June – Leaves Are Budding Time

1 –
1975 – Archaeological work begins in northern Cape Breton under Ronald Nash of St. F.X. University. Ten students are hired to help in the work – six of whom are Mi’kmaw.

1983 – Mr. William H. Herney, 83, dies Wednesday, June 1 of this year in St. Rita’s Hospital in Sydney. Born in Malagawatch, he was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Herney and had the distinction of being a veteran of both World War I and World War II.

2 –
The June 1997 issue of the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Nations News reports that Melissa Labrador of the Wild Cat reserve was refused entry to the House of Commons because she carried an eagle feather. The federal government later extended an apology to Melissa.

2002 – Daniel N. Paul receives a Certificate of Appreciation from the Nova Scotia Department of Justice that reads “On behalf of the Provincial and Family Courts and the Government of the Province of Nova Scotia, this Certificate is bestowed upon Daniel Paul in recognition of your significant contribution to the justice system of Nova Scotia.”

2011 – Governor-General of Canada David Johnson visits Cape Breton University and tours Unama’ki College. Principal and poet Lindsay Marshall reads his poem Kwe’aq Pjila’si, a piece he had recited before Queen Elizabeth II in Halifax a year earlier.

3 –
1978 – Mary Webb of the Codroy Valley dies at age 97. A Mi’kmaw midwife, she is credited with delivering over 700 children in Newfoundland. Mary used dog teams, a horse and sled, and snow shoes to reach her charges and she was able to converse in English, Mi’kmaw, French, and Gaelic!

2019 – After three years the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry delivers its final 1200-page report to the Canadian government. Containing 231 imperative changes needed to end violence against Indigenous women the report identifies such acts as deliberate race, identity, and gender-based genocide. The report calls for strengthened Gladue principles in Canadian courts and an end to the continuing indifference with which Indigenous female victims are treated in this country.

4 –
1726 – The Treaty of 1725 Treaty is ratified by Mi’kmaw officials in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

1971 – Donald Marshall Jr. is arrested in connection with the death of Sandy Seale.

1976 – Nine New Brunswick inhabitants of Indian Island, Big Cove, and Tobique, begin a 900 mile canoe trip from Big Cove to Montreal to unofficially open the 21st Olympiad. They take 36 days to reach Montreal, 10 days more than anticipated. Taking part were: James Knockwood, Jim Milliea, Joe Francis, Joe Simon, Vince Knockwood, Roland Augustine, Gary Simon, Alonzo Augustine, and Allison Nicholas.

1987 – Rick Simon of the Micmac News wins the Aboriginal Multi Media Excellence Award for Best News Photo at the Banff Centre, Alberta.

2002 – Mise’l Joe of Miawpukek in Newfoundland is re-elected chief for his fifth consecutive term. The date also marks his birthday and he is “given” two eagle feathers by a group of five eagles he had fed earlier that morning.

5 –
1936 – Simon Marshall places 3rd in a 10 mile race in Halifax with a time of 56 minutes.

6 –
1986 – Horton separates from Annapolis Valley to become a reserve in its own right under Chief Rita Smith.

1988 – Nova Scotia Conservative Cabinet Minister Ron Giffen tells 2nd Annual Assembly of the Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq that the government believes the 1752 Treaty applies only to mainland Nova Scotia.

7 –
1992 – Ben Sylliboy is elected grand chief at Chapel Island Pentecost Sunday celebrations. His blessing is received later at the Chapel Island Mission in July.

1997 – Daniel N. Paul, in recognition of his efforts to promote and publicize true versions of the Acadian and Mi’kmaw historical relationship, receives honorary doctorate at Université Sainte-Anne and gives Convocation Address.

2002 – Thirteen Mi’kmaw chiefs sign an Umbrella Agreement with Nova Scotia and Canada to begin to work together in good faith to resolve outstanding issues.

2013 – The Honourable James Flaherty, Minister of Finance, visits Cape Breton University to announce that five million dollars has been allocated to the Purdy Crawford Chair in Aboriginal Business Studies in the March 2013 budget. Under Dr. Keith Brown, the Purdy Crawford Chair promotes interest in the study of business at the post-secondary level among Indigenous peoples in Canada.

8 –
2001 – Tuma Young becomes the first Mi’kmaw speaking person to be called to the Bar of Nova Scotia and is sworn in at a special ceremony at his home community of Eskasoni.

2001 – Wagmatcook Culture & Heritage Centre opens, showcasing a display of Mi’kmaw artifacts, a Grand Hall, restaurant, craft shop, and meeting rooms.

9 –
1892 – Miss Elizabeth Frame compiles a list of Mi’kmaw place names in Nova Scotia for the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

1988 – Murdena Marshall of Eskasoni graduates from Harvard with a master’s degree in Education. Marshall wears an eagle feather during graduation exercises as a “feather of accomplishment.”

10 –
1918 – Rita (Toney) Smith is born in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, to Frank and Mary (neé Bradford) Toney. She would become chief of Horton, and along with her husband was a noted basket maker.

1982 – June issue of the Micmac News reports the Grand Council – Sante’ Mawio’mi – officially accepted the Smith-Francis orthography or writing system this month.

1983 – The Court of Appeal overturns Donald Marshall Jr.’s conviction in the death of Sandy Seale.

11 –
1991 – John Joe Sark, a keptin of the Grand Council, writes to member of Parliament Ethel Blondin to protest Canada’s proposed construction of a 33 million dollar pavilion in Spain for Expo ’92 to honour Columbus. He calls Canada’s theme, “Discover Canada” an insult to the First Nation peoples of Canada.

2008 – Prime Minister Stephen Harper addresses the Canadian House of Commons and indeed the whole country to apologize to former students of residential schools. He is accompanied by Chief Phil Fontaine of the Assembly of First Nations.

12 –
1977 – Two-year-old Matilda Copage is lost in the bush near Cambridge reserve. Nearly 500 volunteers participate in the search until she is found, unhurt, six hours later.

2012 – Elders of Membertou gather today with Chief Terry Paul to officially open the Membertou Heritage Park, where community history is presented and honoured in photographs and recordings.

13 –
1982 – The Island View Restaurant operated by the Whycocomagh reserve opens today. It features traditional foods like eel and wild blueberries (but not together).

1987 – Debbie Robinson is elected chief of the Mi’kmaw community of Acadia. She was also serving as President of the Yarmouth Native Women’s Group, Vice-President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, President of the Native Women’s Association of Nova Scotia, and as a member of the Yarmouth Affirmative Action Committee.

2011 – Daniel N. Paul receives honorary diploma from the Nova Scotia Community College, awarded in recognition of his lifetime promotion of human rights. According to the NSCC Board of Governors: “Each year the Board of Governors of the College recognizes a select number of individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the social and economic progress of our Province. The distinction of being awarded an Honorary Diploma is our means of celebrating your achievements in both business and community service throughout the Province.”

14 –
2002 – First Nations Governance Act is introduced in the House of Commons by Robert Nault, Minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development. The Act would theoretically help First Nation peoples vote on governance codes and make the Indian Act subject to the Canadian Human Rights Act.

2007 – Seventy per cent of eligible Metepenagiag community members vote in favour of an agreement that will settle a land claim involving 66 hectares that were taken in the early 1900s.

15 –
1982 – Benedict Pierro makes a successful bid to be chief of Wagmatcook, his third consecutive term.

2016 – With today’s election in Membertou the community moves to elections every four years under the First Nations Elections Act of 2015.

16 –
1978 – Grand Council Captain Levi R. Denny passes away in Eskasoni. At one time he owned the largest Mi’kmaw-operated store in Nova Scotia.

2008 – The Mi’kmaq Association of Cultural Studies (MACS) hosts a “tourism summit” to officially launch results of a market analysis study in tourism and cultural initiatives. Noted basketmaker Mary Rose Gould is able to sell many of her highly desirable baskets and other crafts at the event.

2018 – Much respected and loved Mi’kmaw Elder, Freeman Douglas Knockwood, from Indian Brook, Nova Scotia, passes away on this day. Knockwood, an addictions counsellor, set up addictions programs that helped many people. He was awarded the Order of Nova Scotia in 2016 and co-authored the book “Doug Knockwood, Mi’kmaw Elder: Stories, Memories, Reflections” published in May of 2018. Knockwood, 88, will long be remembered as a man of great dignity and great warmth.

17 –
1984 – Marie Battiste of Potlotek is the first Mi’kmaw to receive a Ph.D. A graduate of the doctoral program at Stanford University in California, she will go on to develop a bilingual Mi’kmaw – English program for the Chapel Island School as well as writing and editing books such as Reclaiming Indigenous Voice & Vision; First Nations Education in Canada: The Circle Unfolds; Protecting Indigenous Knowledge & Heritage; Decolonizing Education; Living Treaties; and Visioning a Mi’kmaw Humanities.

18 –
1982 – A special plaque is presented to the descendants of 22 Mi’kmaq who fought against Centralization in the 1940s in Chapel Island. The inscription on the plaque, in Mi’kmaw, says: “We thank the men who stayed and fought so that we would not be removed from our reserve in 1942. We will always teach our children to think a lot of our reserve, Chapel Island, and to continue to hold onto it very strongly in the future. Without you we would not be living in Chapel Island today.”

Honoured at the presentation are: Peter Francis, Ben Marshall, Paul Nicholas, Stephen Paul, Thomas Battiste, Peter Battiste, Stephen Battiste, Joe Stephen, James Basque, Joseph Joe, Richard Johnson, Maurice Stephen, John Isaac, James Bernard, Richard Nevins, Alexander Marshall, Stephen Nicholas, Stephen J. Battiste, Noel Stephen, Noel Joe, Edward Johnson, and Captain Noel Marshall. The only surviving member of this group, Captain Noel Marshall, is also given traditional Mi’kmaw regalia.

2002 – Terry Paul is returned as chief of Membertou for his 10th consecutive term.

2010 – Elsie C. Basque is presented with the Order of Canada by the Governor General of Canada Michaelle Jean. Born in Digby County, she was the first Mi’kmaw woman to become a teacher in Nova Scotia. In 1997 Ms. Basque received an honorary doctorate from the Nova Scotia Teachers College in Truro.

19 –
1974 – Newfoundland Non-Status Indians hold their First Annual General Assembly in Gander.

1998 – First meeting of the Mi’kmaq – Nova Scotia – Canada Tripartite Forum Executive Committee. Kji Keptin Alex Denny of the Sante’ Mawio’mi is chair of the forum. The executive is composed of 13 Mi’kmaw chiefs, the Grand Chief, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, and the Minister Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs in Nova Scotia.

20 –
1972 – 18 year old Donald Marshall Jr. enters Dorchester Prison.

1991 – Wayne Denny of Pictou Landing receives Lieutenant Governor’s Award from Nova Scotia Community College in Pictou. The award is bestowed for both academic performance and community service.

1998 – Lindsay Marshall is elected for a second term as chief of Potlotek (Chapel Island).

2008 – Caroline Gould, Bernie Francis, and Marjorie Gould share their knowledge of Mi’kmaw as they participate in the first Mi’kmaw Language Institute sponsored by the Aboriginal Peace & Friendship Project in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia.

21 –
1749 – Flotilla of British ships arrive in Chebucto Bay. They will establish a settlement on land the Mi’kmaq had been using for hundreds of years. The Mi’kmaq are heard to comment, “There goes the neighbourhood.”

1750 – Governor Cornwallis and his Council increase the bounty on Mi’kmaq to fifty pounds sterling per head, up from the original bounty of ten pounds.

1996 – Beginning this year, Canada recognizes June 21 as National Aboriginal Day – L’nuk Nakwekmuew.

2016 – The CBC Cape Breton Leadership Award goes to Membertou Youth Chief Julian Marshall. The award, which includes a thousand dollar scholarship to Cape Breton University is given to a graduating high school student demonstrating “an exceptional capacity for leadership among his or her peers in the community.” Julian is the son of David Marshall and grandson of Donald Marshall Sr.

2018 – The first superior court in Canada to hold regular sittings in a First Nations community opens in Wagmatcook today.  It is also the first Indigenous wellness and Gladue court in Nova Scotia.  An eagle feather is presented to the court’s presiding justice, Laurie Halfpenny Mac Quarrie, and family members of the late Donald Marshall Jr. are in attendance. The name of the day also changes from National Aboriginal Day to National Indigenous Peoples Day this year.

22 –
1967 – Father Michael Kearney lets out the last class of children from the Shubenacadie Residential School, thus ending an era of hurt and pain in Mi’kma’ki.

1974 – Mrs. Madeline Knockwood, born in Malagawatch in 1899, dies suddenly. A noted Mi’kmaw craftsperson, she was known for the exquisite wooden flowers she created and was the first Canadian to receive the Award of Merit from the Heard Institute, Phoenix, Arizona. The Institute housed the largest collection of native handicrafts in North America at the time.

1978 – St. Francis Xavier University graduates over 20 Mi’kmaw Alcohol and Social Counselors following a course of studies unique in eastern Canada.

1999 – The new chapel at Potlotek – Chapel Island – is dedicated to Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha by Bishop Colin Campbell. An Algonquin-Mohawk holy woman, Blessed Kateri was converted to Christianity in the early part of the 17th century and beatified by Pope John Paul II on June 22, 1980. A plaque is also unveiled honoring the late Noel Doucette, who was a driving force behind construction of the chapel.

23 –
1980 – Peter Poulette of Eskasoni is named Craftman of the Year by the Micmac Arts & Crafts Society.

24 –
1610 – Malpeltu Sikntasip – Chief Membertou is baptized by Abbé Fleché along with 21 family members. This union between the Mi’kmaw people and the Catholic Church will endure for over 400 years.

1910 – Grand Chief John Denny Jr. along with other Mi’kmaw leaders visits Ste. Anne de Restigouche, Quebec, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Membertou’s baptism.

1987 – Re-enactment of 1776 Watertown Treaty in Massachusetts sees Kji-Keptin Alex Denny speak before the State Legislature, a first for a member of the Sante’ Mawio’mi.

25 –
1761 – British officials meet Mi’kmaq at Lieutenant Governor Jonathan Belcher’s farm to ratify the Treaty of Peace & Friendship in a “Burying of the Hatchet” ceremony.

2004 – Albert Levi, former Chief of Elsipogtog, is appointed to the Order of Canada.

26 –
1993 – Donald Paul, Aroostook County legend, dies. Born in Laquille near Annapolis Royal in 1932, Don was a student of the Shubenacadie Residential School. He ran away nine times and was finally sent to Saint Patrick’s Reform School, where, he said, he received better treatment. He worked in the woods of Maine for 21 years, refusing to cross the Canada – U.S. border again.

2002 – Harald E. L. Prins addresses the Wabanaki Confederacy gathering in Arroostook, Maine. A professor at Kansas State University, Prins is the author of the 1996 book, “The Mi’kmaq: Resistance, Accommodation, and Cultural Survival”, and helped the Aroostook people gain band recognition in 1981. He also helped the Conne River Mi’kmaq of Newfoundland gain band status in 1985.

27 –
1996 – Mr. Justice John D. Embree issues his decision on the Donald Marshall Jr. eel fishing charge of 1993. It would be appealed the following year.

2009 – Terry Paul of the Mi’kmaw community of Membertou celebrates his 25th anniversary as chief of the reserve.

28 –
1985 – Bill C-31 becomes law.

1991 – Over 1,000 dead fish – mostly gaspereau and shad – are found in the Shubenacadie River. Tests would be run to ascertain the cause.

2007 – Front page of Cape Breton Post features “Aboriginal icon” Donald Marshall Jr. and his new wife, Colleen D’Orsay, who were married in June.

2010 – Mi’kmaw poet Lindsay Marshall reads his poem Kwe’aq Pjila’si on the Halifax Commons before an audience that includes Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh.

29 –
1987 – Peter Lewis Paul of Woodstock, New Brunswick is appointed to the Order of Canada.

1989 – Afton residents Chief Peter and Sophie Pierro die within a few hours of each other at St. Martha’s Hospital. Married in 1936, Peter served as chief of Afton for 16 years and compiled an English – Mi’kmaw dictionary.

2005 – Noted Mi’kmaw educator Sister Dorothy Moore of Membertou is appointed to the Order of Canada.

2007 – On the National Day of Action, the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs meet at the Membertou Trade & Convention Centre to answer questions in the expectation of “building bridges, not blockades” with all of their neighbours.

30 –
1971 – Roy Gould, youngest Indigenous chief in Canada (at age 21) resigns as chief of Membertou.

1995 – Listuguj Arts and Crafts Culture Centre opens the “Marks of a Mi’kmaq Nation” exhibit mounted by Montreal’s McCord Museum. Many pieces in the exhibit had been collected by David Ross McCord between 1913 and 1919 and can be seen in the book Wrapped in the Colours of the Earth: Cultural Heritage of the First Nations published by the McCord Museum of Canadian History in 1992.

Return to Book of Days for the Mi’kmaw Year