Mr. Joe B. Marshall, of Eskasoni First Nation, has been a long-time friend of Cape Breton University. His commitment and passion to teaching and speaking the Mi’kmaq language has played a key role in preserving the traditions and culture of the Mi’kmaq people. Marshall has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of the Mi’kmaw as an Aboriginal veteran, esteemed leader, role model, and mentor.
In 1969, Joe B. became a founding member of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians (UNSI), which was formed to provide one united voice that would represent the Mi’kmaw at the political table both provincially and federally. He has been the Executive Director of the UNSI since 1996.
Realizing that a law degree would be advantageous when dealing with the government on treaty matters, in 1996, at the age of 49, Joe B. graduated from Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law with a Bachelor of Laws Degree. Joe B. also holds a diploma in Community Development from the Coady International Institute at St. Francis Xavier University.
In 2005, Joe B. retired as Associate Professor of Mi’kmaq Studies and Political Science from Cape Breton University. During his time at CBU, he compiled several course manuals and was instrumental in the formation of the Mi’kmaq College Institute (now Unama’ki College) and the creation of Mi’kmaw studies as a disciplinary subject, allowing students to obtain a Major or Minor in this discipline. Marshall also assisted with the formation of the Mi’kmaw Ethics Watch, which was established in 1999 to study and develop principles and guidelines to protect Mi'kmaq peoples and their cultural knowledge.
Since 2004, Joe B. has been the Senior Mi’kmaw Advisor to the Mi’kmaq Rights Initiative and in 2009 was appointed to the Provincial Department of Natural Resources Steering Panel that leads the development of a new strategy governing the province’s natural resources.
On November 30, 2011, the highest honor the Province of Nova Scotia could bestow upon a resident was presented to Mr. Joe B. Marshall for all of his outstanding contributions to the cultural preservation for the Mi’kmaq people.
Cape Breton University would like to congratulate Mr. Joe B. Marshall on being invested into the Order of Canada. The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is the second highest honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada. It comes second only to membership in the Order of Merit. The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Joe B., Cape Breton University is privileged to have had the pleasure to work with you.