This Month in History

May


May - Etquljuikús - Frogs Croaking Time



Soon there will be tadpoles in the ponds and rivers. The Mi’kmaw words for frog is sqolj, which is pronounced “skoalch.” It’s one of the Mi’kmaw words that sounds like the animal it describes. Here’s another one: the word for cat is mia’wj, pronounced ‘me-ouch.’ [also the barred owl ku’ku’kwes (goo-goo-gwes)]. In late spring, the night comes alive with the mating chorus of the frogs. In summer, fall, and winter, the frogs live in the woods, but in spring they move to ponds and other still water to mate. The Mi’kmaw word for the spring peeper is jijawe’j (je-ja-wedge).

Before European contact, the Mi’kmaq and other nations from Maine to New Brunswick gathered in what is now called the Northwest Arm in Halifax for a great festival called the Spring Feast. Modern historians say it took place “7 days after the New Moon in May,” but the Mi’kmaq would have known it as “First Quarter Moon in Frog Croaking Time.“

1 - 1978 - For the second year, Margaret Johnson captures the Craftswoman of the Year Award at the General Assembly of the Micmac Arts & Crafts Society.

2 - 1997 - Pictou Landing First Nation opens its band operated school, the motto of which is "Pride in Heritage; Success in Education". Grade One student Frankie Denny and Elder Mrs. Mary Bernard officiate at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

3 - 1991 - At a Powwow held at Indian Brook, George Paul urges those present to remember Mi'kmaq traditions and keep the old ways alive. The weekend features chanting and drumming.

4 - 1762 - Belcher Proclamation gives protection to Mi'kmaq treaty rights.

5 - 1985 - Kitty Gallagher receives honorary degree from St. Francis Xavier University in recognition of her 50 year teaching career at King's Road and Membertou reserves.

1999 - Singer/actor Tom Jackson kicks off his Dream Catcher Tour '99 with a 3 hour concert in the gym at Millbrook First Nation.

6 - 1982 - Austria recognizes Sante' Mawio'mi as sovereign power.

7 - 1974 - Mrs. Theresa Moore is the first Mi'kmaq to be elected president of the Catholic Women's League at St. Anthony Daniel Parish in Sydney.

8 - 1820 - Indian Brook established.

1991 - Mi'kmaq skeletal remains that languished in the Archaeology Department of Memorial University for 32 years are returned to the Mi'kmaq in P.E.I. on this date for interment. The remains were originally found in Blooming Point, P.E.I, August 12, 1959.

1998 - Mount Saint Vincent University confers Honorary Doctorate of Humanities upon Mi'kmaw poet Rita Joe.

9 - 1929 - Sylvester Joe Benoit was born at Loretto, Newfoundland. Father of Chief Jasen Benwah, Sylveter lived off the land and was the first generation in the family to have automobiles.

09 - Mother's Day - Kijjinaq Na'kwekmuow

09 - May 2002 issue of the Mi'kmaq Maliseet Nations News reports Noel Knockwood has received the 2002 National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Knockwood was given the award for his work in re-establishing and encouraging Aboriginal spirituality in the Maritimes. He was also the first Mi'kmaw Sergeant -at- Arms of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly in 2000.

10 - 1986 - Former chief of Restigouche, Tony Dedam, graduates from the University of Southern California with a Master of Public Affairs degree at age 42. He served as chief from 1976-1980.

11 - 1978 - Joe B. Marshall sets up symbolic tollbooth near Eskasoni to protest failure of provincial government to make needed highway improvements. He is later charged.

1992 - At Convocation Exercises at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Eleanor Johnson of Eskasoni receives her master's degree. Her work, "Mi''maq" is the first thesis written entirely in the Mi'kmaq language.

12 - 1981- SAQAMAW WILLIAM JOE SENDS A LETTER TO PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT SUGGESTING CHANGES WE WILL ACCEPT IN REGARDS TO THE NEWLY PROPOSED ACT TO ESTABLISH THE BAIE DU NORD WILDERNESS AREA.

12 - 1933 - Birthday of Elder Edna May Benoit of Degrau, Newfoundland. Edna was actively involved in the original start-up of the modern Mi'kmaq movement in Newfoundland back in the 1970's. She is mother to Benoit 1st Nation Sagamaw Jasen Benwah. She passed away on Aug 14, 2018 at hospital in Stephenville, NL.

1988 - Josephine Peck of Wagmatcook is the first graduate of the Mi'kmaq Bachelor of Social Work program during Convocation Exercises at Dalhousie University.

1997 - Former Big Cove Chief Albert Levi receives honorary doctorate from Mount Allison University. He served as chief from 1967-1993, and was instrumental in the formation of the Union of New Brunswick Indians. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984.

13 - 1969 - First planning meeting of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians takes place in Amherst. From this a working committee was formed which would meet in July of that year.

1971 - Acadia First Nation gains official status. Prior to that the five reserves comprising it were represented by a spokesperson.

1979 - John Joseph Sark becomes the first Mi'kmaq in P.E.I. to graduate from the University of Prince Edward Island. He obtained a B.A. in Political Science.

14 -1904 - Although the first 1 pair of Moose was introduced in 1878 from Nova Scotia and not thought to have survived. Today's Newfoundland moose population are descendants of moose introduced from New Brunswick on this day in 1904 (near Howley, east of Deer Lake).

1756 - Governor Lawrence authorizes his officers to "annoy, distress, take and destroy the Indians inhabiting the different parts of this Province, wherever they are found; and all such as may be aiding or assisting them".

15 - 1999 - Listuguj First Nation holds a special ceremony to mark completion of the translation of the New Testament in Mi'kmaq.

16 - May 1991 issue of the Micmac Maliseet Nations News reports a Mi'kmaq curriculum being developed by the Nova Scotia Department of Advanced Education will focus on stories based on the Paul family of Indian Brook. Featuring William Paul, 99, his daughters Jane and Mary, and granddaughter Violet Lewis, the series will cover 100 years of Mi'kmaq life in Nova Scotia. Mr. Paul raised 14 children in the First Nations community.

1976 - Local band meeting of the Cape St George Indian Band with Chief Adolph Benoit.

17 - 1988 - Yarmouth band hall completely destroyed by fire (Acadia Band).

2001 - Chief Mise'l Joe is appointed to the National Aboriginal Economic Development Board.

18 - 1986 - The first mass is celebrated at stylized wigwam design church, Sacred Heart, at Millbrook, Nova Scotia.

19 - 1982 - The May issue of the Micmac News reports there are no funds available to build a breakwater to protect the burial grounds at Malagawatch.

20 - 1991 - The Aroostook Micmac Basket & Basketry Tools Exhibit opens. Featured artisans include Edlon Hanning, Harold Lafford, Donald & Mary Sanipass, with basketry tools made by David Sanipass and Wilfred Sanipass.

2002 - Mi'kmaq and Acadian representatives attend the eight day "Festival Nouvelle France" in France. Featured are three documentaries telling the story of the Mi'kmaq in early Atlantic Canadian history.

21 - 1506 - Christopher Columbus dies. He was one of the many waves of dease ridden explores who contaminated the Americas with pestilence and western ways of thinking. All a great evil to the civilizations of the Americas.

22 - 1870 - Genevieve "Jane" "Jenny" Benoit marries Julien Chiasson in Port au Port, NL. She is the granddaughter of Anne L'Official. 23 - 1991 - Great-grandmother Rose Knockwood Morris of Gold River graduates from Dalhousie University with a Bachelor of Social Work.

24 - 1852 - Louis Benoit, Jr and Domitille Gaudet are married at Sandy Point, NL. Louis is grandson of Francois Benoit and Ann L'Official, local Mi'kmaq of Bay St George, NL.

1984 - Mary Rose Julian of Eskasoni is awarded the Governor General's Silver Medal for Highest Academic Standing during graduation exercises at the University of New Brunswick. Delores Sock of Big Cove, B. Ed., receives the Governor General's Silver Medal for Outstanding Achievement in Education. The two native students are awarded the only education medals given by UNB that year.

25 - 2001 - Roderick Marshall of Millbrook First Nation receives Bachelor of Law degree from University of British Columbia.

26 - 1992 - Listuguj holds founding meeting of the Overseers Tribal Council. Gary Metallic is appointed spokesperson.

1993 - Mi'kmaw poet Rita Joe is awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree during Convocation at Dalhousie University, Halifax.

1996 - Indian Affairs and Northern Development announces plan to spend $1.3 million to upgrade water and sewer systems in five First Nation communities - Red Bank, Millbrook, Burnt Church, Afton, and Wagmatcook. Residents are relieved they will no longer have to control their output!

27 - 1870 - Minutes of the Executive Council note "a grant of land [be given] to the Indians of Conne River, Bay d'Espoir; - The Council concurred in the propriety of the application and referred the matter to the hon:Surveyor General with the view of carrying its object into effect."

1944 - Indian agent at Eskasoni, J. A. Mac Lean, writes in a letter to the Director of Indian Affairs, "approximately 75 per cent of the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia were opposed to centralization".

28 - 1925 - Donald Marshall Sr. is born on the King's Road Reserve in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

1971 - Incident that took the life of Sandy Seale and sent Donald Marshall Jr. to prison for 11 years takes place in Wentworth Park, Sydney.

1992 - A traditional sweat lodge ceremony led by George Paul is held at Pont de Roche to commemorate unveiling of a plaque dedicated to five Mi'kmaq whose remains were finally laid to rest after spending over 30 years at Memorial University. Nine people participate in the event including two RCMP officers.

1998 - Exhibition of photographs of 12 Mi'kmaq artisans by Nancy Ackerman is officially opened by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

29 - 1975 - Union of Nova Scotia Indians, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, and the Nova Scotia Department of Education sponsor symposium at Dalhousie University on the topic of race discrimination in school textbooks.

1992 - The Assembly of Nova Scotia Chiefs - Mi'kmaq Education Authority officially sign the framework agreement on education. Thirteen chiefs and Tom Sidden, Minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development, sign the agreement in Eskasoni.

1999 - Kiana Mae Forsyth, granddaughter of the late Annie Mae Pictou Aquash, wins "Best Overall" in the Annapolis Valley Apple Blossom Children's Parade. Eighteen month old Kiana of Indian Brook wore a white dress and rode in a modified birch bark canoe!

1977 - For the 4th Annual Assembly of the Federation of Newfoundland and Labrador Indians held at Hotel Gander on May 29 and 30, 1977 for Port au Port lists the following people in attendance: Adolph Benoit, Edna Benoit, and Josephine Simon.

30 - 2005 - Mi'kmaq Sign erected at the Gravels Road in Port au Port, welcoming everyone to the Peninsula. It was an idea created and executed by Sagamaw Jasen Benwah, supported by the local Mi'kmaq community, including the local francophone organization and the Port au Port Gravels Trail Committee. The sign was made by Michael Woods of Cape St George, NL.

30 - 1986 - Native Council of Nova Scotia President Viola Robinson attacks federal Conservatives for "perpetuating policies of apartheid and 'bantuism' in Canada" at the opening of the 12th Annual General Assembly.

31 - Acknowledgements/Sources

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, Mi'kmaq Activist and Researcher 2004



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