December – Winter Month

1 –
1979 – Opening of show at Albert White Gallery features wall hangings by Suzanne Swannie based on Mi’kmaw designs executed by Margaret Johnson, Patricia Dennis, Phyllis Denny, Francis Paul, and Marlene Christmas.

1995 – Over 150 Big Cove residents gather at the local school to participate in World Aids Day.

2017 – As the 2017 moose harvest closes, Parks Canada announces 35 moose had been harvested in a “humane and respectful manner” during the four week cull on its defined 20-square-kilometre space on North Mountain.

2 –
1985 – The first meeting of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq takes place with Chief Rita Smith of Glooscap (Horton), Chief Lawrence Paul of Millbrook, Chief Roderick Francis of Pictou Landing, Chief John Knockwood of Shubenacadie, and founding Executive Director Daniel N. Paul. The organization is officially registered 3 days later on December 5, 1985.

3 –
2013 – Mi’kmaw political leader, respected Elder, Grand Council keptin, and former chief of Indian Brook, Reg Malone,y passes away this evening in hospital. A long time proponent and defender of Mi’kmaw rights Maloney will be remembered for his humour and humility as well as his service to Mi’kma’ki.

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5 –
1938 – Daniel N. Paul is born in a small log cabin on Indian Brook reserve. He would go on to become a commissioner of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission and the Nova Scotia Police Commission, founder/publisher of the Mi’kmaq-Maliseet Nation News, founding executive director of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, inductee of both the Order of Nova Scotia and the Order of Canada, columnist for the Halifax Chronicle Herald, and author of We Were Not the Savages, first edition published in 1993, updated twentieth century edition published in 2000, with another updated edition released in 2006 entitled First Nations History – We Were Not the Savages – Third Edition.

2004 – Much loved and respected former journalist, publisher, entrepreneur, and politician Roy Anslem Gould dies in Membertou, Nova Scotia. Founder of the Micmac News, Native Communications Society of Nova Scotia, Native Friendship Centre (Halifax), and one of the founders of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, Roy was also the youngest chief in Canada when he was elected in 1969, and the first Mi’kmaw in Eastern Canada to be named to the Sydney Board of School Commissioners in 1976. Roy was co-ordinator of the annual Treaty Day observances and past co-ordinator of the Wallace Bernard Memorial Youth Hockey Tournament.

2011 – In a television interview on CBC with Peter Mansbridge, Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Shawn Atleo says, “I think this is the notion of being gripped as a country to seize a moment, when perhaps, even out of a crisis the likes of which we have just been learning about in Northern Ontario…we will make sure that we stand not only with them…but will also gravitate to those success stories: the education success that the Mi’kmaq have forged out in Atlantic Canada that are achieving graduation rates pushing 80 per cent…”

6 –
1752 – Treaty Articles of Peace and Friendship renewed in enclosure in letter of Governor Thomas Hopson to the Earl of Holdernesse.

1917 – “Turtle Grove” a Mi’kmaw community at Tuft’s Cove is destroyed by the Halifax Explosion. The history of Tuft’s Cove remains unknown and the village is never re-built. An oil painting of a Mi’kmaw encampment at Tuft’s Cove, circa 1837, still exists, attributable to William Eager (1796-1839). In 2007 Mi’kmaq gather in Dartmouth on this day to remember those who perished.

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8 –
1985 – The Micmac News reports Dr. Paul Robinson, speaking at a Mi’kmaq Association of Cultural Studies Conference, says Mi’kmaq should realize their language is being replaced by English.

2017 – Alwyn Jeddore wins a Vital Cape Breton Excellence Award in the individual category for his work in the preservation and promotion of the Mi’kmaw language.  The award is given to people between the ages of 16 and 40 who have made a substantial contribution in their community.

9 –
1985 – Simon Denny rescues Junior Johnson, who had fallen through the ice at Eskasoni.

10 –
1976 – “No Trespassing” sign erected at 3:15 p.m. at entrance to Membertou is removed 45 minutes later. Discriminatory nature of sign is cited as reason for its removal.

1987 – Premier Brian Peckford of Newfoundland is quoted in the St. John’s Evening Telegram, “The Micmac people were no more Aboriginal to the island of Newfoundland than were the Peckfords, who came here in 1791.” This attitude led to many problems with recognition of Mi’kmaw land claims on the part of the provincial government.

1991 – Noel Raymond Knockwood receives a Meritorious Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Rights at Province House, Halifax.

1992 – The late Chief Richard McEwan is honoured at the 25th Anniversary Dinner of the Human Rights Commission held at the World Trade and Convention Centre. Daughter Judy McEwan accepts a certificate on behalf of the family. McEwan was chief of Bear River First Nation from 1963 – 1975 and died in 1991 at age 83. He compiled a Mi’kmaw dictionary and published the book Memories of a Micmac Life in 1987.

1997 – Danny Christmas of Membertou receives the Tom Miller Human Rights Award at City Hall in Sydney.

2007 – The Bear River community Christmas dinner is held at the Cultural Centre. Chief Theresa Meuse and councillors Holly Meuse and Lorraine Melanson entertain celebrants with a carol sung a capella.

2018 – Vincent “Binchy” Stevens is honored by being named Allister Bernard Memorial High School Role Model of the Year. In attendance this day are many of his six children, 47 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren!

11 –
1976 – Fire destroys St. Anne’s Church at Chapel Island.

12 –
1989 – Chapel Island band enters funding arrangement with the Government of Canada. Days later a $51,000. pumper is purchased to enhance the community’s fire fighting capability. Fire Chief Lindsay Marshall says the converted Ford F450 1.5 ton truck can pump 3,000 gallons of water per minute.

1991 – Judge Graydon Nicholas receives the 1991 Human Rights Award from the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission. Nicholas grew up in Tobique.

1999 – Horton hosts its Elders Christmas Tea and honours past chiefs Louis Peters/ Bear River, Michael Francis/ Annapolis Valley Band, Rita Smith/ Horton, and Joseph Peters/Horton.

1999 – Seymour Doucette of Eskasoni represents Canada at the World Bench Press Championships in Vaasa, Finland. The Mi’kmaw flag is raised among the flags of other participating nations.

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14 –
1853 -The Petition of Francis Paul, Gorman Paul, Louis Paul, and other Mi’kmaq to Queen Victoria says, “The woods have been cut down; the moose and the caribou, the beaver and the bear, and all other animals, have in most places nearly disappeared. The streams no longer yield their former supplies of fish. So that it is now utterly impossible for us to Obtain a livelihood in the way our creator trained us.”

1985 – The film, “Our Lives in Our Hands” produced by Harald Prins and Karen Carter premieres in New York at the Kaufmann Theatre. The film shows traditional basket making among the Aroostook County Mi’kmaq.

1995 – William Julian “Checker” Bernard, age 81, dies in Eskasoni. He was the last surviving WW II veteran in Eskasoni and served for 64 years as Chief of Police for the Grand Council at the St. Anne Mission, Chapel Island.

15 –
1725 – Agreement is signed in Boston ending 3 years of war between Massachusetts, North Hampshire, Nova Scotia, and the Abenaki, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet, and Mi’kmaq.

1964 – A final Christmas party is held for students of the school in the community of Membertou. In 1965, students would move to the non-Indigenous schools in Sydney.

2015 – The Truth and Reconciliation Commission releases its final, 4,000+ page report on this day. Justice Murray Sinclair says “Reconciliation is about forging and maintaining respectful relationships. There are no shortcuts.” The TRC’s logo shows seven flames in a circle, each representing one of the Seven Sacred Teachings: Truth, Humility, Honesty, Wisdom, Respect, Courage, and Love.

16 –
1971 – The December issue of the Micmac News reports the jackpot at the Eskasoni Parish Bingo is $460. and rising!

17 –
1986 – Nova Scotia Aboriginal Affairs Minister Edmund Morris says the province will oppose Mi’kmaw sovereignty, comparing the Mi’kmaq to Separatists in Quebec.

2008 – Keptin Walter Daniel Denny of Eskasoni passes away at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital on the anniversary of his mother, Clara (Gould) Denny’s, death. His father was Keptin Levi R. Denny.

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19 –
1995 – Halifax District School Board passes a motion to implement the first Aboriginal, Black, and Visible Ethnocultural Anti-Racism Policy in Nova Scotia.

20 –
1985 –The Micmac News celebrates its 15th anniversary at a party for past and present employees.

21 –
1878 – Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper features a drawing rendered by H.A. Ogden depicting the presentation of Mi’kmaw men to the Marquis of Lorne in the Council Chamber of the Provincial Building in Halifax, November 26, 1878.

22 –
1955 – Mrs. Sally Sark of Pictou Landing, upon returning from a selling trip in Amherst, loses her footpath in a blinding snowstorm and perishes. Known as “Old Sally,” Mrs. Sack was 101 years old. When asked about her health Old Sally said, “I am an old tree. I withstood the storms almost 100 winters, but my eyes are a little dim and my hands are becoming lazy, and if God calls me, I will go like a wind.”

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25 – Nipialasutmamk – Christmas Day.
1975 – The Boston Globe reports the 250-year-old remains of an Indigenous child currently on display at the Phillips Academy’s Peabody Museum will be buried in a Waponoag graveyard. This was largely due to the lobbying of Mi’kmaw Gill Gallant who said, “Speaking as an Indian for Indian people, we’re not extinct and we don’t like being treated as though we were.”

2004 – Kji Keptin Alexander Denny passes away. Grand Captain since 1968, he was a founding member of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, National Indian Brotherhood, and recipient of the Tom Longboat Award, to list but a few of his accomplishments. A proponent of Mi’kmaw language and culture throughout his life, he leaves behind a significant legacy for his people and a sense of loss for the many who knew and loved him.

26 – Poqtamkiaq Pestie’wa’taqatimk – Boxing Day.

27 –
1824 – The Halifax Journal reports that Chief Andrew Meuse of Bear River had journeyed to England to request a land grant from the British government so his family and friends could farm in Nova Scotia.

1976 – Mr. Andrew Francis, 83, dies on this day in the North Cumberland Memorial Hospital in Pugwash. The son of Andrew and Adelaide (Ogden) Francis he served overseas in both the First and Second World Wars. Mr. Francis was predeceased by his wife, the former Madeline Pictou and both his daughters, Christina and Kathleen.

1978 – Peter Wilmot dies at age 106. He is estimated to have killed over 300 moose in his lifetime, the last when he was 98. He also served as chief at Pictou Landing.

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29 –
2017 – Mi’kmaw film maker Catherine Anne Martin is named to the Order of Canada for her award winning documentaries and promotion of the importance of education among Mi’kmaw, Wolastoqiyik, Innu, and Inuit communities across Canada.

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31 –
1784 – Cape Breton is a separate colony. Mi’kmaq on the island give assistance to the settlers to help them through the cold winter months.

1993 – Native women’s rights activist Helen Martin passes away on New Year’s Eve. Mrs. Martin, aged 71, was the daughter of Chief Ben Christmas and Jane (Denny) Christmas. Mrs. Martin served as the first president of the Native Women’s Association of Nova Scotia, and Vice President of the National Native Women’s Association. A ribbon cutting the following month at the Millbrook Family Treatment Centre was dedicated to her memory.

Return to Book of Days for the Mi’kmaw Year

Micmac News 1970-1991
Mi’kmaq Maliseet Nations News 1992 – 2016.
Mi’kmaq Past and Present: A Resource Guide N.S. Dept. of Education
Guide to Bill C-31: An Explanation of the 1985 Amendments to the Indian Act Native Women’s Association of Canada, 1986.
Nova Scotia Virtual Archives Mi’kmaq Photo Collection On-Line
Dictionary of Canadian Biography On-Line, Vol.1 produced by University of Toronto & Laval University, 2000.
Campbell, G.G. (ed.) “Ensign Prenties’ Narrative of Shipwreck at Margaree Harbour, 1780” in Castaway in Cape Breton. Ron Caplan (Ed.). Wreck Cove, NS: Breton Books, 2001. pp.1-79.
Species at Risk Calendar Based on the Mi’kmaw Lunar Cycle produced by Environment Canada, Fisheries & Oceans Canada, Parks Canada Agency, & Indian & Northern Affairs Canada, 2007
Mac Leod, Heather. Past Nature: Public Accounts of Nova Scotia’s Landscape, 1600-1900 St. Mary’s University Ph.D. Thesis, 1995.
Mac Millan, Leslie Jane. Mi’kmawey Mawio’mi: Changing Roles of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council from the Early Seventeenth Century to the Present” 1996 Dalhousie University M.A. Thesis.
Mansbridge “One on One”, CBC Television; Interview with AFN Grand Chief Shawn Atleo, Dec. 5, 2011; courtesy of S. Inglis.
Mi’kmaq Association of Cultural Studies. Micmac Hymnal 1984.
New Brunswick Telegraph Journal Saint John, New Brunswick September 10, 1996.
Bartlett, Richard H. Indian Reserves in the Atlantic Provinces of Canada. Studies in Aboriginal Rights No.9, University of Saskatchewan Law Centre, 1986
National Archives of Canada, RG10, v.459, pp.356-365; RG10 v.2911, file 185-723-9A.
Newton, Pamela. The Cape Breton Book of Days. 1984 Sydney: University College of Cape Breton Press.
Nova Scotia Executive Council Minutes Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management, RG1, v.188, pp.114-117.
Paul, Daniel M. We Were Not the Savages: 21st Century Edition. 2000 Halifax: Fernwood Publishing; and personal correspondence, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2014.
Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management, RG1, v.430, Doc.176; .
Paul-Martin, Patsy. Mi’kmaq Months of the Year. From a series of posters produced for the Millbrook Literacy Center by Eastern Woodlands Publishing.
Prosper, Kerry, J. McMillan, A. Davis & M. Moffitt “Returning to Netukulimk: Mi’kmaq Cultural & Spiritual Connections with Resource Stewardship & Self-Governance” in The International Indigenous Policy Journal, V.2, Issue 4, 2011. (Reference is from CO127/213.ff.8-25, 19 PANS m/f 13, 1932 in Allen, 2000, p.111)
Reid, Jennifer. No Man’s Land: British and Mi’kmaq in 18th and 19th Century Acadia. 1994 Ph.D. Thesis, University of Ottawa.
Ricker, Darlene A. L’sitkuk: The Story of the Bear River Mi’kmaw Community. 1997, Lockport, N.S.: Roseway Publishing Co. Ltd.
Whitehead, Ruth Holmes Micmac Quillwork. Halifax: The Nova Scotia Museum, 1982.
Wicken, William. Mi’kmaq Treaties on Trial. 2002 Toronto: University of Toronto Press.