February – Snow Blinding Month
1786 – Chief Philip Bernard of St. Margaret’s Bay, Nova Scotia, formally requests a 500 acre land grant from Governor John Parr, thus establishing the principle of giving Indigenous peoples legal title to land.
1842 – A delegation of Mi’kmaq from New Brunswick in London, England, to petition the Queen are told: “Her Majesty has not been able to grant you an interview, but Her Majesty has signified Her Pleasure that you should each be presented with a Medal in token of the Interest which Her Majesty takes in your welfare.” Thus, were Chief Joseph Ithobeitch, Francois le Bobe, and Pierre Basquet turned away without a Royal Audience. Legend has it they were not amused.
2 – Mnumkwej Na’kwekm – Ground Hog Day
1832 – A friend of the Mi’kmaq in Bear River, Nova Scotia, J. S. Harris, writes to Judge Wiswall, “I think [there ought] if possible to have something done to put a stop to the white people intruding upon their lands. It is a pity that the Indians should be thus annoyed and I hope you will prescribe an immediate remedy.”
In the February 1994 issue of the Micmac Maliseet Nations News, contributor John Joe Sack writes that Columbus got lost on his way to India and was so confused when he landed in South America he called the people living there by the misnomer “Indians.” Sark writes, “Lucky for us Columbus wasn’t looking for ‘Turkey’!”
1987 – Judge Charles O’Connell finds John Noel Prosper, John A. Googoo, and Stephen Googoo guilty of illegally fishing for salmon at Whycocomagh Bay, rejecting their claim that as Mi’kmaq they have a legal right to fish based on the 1752 Treaty.
1991 – Chief David Toney of Cambridge First Nation suddenly passes away.
1998 – Federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Jane Stewart announces tabling of a bill transferring control of education to nine Nova Scotia reserves under the Mi’kmaq Education Act. This was the first transfer of jurisdiction from the federal government to First Nations in Canada and would become the model for other First Nations who wished to assume control of education.
2018 – Helen Marie Sylliboy, 68, of Eskasoni, passes away in the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Over the years Helen did much to retain and preserve the Mi’kmaw language and gave freely of her gifts as a respected translator.
1989 – Clara Gloade is named to the executive of the Ulnooweg Development Corporation. Gloade was also president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association.
1880 – Annapolis Valley reserve is established.
1984 – Minister of State for Multiculturalism, David Collenette, presents a cheque for $300,000. to the Union of New Brunswick Indians and St. Thomas University for creation of a Chair of Studies in Native and Aboriginal Cultures of Atlantic Canada.
1976 – Tragedy abroad: Annie Mae Aquash is murdered. She was the former Annie Mae Pictou of the Mi’kmaw community of Shubenacadie in Nova Scotia.
1755 – Chief of the Le Heve Indian tribe, Paul Laurant, speaks to the Nova Scotia Council in Halifax on a proposed peace accord.
1993 – At an Oxford, Nova Scotia, hockey game, a young Mi’kmaw player is subjected to racist remarks by some fans. Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs Guy LeBlanc asks the Mi’kmaq – Nova Scotia – Canada Tripartite Forum Sub-Committee on Human Rights to review the incident.
14 – Kesaltultimkewey Na’kwek – Valentine’s Day
1997 – Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey signs historic Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Jurisdiction Transfer, transferring control of Mi’kmaw education from the government of Canada to the Mi’kmaw people.
2007 – Artists Alan Syliboy, Ned Bear, and Arlene “Dozay” Christmas meet and discuss their work with the Governor-General of Canada, Michaille Jean at the First Nations Art Gallery.
1885 – Levi Poulette is born to Benjamin and Madeline (neé Louie) Poulette. He is made Prayer Leader by the Grand Council in 1906 and serves for 68 years until his death in 1974 at age 89. Two years earlier he had celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary with his wife the former Nancy Googoo.
1997 – Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association hosts conference focusing on native women and self-government.
1750 – The Lords of Trade in Britain send a memo to Governor Cornwallis in which they advise him: “As to the measures which you have already taken for reducing the Indians, we entirely approve them, and wish you may have success, but as it has been found by experience in other parts of America that the gentler methods and offers of peace have more frequently prevailed with Indians than the sword.”
2017 – Posthumous pardon and apology is given to the late Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy for an unjust conviction for hunting nearly 90 years earlier when he was 44. Premier Stephen Mac Neil of Nova Scotia says, “We recognize that the treatment of the Grand Chief was unjust. The province apologizes to the family of Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy and the Mi’kmaw community for this injustice. An important step on our path toward reconciliation is recognizing the mistakes of the past so we can build a better future for all Nova Scotian.” This is the second free pardon and apology granted posthumously in Nova Scotia, the first being in 2010 to the late Viola Desmond.
1998 – Lawrence Paul of the Mi’kmaw community of Millbrook is elected chief for his eighth consecutive term.
2005 – News is released of the discovery of Mi’kmaw artifacts along the Mersey River near Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia. Numbering in the hundreds, some of the arrowheads and tools are believed to be approximately 8,000 years old. Archaeologists call it one of the most important finds of Mi’kmaw material culture in the province.
1999 – The Mi’kmaq Resource Centre at University College of Cape Breton telecasts a Mi’kmaw Elders Language Workshop live over the Internet and for the first time Mi’kmaw can be heard all over the world. Not a pin drops!
2019 – Albert D. DeBlois, author of Micmac Texts (1990) and the Micmac Dictionary (1996) passes away in his sleep on this day. A linguist and ethnologist, “Don” was a friend of the Mi’kmaw community of Restigouche and a strong advocate and promoter of the Mi’kmaw language. He was a research associate at the Canadian Museum of Civilization where he served for a time as Chief Ethnologist and Curator of Atlantic Provinces Ethnology. Don was 93.
1990 – At a private dinner attended by eighteen family members Attorney General Tom McInnis personally apologizes to the family of Donald Marshall Jr. for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
2015 – Former chief of Lennox Island, Charlie Sark dies suddenly at home. A respected Mi’kmaw leader, he was the son of John James and Elsie (Houghton) Sark, about whom the book Micmac By Choice – Elsie Sark, An Island Legend was written in 1990.
1978 – Delegates to the Ninth General Assembly of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians denounce Ottawa’s policy regarding housing, education, and medical services for Indigenous peoples.
2007 – Reanne Julian-Sylliboy accepts the Heritage Award on behalf of the Glooscap Heritage Centre from the Colchester Historical Society in recognition of the degree of excellence attained by the group.
1989 – Mi’kmaq protest outside Province House to call attention to the government’s failure to recognize their rights under the 1752 Treaty, the validity of their land claims, and the tax imposed on cigarettes.
2007 – The Framework Agreement is accepted and signed by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs and the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia, heralding the beginning of discussions on treaty, title, and Aboriginal rights.
1849 – The Acadian Recorder newspaper describes a delegation of Mi’kmaw chiefs in Halifax as “novel and interesting”.
2007 – Edwin Kabatay Jr. of Membertou emerges victorious in a boxing match held at the Sydney Casino.
1970 – A couple from Whycocomagh reserve hold a workshop to teach native crafts. This is thought to be the first time such a workshop was held in the Maritimes and the beginning of the shift to neo-traditional ways.
1980 – Reginald Maloney elected chief of Shubenacadie reserve.
1991 – Two four-year-old children from Indian Brook, Kirby Marr and Adria Lewis, are found near the community after a three hour search. Missing for a total of seven and a half hours in cold winter temperatures, the children are located after community members, the fire department, and RCMP initiate search parties.
1986 – At the 5th Annual Gesigewey (Winter) Carnival at Wagmatcook, the previous year’s queen, Mary Elizabeth Googoo, teams up with the new queen, Joanne Peck, to sock organizer Brian Arbuthnot with a cream pie right in the kisser!
1781 – Ensign Prenties and other survivors of the brigantine St. Lawrence which ran asunder at Margaree Harbour a few months earlier, encounter Mi’kmaq in the St. Ann’s Bay area of Unama’ki (Cape Breton Island) and are given food and assistance. Prenties writes: “I accordingly gave him [a Mi’kmaw man] as concise an account as possible of the disasters and fatigues we had undergone; during the relation, he seemed to be very much affected at our sufferings.”
Return to Book of Days for the Mi’kmaw Year