Hemimastigotes are so different from other organisms that they form their own “supra-kingdom.” For example, even L’nu and fungi are part of the same supra-kingdom!
1995 – Mi’kmaw Education Authority changes its name to Mi’kmaw Kina’masuti (Mi’kmaw Education).
2000 – Head Chief of New Brunswick, Peter J. Barlow passes away.
2005 – Daniel N. Paul, author of We Were Not the Savages: 21st Century Editionis appointed to the Order of Canada. The introduction statement at the Investment Ceremony states: “Dr. Daniel N. Paul is a powerful and passionate advocate for social justice and the eradication of racial discrimination. As an author, journalist, consultant, and volunteer, he has been an outspoken champion of First Nations communities across Nova Scotia for more than 30 years. The Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, the Mi’kmaq Native Friendship Centre, and the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq have all benefitted from his consensus building skills and commitment to the community. Through his newspaper columns and his book, We Were Not the Savages, he has helped to restore the proud heritage and history of the Mi’kmaw Nation.”
2017 – Chief Terry Paul of Membertou receives the Order of Canada in recognition of his many years of service to his community. During an interview on CBC Radio’s Information Morning Chief Terry comments he is merely accepting the award on behalf of the whole community of Membertou, thus exemplifying the qualities of humility and generosity that are the mark of true leadership.
2017 – The CRTC approves Potlotek Communications Society’s application for a low-powered, class B, native radio station, to be called Mniku Radio, 93.7 FM on your dial.
1997 – Ronald Jacques is elected chief of Listuguj, while sons Paul, Rodney, and Roland are elected as councillors.
2005 – Sister Dorothy Moore, originally from the Mi’kmaw community of Membertou, is officially invested into the Order of Canada.
1794 – Signing of the Jay Treaty by Great Britain and the United States means Mi’kmaq may pass freely across the Canada – U.S. border.
1975 – Supreme Court of Canada upholds 1763 Proclamation in Stephen Isaac case.
2001 – Eskasoni High School students choose Elder Wilfred Prosper as Role Model of the Year, as he is an exemplar of the Mi’kmaw attributes of wisdom, humility, honesty, patience, truth, and love.
2004 – The largest conference centre in Cape Breton officially opens in Membertou. The Membertou Trade & Convention Centre costs $7.2 million and spans 47,000 square feet in total.
2007 – Former chief of Eskasoni Allison Bernard Sr. passes away after an extended battle with cancer. A chief for 22 years, Bernard was instrumental in the creation of social and educational programs in the community.
2019 – Noted Wolastokewey artist Arlene Christi “Dozay” Christmas passes away unexpectedly. A well-known artist, Dozay was the wife of Senator Dan Christmas of Membertou and was working on a mural at the time of her death.
2019 – John Jerome Paul is awarded the Cape Breton University Alumni Award – Friend of Cape Breton University at an awards dinner. John Jerome receives the award in recognition of his three decades of service to education with Cape Breton University and Mi’kmaw communities.
1985 – The Supreme Court of Canada finds in favour of James Simon of Shubenacadie, who appealed his conviction of illegally possessing a rifle and cartridges. He contended the 1752 Treaty exempted him from such prosecution and the Supreme Court concurred.
1996 – Final Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples is made public after being tabled in the House of Commons.
2001 – Archaeologists and staff of Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq find an 11,000 year old scraper on the Mi’kmawey – Debert site. The scraper would have been used to clean caribou hides.
1752 – Treaty is signed by Jean Baptiste Cope (Chief Copit or “Beaver”), Andrew Hadley Martin, Gabriel Martin, and Francoise Jeremie and His Majesty and subjects and the Governor of Nova Scotia Peregrine Thomas Hopson Esquire.
1991 – Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. receives posthumous Tom Miller Award for Human Rights.
1998 – Charges are laid against 22 Mi’kmaq for logging on Crown land in Colchester and Hants Counties, Nova Scotia.
1994 – Prosecutor Michael Paré comments to Mr. Justice John D. Embree: “It is probably inevitable however this case resolves itself, that this case will be on its way to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and perhaps, in all likelihood, on its way to the Supreme Court of Canada.” – regarding the trial stemming from the 1993 illegal fishing charges against Donald Marshall Jr.
2007 – A 10 mile walk from Red Bank to Eel Ground takes place in New Brunswick. The walk is organized by Natasha Patles to begin the healing process as the communities recover from the effects of suicide earlier in the year.
2011 – The book Aboriginal Sport Heroes: Atlantic Canada by Jason Peters is launched at the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John.
2015 – A panel on `Indigenizing the University’ is held at Cape Breton University in light of the recommendations on higher education of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. Panel members are Elder Albert Marshall from Eskasoni, CBU Student Support Officer Janice Basque from We’koqma’q, and Dean of Unama’ki College & Aboriginal Learning at CBU, Stephen J. Augustine from Elsipogtog.
2007 – Membertou welcomes the Cape Breton Regional Police Service – Membertou Division, a seven man squad which replaces the RCMP that had been a presence in the community for the preceding five years.
1982 – Terry Paul and Bernie Francis of Membertou receive awards from the Cape Breton Running Circuit.
1792 – Lt. Governor Macarmick grants Chapel Island to the Mi’kmaq. Chiefs Francis Baske and Michael Tomma receive permission to construct a church there. Baske and Tomma resided in what is now Westmount, Nova Scotia.
2016 – Morley Googoo, Mike Downie, and Pearl Achneeponeskum, sister of Chanie Wenjack, make an announcement on creation of the Gord Downie – Chanie Wenjack Fund Legacy Project at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax. Googoo’s idea for a Legacy Room Project calls on Canadian businesses (particularly in the realm of hospitality) to dedicate rooms in honour of Chanie Wenjack who died in 1966 while trying to run away from a residential school in northern Ontario. Downie’s brother Gord, of the musical group The Tragically Hip produced a 10-song album, graphic novel, and animated film based on Chanie’s affecting story.
1851 – News is received today that Chief Michael Dennie, aged 90, had died earlier in November at Crow Harbour, Guysborough.
1992 – The Burnt Church Training Centre is officially opened by Chief Wilbur Dedam and New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna.
2017 – Benjamin W. Sylliboy of We’koqma’q dies on this day. A keptin on the Grand Council, he was selected as Grand Chief after the death of Donald Marshall Sr. in 1991 and formally elected to the position in 1992 by the Sante’ Mawio’mi. As kji saqmaw he was the sovereign head and spiritual leader of the Sante’ Mawio’mi and of the entire Mi’kmaw Nation, assuming this office for life. He overcame many obstacles to attain this respected position, spending four years at Shubenacadie Residential School, though he preferred to “black out the bad things and just remember the good comradeship” he had with the other boys. Soon after leaving the school he was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent three years in sanitariums in Glace Bay, Kentville, and Point Edward. By the end of his treatment, he had forgotten how to speak Mi’kmaw and it was not until he returned to live among his people that he was able to regain his language. With quiet authority Grand Chief Sylliboy has done much over the years to help improve the circumstances of the Mi’kmaq and promote their nation status. Always an ambassador for peace and friendship, Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy stressed the importance of forgiving one another and as he would say “of holding true to the treaties and Nation to Nation relationships.” His life is an embodiment of the notion that the best leadership is by example.
Return to Book of Days for the Mi’kmaw Year