October – Animal Fattening Time
1 – Kisaknutmamkewey Na’kwek – Treaty Day 1749 – Governor Cornwallis, in a Council meeting, gives this response to a Mi’kmaw declaration of war: “to declare war formally against the Micmac Indians would be a manner to own them a free and independent people, whereas they ought to be treated as so many Banditti Ruffians, or Rebels.”
1944 – St. Anne’s Mission Church is established in Membertou by funds raised by community members. Chief Ben Christmas spearheads fund drive through his ticket sales.
2000 – Historic plaque ceremony takes place at Kejimkujik to celebrate Mi’kmaw habitation in the area.
2002 – Tripartite Forum ratifies the Smith-Francis Orthography as the official Mi’kmaw writing system.
2007 – Daniel N. Paul is awarded the Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Elder Award, presented to him by the Grand Chief’s widow, Caroline Marshall, and Nova Scotia Premier Rodney Mac Donald. Paul receives the award in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contribution to the Mi’kmaw community and to Nova Scotia.
2016 – The theme of Mi’kmaq History Month is Wi’kipatmu’k Mi’kmawey – Honouring of the Mi’kmaw Way. The poster this year features the idea of Reconciliation and Resilience.
2 – 1749 – Governor Cornwallis issues orders to “annoy, distress, take or destroy the Savage commonly called Micmac,” and offers a reward of 10 guineas for every Mi’kmaw taken or killed.
1998 – New high-tech high school is opened in Eskasoni by Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Jane Stewart.
2002 – Daniel N. Paul becomes the first Mi’kmaw to be inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotia government’s press release states that Paul is a passionate writer who gives a voice to his people by revealing a past that the standard histories have chosen to ignore, and by bringing new understanding and perspective to the past, he seeks to teach all people what damage racism can do.
3 – 1829 – In the Minutes of Council, it is noted Lord Dalhousie wrote to the Legislative Council to figure out a plan “to protect [Mi’kmaw lands] from encroachment and trespass the Indians now complaining that a great part of their land had been settled by intruders, and that others had stripped them of their wood.”
1991 – Official opening of the multi-million dollar resort complex at Kingsclear.
4 – 1900 – Mi’kmaw flag is raised for the first time in Restigouche, Quebec.
1971 – John Leonard Toney and Vincent “Frenchy” Bernard begin their duties as police in Eskasoni. They have no car, no office, no supplies, and no weapons.
1986 – Helen Martin retires from the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association after 15 years of service.
2013 – Dalhousie University awards Daniel N. Paul an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree. Paul gives the Convocation Address which includes this paragraph: “In 1938, the year I was born a status Indian on Shubenacadie Indian Reserve, we were classified by the British North America Act as Wards of the Canadian Crown, a status that gave us the same legal rights as drunks and insane persons. Resulting from the trust responsibilities for Indians and Indian lands that the BNA Act placed on the Canadian government, it, in 1876, enacted the Indian Act to provide it with the legal means to responsibly administer its constitutional responsibilities. Among the Act’s racist provisions was one that made it illegal for lawyers to work for us without first obtaining permission from the Federal Crown. All federal Indian Affairs programs, including education and health, were begot by politicians and bureaucrats with one goal in mind – solve the Indian Problem, assimilate the Tribes out of existence.”
5 – 1985 – The October issue of the Micmac News reports Alan Toney of Cambridge shot a rare 29 point buck in the first week of the hunting season in the Annapolis Valley.
2004 – Donald M. Julien of Millbrook receives the Order of Nova Scotia.
6 – 1981 – In October of this year at the request of Pictou Landing Chief Raymond Francis, Daniel N. Paul sets in motion the legal action that would later see the band awarded additional lands and 35 million dollars in compensation for pollution at Boat Harbour.
7 – 1763 – King George III’s Royal Proclamation protects Mi’kmaw hunting grounds. It states the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia would not be “…molested or disturbed…”.
1985 – Fifteen basket ‘peddlers’ take part in an historic train ride through Nova Scotia to commemorate the practice of Mi’kmaq who rode the trains to sell their wares from door to door. Some of the people taking part were: Victor Christmas, Keith Christmas, Angeline Phillips, Pearl Googoo, Mary Bernard, Rita Smith, William and Alice Googoo, Rita Roadknight and her mother Nancy Christoff, Caroline Gould, Margaret Johnson, Martha Lewis, Mary Rose Gould, and Mary Paul.
2011 – Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Morley Googoo meets with the National Panel on First Nation Elementary & Secondary Education. Googoo holds the AFN portfolio on education.
2016 – Essissoqnikewey Siawa’sik L’nuey Kina’matinewo’kuom School opens in Eskasoni. It is the first fully Mi’kmaw speaking school in Canada, providing its students with a Mi’kmaw language immersion program.
8 – 1985 – 97 year old Nancy Christoff of Indianbrook shares traditional Mi’kmaw culture with 5 year old great-granddaughter Sherry Nevin at Arts & Trade Show in Halifax, October 8-10.
1994 – Lorne Simon, 33, of Big Cove passes away. His novel Switches and Stoneswould be published later that fall by Theytus Books in British Columbia. Lorne had been awarded the Simon Lucas Scholarship for Achievement in Creative Expression.
2008 – The late Nora Madeline Bernard of Millbrook receives a posthumous Order of Nova Scotia. Founder and president of the Shubenacadie Residential School Association in 1987, she was also instrumental in launching a class action suit on behalf of residential school survivors.
9 – 1910 – Father Pacifique blesses the new prayer house at Eskasoni – The Chapel of the Holy Family. Copies of historic documents in Mi’kmaw and English are laid under its cornerstone.
1986 – Attorney General Ron Giffen announces a public judicial inquiry into wrongful conviction of Donald Marshall Jr.
10 – 1976 – “Micmac Magazine” radio show goes on air on CHER Radio in Sydney and CIGO in Port Hawkesbury. A half-hour show, it is hosted by Conrad Paul of Sydney.
1977 – There is currently no Mi’kmaw presence at the Fortress of Louisbourg and officials say that if the Mi’kmaq can provide historical documentation, they will consider employing Mi’kmaq as animators.
1999 – Talented Mi’kmaw fiddler and performer Lee Cremo passes away.
11 – 1872 – Joseph Julien is born in New Glasgow, N.S. to Noel and Madeline (neé Sylliboy) Julien. He would be a leading figure on the Mi’kmaw religious and political scene until his death at age 85.
1993 – Official opening of the new wigwam shaped church at Indian Island, New Brunswick. The community had been without a church for nearly 37 years.
12 – 1972 – First exhibit of the costumes, tools, crafts, and paintings of the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Iroquois, Woods Cree, Plains Cree, Sioux, Blackfoot, Nootka, and Inuit peoples opens at the Nova Scotia Museum.
13 – The October 1996 issue of the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Nations News features photographs by Clayton Paul. One is of Indian Brook resident Norman Brooks, who won a job in a logging camp when he was 15 by cutting down ten more trees than the camp foreman!
14 – 1923 – The Sunday Leader reports Charlottetown Mi’kmaw Barney Francis, competing for the Abegweit Amateur Athletic Association made history by “registering a thrilling upset victory at the mile race at the Canadian Track & Field Championships in Halifax.” His time of 4:32:05 upset the previous Maritime record and was to stand until 1938.
15 – 1982 – Dalhousie University Arts Centre is the venue for the first Atlantic Indian Arts & Crafts Festival.
2008 – Len Thomah Sr., of Woodstock, New Brunswick, dies today after a long struggle with cancer. He was one of the founding members of the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nation Chiefs Secretariat and will be remembered for his positive energy and attitude.
2011 – Executive Director of the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre in Halifax, Gordon King, retires after 32 years of service.
16 – 1989 – Eugene Denny bags first moose under the one-year conservation agreement. The moose weighed 970 pounds and had a 32-point rack.
1998 – The Micmac Native Friendship Centre in Halifax celebrates its 25th anniversary.
17 – 1986 – Holland College, P.E.I. graduates nine Indigenous constables from the Atlantic Police Academy.
2016 – The Truro campus of the Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture officially changes the name of River Road to Sipu Awti during Mi’kmaq History Month. Earlier in the year the Grand Council flag is permanently installed on campus to acknowledge it is situated in traditional and unceded Mi’kmaw territory.
18 – 1749 – Excerpt from a letter transcribed by Père Maillard from the Mi’kmaq to the government of Nova Scotia: “The place where you are building dwellings, where you are now building a fort, as it were, to enthrone yourself, this land of which you wish to make yourself now absolute master, this land belongs to me. I have come from it as certainly as the grass, it is the very place of my birth and of my dwelling, this land belongs to me. It is God who has given it to me to be my country forever.”
19 – 1741 – Governor De Quesnel awards medals and commissions to Mi’kmaw chiefs – helpful allies against the English.
1744 – Massachusetts Governor William Shirley declares war on the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet in response to a request from the Governor of Nova Scotia, Jean Paul Mascarene. A bounty is offered for the scalps of Mi’kmaw and Maliseet men, women, and even children.
1993 – Chief Noel Doucette of Chapel Island is reported in the Chronicle Heraldas asking the Nova Scotia Transport minister to share the cost for a sidewalk after three people are injured in three separate traffic accidents October 16, 17, and 18. Despite speed limits there is a tendency for vehicles to speed along the stretch of highway.
1997 – The Nova Scotia Museum launches its web site “Mi’kmaq Portraits Collection”.
20 – 1987 – As of October 20, 1987, after passage of Bill C-31, band membership at Afton rises by 104 members, going from 476 as of December 31, 1986 to 537 by October, 1987.
2001 – Ada Benoit of Miawpukek, Newfoundland, becomes the first Indigenous person to graduate from the Dalhousie University Nurse Practitioner Program.
21 – 1988 – Angry picketers demonstrate outside a Nova Scotia cabinet meeting in Truro to protest violations of Mi’kmaw treaty rights. President and Vice President of the Nova Scotia Native Council, Viola Robinson and Dwight Dorey lead the protest. Mr. Dorey is resplendent in a suit of prison stripes.
2018 – Respected Mi’kmaw Elder, educator, writer, and role model, Murdena Marshall, passes away at her home in Eskasoni. Known as a champion of Mi’kmaw culture and language, Murdena was a driving force in education in schools in Unama’ki and at Cape Breton University where she helped to conceive the Integrative Science Program with her husband Albert Marshall and Dr. Cheryl Bartlett. When she graduated from Harvard in 1988 Murdena carried an eagle feather “of accomplishment” on stage, and accomplished she truly was. Her knowledge of traditional ways and her willingness to share this knowledge will be greatly missed.
23 – 2016 – Historic wrong made right: a monument is unveiled on King’s Road in Sydney on the site of the former Kun’tewiktuk reserve whose residents were forced to move to the Membertou site in the early part of the 20th century. The memorable evening begins with unveiling of the monument near the Medical Arts Building, a candlelight walk from King’s Road to Membertou, and a feast for community members and friends in the Convention Centre. With the acquisition of the property Chief Terry Paul says Membertou has “come full circle”.
25 – 2007 – Launch of the book The Stone Canoe: Two Lost Mi’kmaq Texts by Elizabeth Paul, Peter Sanger, and Alan Syliboy takes place at Cape Breton University as part of a Maritime tour.
2016 – Aonach /Mawio’mi: Sharing Our Paths conference takes place in Wagmatcook on this day. Intended to promote knowledge sharing between Mi’kmaq and Gaels, participants include hereditary chief and dean of Unama’ki College, Stephen J. Augustine; executive director of Gaelic Affairs, Lewis Mac Kinnon; Canada Research Chair in Musical Traditions, Heather Sparling; treaty education lead with Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, Jaime Battiste; Wagmatcook chief, Norman Bernard; and CEO of the Gaelic College and former premier of Nova Scotia, Rodney Mac Donald.
2017 – At a gala held at the Art Museum, University of Toronto, the $50,000. grand prize given annually to the most outstanding artist in the country under the age of 40 is awarded to Mi’kmaw artist Ursula Johnson from Eskasoni. She is the first artist from Atlantic Canada to win the award since it was instituted in 2002.
26 – 1971 – The Cape Breton Post notes that Mi’kmaw children are advised not to speak Mi’kmaw in school. With the resurgence of interest in Mi’kmaw culture, a mere 13 years later the language is promoted and taught to children at the school in Potlotek, demonstrating that things can change.
1995 – Josephine Peck from Wagmatcook becomes the recipient of the Stephen Hamilton Outstanding Achievement in Education Award.
2001 – Chief Lawrence Paul and Fisheries Minister Herb Dhaliwal cut the ribbon to officially open Millbrook’s new 1.25 million dollar wharf in Sheet Harbour. It can house up to 10 boats and has ice making capability.
2017 – The community of Bear River opens their K-2 school.
2018 – A new harbour ferry is unveiled at the Halifax waterfront named in honour of the Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe from Eskasoni. The “Poet Laureate” of the Mi’kmaq, Joe passed away in 2007 but her literary legacy remains strong.
27 – 1996 – Rita (Toney) Smith passes away having served as chief of Annapolis-Horton for three terms. She and her husband Abraham were also known for their skill in basketry. Their work is displayed at the Indian Arts Centre, Ottawa.
2011 – Viola Robinson is appointed lead negotiator for the Kwilmu’km Maw-klusuaqn Negotiations Office by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
2016 – Membertou band senior advisor Dan Christmas is appointed to the Senate by the Trudeau government. Christmas served with the Union of Nova Scotia Indians for 15 years and is widely recognized for his work in Aboriginal and treaty rights, justice, education, health care, and the environment. An honorary Doctor of Laws from Dalhousie University, Christmas is also the recipient of the National Excellence in Aboriginal Leadership Award and the Sparks Award from Novaknowledge. Currently chair of the Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI), Dan Christmas has given steadfast and meaningful service over the years, including membership on the committee that produced the Ivany Report. He is married to the well-known artist Arlene “Dozay” Christmas.
28 – 1993 – Donald Marshall Jr. is formally charged with illegally fishing eels on August 24, of this year.
1999 – Donald Marshall Jr. is quoted in the Globe & Mail, “We belong on this land, we’re going to live on this land, and we’re going to stay on this land.”
29 – 1838 – In response to a questionnaire on the number of Mi’kmaq and their living conditions in Cape Breton, Joseph Howe writes: “There are about 130 families in the island – the Micmac tribe – generally degraded – attributed to the loss of their hunting grounds – the aged and helpless are very miserable.”
30 – 2001 – Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Robert Nault publishes a piece in the Halifax Herald advising replacement of the Indian Act with a “First Nations Governance Act.”
2017 – The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls begins hearing testimony from affected families in Membertou, Nova Scotia. Many of the participants attended a community feast the Sunday evening before.
2017 – The RCMP in Nova Scotia announces all victims, witnesses, and officers will be able to swear a legal oath on an eagle feather – a first in Canada!
31 – Skite’kmujuia’timk – Hallowe’en 1872 – Joseph Julien is born in Pictou County. He would later become chief of Membertou in 1911 and chief of Millbrook in 1917. He died February 6, 1957.
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