September – Mate Calling Time

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2 –
1986 – Fire destroys the Residential School in Shubenacadie.

2009 – Champion of Aboriginal and treaty rights in Nova Scotia, Viola Robinson is named a recipient of the province’s highest award, the Order of Nova Scotia. Robinson received an honorary Doctorate of Laws from Dalhousie University and had actually graduated with a law degree in 1998. Recipients of the Order of Nova Scotia may use the initals after their names, so she will be ‘Viola Robinson O.N.S.’

3 –
1995 – An estimated 5,000 people gather in Tobique, New Brunswick for a two day festival featuring Indigenous North American talent at the Wabanaki Music Festival. Charlene Paul, who attended with her children said they loved having their own native festival … as well as having their own soda pop.

4 –
1783 – Ignoring the fact that the Mi’kmaq already own the land, the British government sets aside 10 land grants for the Mi’kmaq under “licenses of occupation” at St. Margaret’s Bay, Sheet Harbour, St. David’s Bay, and along the Stewiacke, Remsheg, Antigonish, Philip, Merigomish, Macan, and Shubenacadie rivers.

1985 – Micmac News reports the graves of Mi’kmaq buried in North Sydney’s Holy Cross Cemetery have long been neglected and are obscured by grass. The paper also publishes the names from twenty grave sites.

2013 – Membertou’s Parents Against Drugs hold their fourth annual walk, accompanied by drumming by Jeff Ward.

5 –
2000 – In the month of September, Barbara Johnson is awarded her Doctorate of Philosophy in Educational Foundations from Dalhousie University. She also becomes the board administrator for the Potlotek Board of Education in that year.

2017 – The biography Daniel Paul: Mi’kmaw Elder by Jon Tattrie is published today. Daniel N. Paul is a noted Mi’kmaw writer, historian, and recipient of both the Order of Nova Scotia and Order of Canada who has worked unflaggingly on behalf of the Mi’kmaq in both the 20th and 21st centuries!

6 –
1988 – The Micmac News reports Chegoggin Site in Yarmouth is the second oldest archaeological site in Nova Scotia, proving the southern part of the province had an Indigenous population 4,000 years ago.

2002 – Official opening of the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources in Eskasoni. Its aim is to monitor and protect the sustainability of the Bras d’Or Lakes.

2016 – The Sport and Wellness Centre officially opens in Membertou today. Ground was broken for the 6000 square foot building in 2014 and the 19 million dollar complex was completed two years later. Chief Terry Paul and band councillor Allister “Buster” Matthews are the first community members to skate on the ice rink!

7 –
1891 – Apocryphal Tales Department: Narrows Bridge built over Halifax Harbour collapses during a hurricane. The area is believed to be “cursed” according to Mi’kmaw legend. (A young bride was caught with another man and killed there by her husband, a chief). It was prophesied the first bridge would collapse in a hurricane while the second would go down in silence – which it did 18 months after its construction. Marine geologists say in the case of the first bridge, the cribs were not strong enough to support the structure. In 1970 at the Mac Kay Bridge opening, a Mi’kmaw medicine man was asked to remove the curse.

1981 – Daniel N. Paul is appointed Nova Scotia District Superintendent of Lands Revenues & Trust by the Department of Indian Affairs.

1989 – The Wallace Bernard Memorial Centre opens in Membertou.

2001 – Eskasoni celebrates the christening of its new million dollar vessel, the Dr. Granny. The boat is named in honour of Margaret Johnson, who was known by all by the sobriquet “Dr. Granny.” She was in fact awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Francis Xavier University in 1994. Dr. Granny said she was proud and honoured to have the boat named after her and quipped in her usual style, “I wish it could be mine!”

2017 – St. Francis Xavier University announces the five year, $300,000 John Jerome Paul Chair for Equity in Mathematics Education. The chair will be held by Dr. Lisa Lunney Borden whose work will center on teaching and math achievement for First Nations and African Nova Scotian students.

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1970 – Bus service is inaugurated in Bear River for school children and school attendance correspondingly becomes higher.

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1983 – Norman John Dennis is born in an ambulance en route from Eskasoni to St. Rita’s Hospital in Sydney.

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1988 – Native Council of Nova Scotia releases the third in their series of language books.

1996 – New Brunswick’s Telegraph Journal carries this quote from lawyer Henry Bear about logging in the province, “This is another chapter in a true New Brunswick story involving relationships between its people and those of the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet peoples. Relations between Mi’kmaq and Maliseet peoples and non-Aboriginal peoples have, with some exceptions, been seen as painful and unjust by the Aboriginal peoples. This was because before their very eyes, and even up to the present day, territorial lands have been illegally occupied, converted and wasted, regardless of Mi’kmaq and Maliseet protests and reliance on these same lands for their economic, social, political and cultural survival. Their ongoing protests to various government bodies were made regarding these illegal encroachments by non-Aboriginal squatters and foreign businessmen, but no action to intervene and protect Maliseet and Mi’kmaq interests occurred until recently, even though the government was and is bound to do so under its promises and guarantees contained in King George’s Royal Proclamation of 1763, a document now forming part of the Canadian constitution.”

2006 – Fernwood Publishing brings out its third edition of We Were Not the Savages by Daniel N. Paul.

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1749 – Governor Edward Cornwallis builds a fort and says, “If the Indians do begin [hostilities] we ought never to make peace with them [but] root them out entirely.”

1992 – Chief Frank Meuse Jr. of Bear River re-buries 2,000 year old bones given to him by the Nova Scotia Museum for proper interment. Meuse respectfully buried the remains in the Mi’kmaw cemetery in Kejimkujik Park and later was to see a black bear which he took as a sign he had conducted the affair properly.

12 –
1971 – Stephen Maloney of Millbrook captures the Maritime Cat & Coon Hunt Association Championship for the second consecutive year.

13 –
1969 – Union of Nova Scotia Indians is organized as the representative body for all Aboriginal peoples in Nova Scotia.

1982 – Administration for the Burnt Church School is turned over to Chief Wilbur Dedam signing on behalf of the band in an official opening ceremony.

14 –
1984 – Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. has audience with Pope John Paul II in Halifax. Visiting the Isaak Walton Killam Children’s Hospital, the Pope touches Reggie James Poulette of Eskasoni, who was a patient there at the time of the Papal visit.

2019 – Former president of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association, Lorraine Whitman, is elected president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada during its Annual General Assembly. Lorraine is an advocate for the rights of Indigenous women and has had an interest in health and traditional Mi’kmaw values for many years.

15 –
1993 – The Mi’kmaw Grand Council convenes for the first time since 1902 in Big Cove, New Brunswick. Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy is invited to swear in Chief Vincent Simon.

16 –
1808 – In a letter to G. Sproule, William Odell writes, “The result of their [the Mi’kmaq] continued effort was that Eel Ground…[was] reserved for them in 1807; but of the original 20,000 acres only 10,000 remained at this point.”

1994 – The literary efforts of seventeen First Nations women are featured in the book, Kelusultiek: Original Women’s Voices of Atlantic Canada launched on this day by the Institute for the Study of Women, Mount Saint Vincent University.

17 –
1999 – Supreme Court of Canada releases its decision on the Donald Marshall Jr. eel fishing case appeal of 1997. Five justices – Binnie, Cory, Lamer, Iacobucci, and L’Hereux-Dube overturn decision of the lower courts, dismissing charges against Marshall. Justices Gonthier and McLachlin do not agree. Justice Binnie commented: “In my view the 1760 treaty does affirm the right of the Mi’kmaw people to continue to provide for their own sustenance by taking the products of their hunting, fishing and other gathering activities, and trading for what in 1760 was termed necessaries.”

18 –
1611 – Grand Chief Membertou dies in Digby County, Nova Scotia. Though he is over 100 years old, his exact age is unknown.

1980 – New school officially opens in Whycocomagh.

1987 – 88-year-old Kitty Robinson presents David Sanipass, president of the Aroostook band of Mi’kmaq with a property deed for 12 acres in Maine, giving the Mi’kmaw band a land base. Mrs. Robinson asks his permission to be buried on the land.

19 –
1991 – Ben Sylliboy is chosen as interim successor to the late Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Mr. Sylliboy would be elected grand chief the following year.

20 –
1943 – The war ship HMCS Micmac is blessed in Halifax. A number of Mi’kmaw leaders are present to witness the event and pray and sing in Mi’kmaw, including Chief Joseph Julien and William (Dowie) Paul.

21 –
1968 – Lance Corporal Vincent Bernard USMC is killed in action in Vietnam; Will Basque writes the poem “Sma’knis,“ dedicated to Bernard.

22 –
1779 – Several Mi’kmaw bands in New Brunswick sign the Treaty of 1779 with the British.

2013 – Lt. Governor of Nova Scotia J. J. Grant presents the Community Spirit Award to Chief Gerard Julian of Paqtnkek in honour of progress made by the community. As the Annual Powwow began an eagle flew overhead.

23 –
1996 – Kerry Prosper of Afton takes down a moose with a single arrow on Hunter’s Mountain. The shot is made with a 65-lb. pull, recurved bow handmade by Jack Howard.

2017 – The Mi’kmaw Interpretive Centre officially opens at the Fortress of Louisbourg. A year of planning between Parks Canada and the five Mi’kmaw communities in Cape Breton went into creation of the space. Participants in the ceremony include John Sylliboy, Lindsay Marshall, Clifford Paul, Graham Marshall, and Stephen J. Augustine on a hot, sunny day in Louisbourg!

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1808 – The Minutes of Council for New Brunswick set aside reserves for Eel Ground, Big Hole, Indian Point, Red Bank, Tabusintac, Burnt Church Point, and Burnt Church River and order that “licenses of occupation be given to the Indians…”.

1982 – Chief Alex Christmas presents a $257,000. cheque on behalf of Indian Affairs and Membertou to the city of Sydney for purchase of 45.6 additional acres of land for the Membertou reserve.

2008 – A letter from the Deputy Minister of Fisheries & Oceans Canada indicates the Canadian Coast Guard does not intend to use the name of Edward Cornwallis on any new vessels, while the ship already named “Cornwallis” will be replaced.

25 –
1971 – Linkletter Hotel in Summerside, P.E.I. refuses accommodation to Mr. Cyrus Sark and family.

1989 – Mi’kmaq hold peaceful protest at a proposed gravel mining quarry on the eastern side of Kluskap’s (a.k.a. Kelly’s) Mountain in Cape Breton. The whole dispute would later be the subject of a book in the Lund Series in the History of Religions called A Landscape of Left-Overs: Changing Conceptions of Place and Environment Among Mi’kmaq Indians of Eastern Canada by Anne Christine Hornborg and published in Stockholm in 2001.

1998 – Morley Googoo of the Mi’kmaw community of Waycobah begins fourth consecutive term as chief.

2008 – Historic meeting is held in Eskasoni when Premier Rodney Mac Donald and his cabinet travel to Cape Breton to meet the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs. Among their discussions is the issue of the Sydney Tar Ponds.

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2011 – In a joint news release the Federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, John Duncan, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs Peter Penashue, and interim Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band Chief Brendon Sheppard announce that the Qalipu Band in Newfoundland and Labrador had been recognized with standing by the Canadian government under the Indian Act. The Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nations Band has more than 20,000 members, with offices in St. George’s, Grand Falls – Windsor, Glenwood, and Corner Brook.

27 –
1993 – Nova Scotia Amateur Hockey Association announces it will penalize players who made racist remarks at a hockey game in Oxford with suspensions. The ruling came after a complaint by 14 year old Justin Johnson.

28 –
1997 – Elders Pearl Googoo and Caroline Gould are honoured in Waycobah for their years of service to the Friends of St. Anne organization.

2011 – Donald Julien of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq officiates at a ribbon cutting ceremony to open Dalhousie University’s Native Education Counselling Unit on South Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

2016 – Descendants of Joseph and Kate Michael and Noel and Judina Marshall, who vanished during a canoe trip from Eskasoni to Big Pond in 1936, gather to lay the spirits of their ancestors to rest. Retired RCMP officer Joe Michael investigated their disappearance but refrained from disclosing details, choosing instead to focus on a celebration of their lives. A monument in their honour is planned to be unveiled in March 2017.

29 –
1983 – Mi’kmaw Tannery, the first commercial smoke tannery, opens in Gander, operated by the Glenwood band of Newfoundland.

1993 – Representatives of the Mi’kmaq meet with Parks Canada officials at Kejimkujik National Park to discuss designation of rock carvings at the Park. These petroglyphs constitute one of the largest such sites in North America.

2016 – Mi’kmaw lawyer, ethnobotanist, and CBU Indigenous Studies professor Tuma Young is the featured interview on CBC Radio’s Information Morning today. The series showcases the lives of significant Unama’ki leaders.

30 –
1971 – September’s Micmac News quotes linguist Paul Proulx as saying “being a Micmac today is like having all the history of North America written in German. The first thing that happens is a sense of alienation and foreignness about your own culture and identity.”

2001 – First Nations Art Gallery opens at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.

2016 – As their water crisis continues, Potlotek receives 24 pallets of 4-litre water jugs through the efforts of Eskasoni, Crane Cove Seafoods, and Big 8 Beverages Ltd. In explaining why Eskasoni is helping the other community Chief Leroy Denny says, “The people of Potlotek have always been good to us, especially during the annual St. Anne Mission in late July. Their homes have always been open during Mission time.”

Return to Book of Days for the Mi’kmaw Year