October 1—Treaty Day—marks the beginning of Mi’kmaq History Month in Nova Scotia. A month dedicated to Mi’kmaq origins and awareness, dozens of events are organized each year in order to promote public education about Mi’kmaq culture and heritage.
The Mi’kmaq, a First Nations people, are indigenous to all of Canada‘s Maritime Provinces, as well as areas within Quebec, in what is known to them as Mi’kma’kik. With a total population of about 40,000, the Mi’kmaq represent a significant portion of Nova Scotian society.
On Oct. 2, Dalhousie hosted the fourth annual Mawio’mi, a traditional gathering ceremony and flag raising on the quad.
Mi’kmaq History Month events officially began on Sept. 30, with a cultural showcase concert to launch Mi’kmaq Treaty Day and the 20th anniversary of Mi’kmaq History Month in Halifax. The free concert, held in the Nova Scotia Ballroom of the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, celebrated the late musician Alexander Pi’kun, who was a member of the musical group Morning Star for 45 years. Pi’kun performed at countless charity benefits and was a sought-after speaker about his experiences as a survivor of residential schools. Candy Palmater and Dion Denny hosted the memorial concert, which featured Kylene Poulette, Brandon Johnson, The Feather Band and The Relatives.
The first Mi’kmaq History Month was held in 1993, when Premier John Savage and Mi’kmaq Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy declared October the official month of recognition and celebration for the Mi’kmaq people in Nova Scotia.
“Mi’kmaq History Month is not only a celebration of [Mi’kmaq] history and culture, but also an opportunity for everyone to learn more about Nova Scotia’s first people,” said the news release.
A new website, mikmaqhistorymonth.com, has been launched to mark the 20th anniversary.