This Month in History


Si'ko'ku's- Maple Sugar

pronounced see-go-goose)

The Míkmawey Calendar begins on Spring Equinox which would be know with the presence of the full moon, a time to celebrate the passage of winter, to thank the Creator for all the blessings.

Our Western Newfoundland Mi’kmaq families would have been traditionally in the forest for the winter using the trees as wood for their source of heat as well as protection of the forest from winter storms and strong winds. They would have been set up near a pond or brook. They would have trapped small game, as well as hunted caribou. The brook or pond would have provided them with water for drinking, cleaning, cooking as well as for storing foods.

When the weather improved, they would pack up and head for the shoreline, where they would have access to seals and later as the summer approached, they would harvest sea shelled food, and be away from the heavy mosquito population in the forest.

Some families would have tapped birch trees for the sap would be used a s healing tonic, preserving, and preparing foods and meats and well as used for flavoring foods.

Traditionally, they placed birch bark buckets at the foot of the tree. A slash made in the flesh of the tree with a stone tool or knife, and a sliver of wood or a reed inserted into the slash, drew out the sap so it dripped into the bark container. The collected liquid was heated in a large hollowed-out log or birch tray by repeatedly adding hot rocks until it boiled and reached the syrup stage. When a drizzle on snow hardened to form taffy, it was ready to churn and cool into caked sugar for storage and transport.

1 - 1973 - March issue of the Micmac News reports that Chief Charlie Labrador of Acadia Band finally gets Indian status after a five-year struggle.

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3 - 1960 - By an Order in Council the single "Micmac Band" is divided into eleven bands in Nova Scotia, with lands set aside specifically for their use. Prior to that all reserve lands in the province are for the benefit of the single "Micmac Band".

4 - 1917 - Thirty-four young Mi'kmaq men from the Lennox Island reserve travel to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, to enlist in the army to serve in World War I.

5 - 1510 – Mi’kmaw Grand Chief Membertou was born

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7 - 1760 - Colonel Frye, writing from Fort Cumberland to the Governor of Nova Scotia says, "a French priest came with two Indian Chiefs, Paul Lawrence and Augustine Michael have received their submissions for themselves and for their tribe, to His Britannic Majesty, and sent them to Halifax have likewise received the submissions of two other Chiefs, who I dealt with as before mentioned, and was in hopes I had no more treaties to make with the savages...but I was mistaken, for there would be a great many more upon the same business, as soon as their spring hunting was over, and upon my inquiring how many, he gave me a list of fourteen Chiefs...I was surprised to hear of such a number of Indian Chiefs in this part of America..and that they were all of one nation...".

8 - 2001 - Micmac Maliseet Nations News reports Tonia Sylliboy is awarded the Medal of Bravery for her efforts in rescuing two boys from drowning. Her father Maxim lost his life during the rescue attempt and is awarded the Medal of Bravery posthumously by the Governor General. Moran and Arlene Sylliboy also accept a posthumous Medal of Bravery on behalf of their daughter Anastasia, who died in an attempt to rescue two boys on July 15, 1999, at Castle Bay beach.

9 - 1951 - The Chronicle Herald reports that 93-year old Mi'kmaw Joseph C. Cope died Wednesday (March 7) in Shubenacadie. Cope had been a photographer, prospector, and one of Nova Scotia's most renowned citizens. His father, Peter Cope, had met with Queen Victoria before Confederation to discuss Mi'kmaq issues.

10 - 1760 - Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed by Governor and Commander in Chief of Nova Scotia and Paul Laurent, Chief of the Le Heve tribe of Indians at Halifax.

11 - 1989 - Four Mi'kmaq students are inducted into the University College of Cape Breton Honours Society, Na Gaisgich: Douglas Brown, husband and wife Patrick and Eleanor (neé Paul) Johnson, and Joe B. Marshall.

12 - 1992 - Launch of the book, "L'nu and Indians We're Called" by Rita Joe is held at the Micmac Heritage Gallery in Halifax.

1767 - Boniface Benoit, Jr. and Marie Joseph Boucher are married in Cape Breton, N.S. 13 - 1978 - Helen Martin receives award from the province of Nova Scotia for exemplary volunteer service and significant contribution to the community. She was the daughter of Chief Ben Christmas of Membertou.

14 - 1976 - Annie Mae Aquash is buried at Wounded Knee.

15 - 1855 - The Christian Messenger prints a letter from Silas Rand in which he speaks of the Europeans' treatment of the Mi'kmaq: "We seize upon their country. We rob them of their lands. We drive them from their homes."

15 – Julia Chaisson was born on this day. She married William James Benoit of Red Brook, NL. Her favorite pass time as an elder was to knit socks and smoke the pipe.

1994 - Main courtroom at the Annapolis Royal Court House is dedicated in the name of Grand Chief Membertou. Current Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy makes the dedication and Cathy Martin performs the gathering song.

16 - 17 - Pa’tliksite’wimk – St. Patrick’s Day

1971 - Federal government's White Paper is withdrawn because of determined opposition from Aboriginal communities across Canada.

18 - 1947 - Joseph Arthur Francis is born on Lennox Island, P.E.I. He would go on to be awarded the U.S. Presidential Unit Citation, Purple Heart, and Bronze Star for "heroic achievement". He served in Vietnam with the U.S. Marine Corps and in 1967 was wounded twice.

19 - 1842 - The province of Nova Scotia passes an act to provide for the "Instruction and Permanent Settlement of Indians". Joseph Howe is appointed Indian Agent.

1939 - On a Sunday night Noel Julian and three other children run away from Shubenacadie Residential School. In a letter to Indian Agent W.J. Cameron, Rev. Jeremiah Mackey writes,

"On Monday morning the RCMP picked up their trail on the other side of the River, and we traveled miles after them. Whenever they found themselves near the main highway, they went back into the woods. I am getting over a cold and all this traveling on Sunday and Monday, getting overheated and coming back and sitting in the car, has given me another, so I am in bed today.
There is no need to tell you what to do if they turn up in your agency.
This is the fifth time for Noel Julian in the last two years, and I feel that Saint Patrick's Home is the only place for that imbecile."

20 - Spring Equinox

20 - 1842 - Grand Chief John Denny Jr. is born in Eskasoni. He was able to read Mi'kmaq hieroglyphs and was a noted prayer leader.

21 - The March 1994 issue of the Micmac Maliseet Nations News shows Anthony Morris of Eskasoni singing, with the caption, "Maintains the title of 'keeper of the longest held note in a Mi'kmaw chant'".

22 - 1925 - The Sunday Leader shows photograph of "Dr." Jeremiah Lone Cloud with his son and nine partridges shot in a single day between Elmsdale and Guysborough Road. The photo was made into a postcard, as were a number of photographs of Mi'kmaq in the 1920's.

1971 - Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Jean Chretien is in Membertou to sign an agreement bringing municipal services to the reserve, the first agreement of its kind in Canada.

1989 - National Council of Mi'kmaq Chiefs signs the Mi'kmaq Declaration of Rights in Moncton. The historic meeting was the first since 1776 - 213 years earlier. Its demands included the Mi'kmaq right to self-government, treaty recognition, Mi'kmaq title to land, and the right to educate Mi'kmaq children in the ways of the Mi'kmaq. Twenty chiefs including Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. and Head Chief Peter Barlow sign.

23 - 1672 - Nicholas Deny's Geographical Description of the Coasts of North America includes this assessment of the Mi'kmaq: "They refused nothing to one another".

24 - 1973 the Conne River Native Council was formed. On Nov 19. At meeting in Conne Joe Rousseau announces Conne River "recognized" as Native community by NLSD, opening door for federal funds to be spent in the community

25 - 1987 - Noted Mi'kmaw healer Jessie Gould passes away on this date.

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27 - 1945 - Annie Mae Pictou Maloney Aquash is born in Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia.

1991 - The March issue of the Micmac News reports that a Mi'kmaq grammar called "Micmac Grammar of Father Pacifique" reworked by Bernie Francis and John Hewson has been published. Hewson translated the material from French to English while Francis applied the Smith-Francis Orthography he and Doug Smith devised in 1980 to the work.

2001 - Cathy Martin's film, "Spirit Wind" premieres on national television on the Vision Network.

28 - 1966 - Ben Christmas, chief of Membertou, dies. He was also the father of noted women's rights activist Helen Martin.

29 - 1982 - Donald Marshall Jr. is released from Dorchester Prison to begin a conditional 6-month day parole.

30 - 1931 - 100 year old Chief Ben Pictou of Bear River dies on this date. Pictou was once saved from drowning by a dog that dragged him to shore when his canoe overturned on Grand Lake. He is also credited with killing a bear in a stream armed only with a hatchet.

1983 - Federal Indian Affairs Minister gives a copy of the Order in Council to Chief Alex Christmas declaring 46 acres of land purchased from Sydney as reserve land. This was the first time in Canadian history that land annexed to a reserve was not part of a treaty commitment or land claim settlement.

31 - 1975 - Union of Nova Scotia Indians Year End Combined Statement of Revenue & Expenditure reads: Total Revenue - $1,067,235. Total Expenditure - $1,081,737. Excess - $14,502.


Mi'kmaq Resource Centre Book of Days for the Mi'kmaq Year
Micmac News 1970-1991
Micmac Maliseet Nations News 1992 - 2002
Mi'kmaq Past and Present: A Resource Guide N.S. Dept. of Education
Nova Scotia Virtual Archives Mi'kmaq Photo Collection On-Line
Mac Leod, Heather. Past Nature: Public Accounts of Nova Scotia's Landscape, 1600-1900
1995 St. Mary's University Ph.D. Thesis.
Mi'kmaq Association of Cultural Studies. Micmac Hymnal 1984.
Newton, Pamela. The Cape Breton Book of Days 1984 Sydney: University College of Cape Breton Press.
Paul, Daniel M. We Were Not the Savages: 21st Century Edition 2000 Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
Paul-Martin, Patsy. Mi'kmaq Months of the Year From a series of posters produced for the Millbrook Literacy Center by Eastern Woodlands Publishing.
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.
Wicken, William. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial 2002 Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Benwah, Jasen Sylvester, St. George's Bay Mi'kmaq Bay St. George Mi'kmaw Researcher, Stephenville, NL.
Renee Jeddore, Conn River, NL.

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