Mi'kmaq history and people: January Month (Punamujuikús)
Pjila'si (Welcome). January or Punamujuikús as it is know to the Mi’kmaq is the time of the Spawning of the Tomcod. Historically for the Mi’kmaq, it is also known as time of the seal hunt when this aquatic animal spawns upon certain Islands about this time. Its flesh is said to be good as veal and its fat was used as an oil, which served as sauce throughout the year; usually several moose or caribou -bladders were filled with it, which are two or three times as large and strong as pig bladders.
The month begins with New Year’s or Puna'ne'wimk. Many events important to the Ktaqamkukewa'q people have occurred in the month of January:
- On January 6 - Elekewia'timk aqq kaqiaq pestie'wa'taqatimk or Old Christmas is celebrated. We have embraced Christian beliefs since Chief Membertou.
- On January 7, 1983 – Saqamaw Mise’l Joe was selected as Chief of Miawpukek or Conne River and on
- January 21, 1983 he is sworn in as Ktaqamkuk (Newfoundland) Traditional Saqamaw for life by the Sante' Mawio'mi Grand Saqamaw Donald Marshall.
- On January 17, 1908 - The first School in Miawpukek opened. Ann Matthews was the first teacher. She was replaced with Michael McDonald (taught for 12 years) in 1923 by St. Croix who subsequently appointed only English teachers. Ann went to New York and trained as a nurse. She later worked as nurse on the Restigouche reserve in Quebec. Mi’kmaq language and culture is now being taught in Conne River.
- On January 21, 2002 - The 2002 Mi'kmaq Regime, a preliminary set of guidelines for talks with the federal government was prepared by the FNI and presented to the Hon. Robert Nault, Federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs. It would lead the federal government to offer full status under a landless band for all Newfoundland Mi’kmaq outside Miawpukek. It is expected to be implemented in 2005.
- On January 27, 2002 – The St. George's Bay Mi'kmaq website was set up by local Mi'kmaw Jasen Benwah. It was the first website in Bay St. George dedicated to the promotion of Mi'kmaq culture and awareness.
- In January 1820 Demasduit, or Mary March, as John Peyton, Sr. (the man who lead her capture and killed her husband) would call her, died aboard Lieutenant David Buchan’s vessel after a futile attempt to reunite her with the remaining Beothuk. Three years later three starving Beothuk women surrendered themselves to a settler in Notre Dame Bay. The two other died leaving alive a woman whom we know as Shanawdithit, the last officially known Beothuk.
Wela’lin and thank you for allowing me to share these facts with you.
Tuesday, January14, 2005
Compiled by Saqamaw Jasen S. Benwah
St. George's Bay, NL.
Website Copyright © 2004 Jasen Sylvester Benwah