In 1993, Premier John Savage and Mi’kmaw Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy declared October as the official month to recognize and celebrate Mi’kmaq culture and heritage. This year, we reflect on the theme treaty, chosen by the Mi’kmaq History Month committee. Focusing on relationships and the notion that We are All Treaty People, we will reflect on the history and impact of treaty-making, denial, renewal, and reconciliation.
September 30: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day
September 30th is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as well as Orange Shirt Day. We recognize the tragic history and long-standing consequences of treaty denial, such as residential schools. This day and the rest of Mi’kmaq History Month will serve as a time for everyone to learn, remember, reflect, and most importantly, take action.
Visit the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund website to learn how you can honour the lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families, and their communities: https://bit.ly/2Zk9tdM
ISANS’ Commitment and Chelsea Brooks
At ISANS, as we work to settle newcomers to Nova Scotia, we honour and respect the Indigenous peoples of this land. We are grateful for the Treaties of Peace and Friendship with the Mi’kmaq people, which set out long-standing promises, mutual obligations, and benefits for all.
Throughout October, we’ll share resources on Mi’kmaq culture and heritage that will be helpful for both newcomers and long-established Nova Scotians, accompanied by the beautiful artwork of Mi’kmaq artist Chelsea Brooks.
Learn more about Chelsea Brooks:
“My name is Chelsea Brooks: I am a Mi’kmaq Visual Artist and Entrepreneur. I am from Indian Brook (Sipekne’katik), a reserve here in Nova Scotia, and I now reside in Halifax.
As Indigenous people, we have a strong voice and a warrior spirit that comes from our loving ancestors. The amount of love we put into our arts and crafts is a true reflection of who we are as a culture. I have been painting since I was two, and I am now thirty. I was taught to paint by my Dad, David Brooks, who was a wonderful Mi’kmaq Artist. I am proud to say I followed in my father’s footsteps doing what I love, which is creating and representing our culture with my paintings. I create my artwork in a unique way that represents tradition with a modern twist.
My customers include Indigenous and non-Indigenous people located across Canada and internationally. Some of my accomplishments include: a front cover of the “Canadian Aboriginal Books For Schools Catalog,” and a painting created for 2015 Mrs Universe, Ashley Callingbull – the first Indigenous woman to hold that title. I have made various art pieces for the Native Council Of Nova Scotia and the Indigenous Arts Collective Of Canada. My work has also been featured on the show “Diggstown” on CBC (Season Two). I have created various artwork for schools across Canada, Burchells Law Firm, Turtleback Restaurant, Child & Family Services, and other Indigenous organizations. I am also a member of Nova Scotia Indigenous Tourism Enterprise Network.
I am happy to say that I have also now created artwork for Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia. It has been a great experience working with ISANS to create art pieces that represent Mi’kmaq History Month and the Mi’kmaq Treaties for the month of October.
Sending love & good vibes too you all,
Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre will host a Weekend of Reconciliation on the Halifax Waterfront from September 30 to October 2:
- Thursday Sept. 30th: Orange Shirt Day, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
- Opening Prayer / Song
- Welcome Remarks / History of Orange Shirt Day
- Painting craft on Orange Shirts
- Friday Oct. 1st: Treaty Day, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm
- Opening Prayer / song / remarks
- Traditional Salmon Dinner – (First come first served to 500)
- Welcome / History of Treaties in Mi’kma’ki
- Live Entertainment – Videos played throughout the day on treaty conflicts in Mi’kma’ki
- Saturday Oct. 2nd: Family Day, 12 noon – 3:00 pm
- Opening Prayer / Song / Remarks
- Open Mic for Artists
- Crafts for Children
- Indigenous Music & pow wow dance demonstrations
Visit the Mi’kmaq Friendship Centre website for more information https://mymnfc.com/
Ceremonies and Events from Halifax Regional Municipality https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/diversity-inclusion/indigenous-services/national-day-truth-reconciliation
- Wednesday, September 29: City Hall will be lit orange for National Day Truth and Reconciliation.
- Thursday, September 30: Flag raising at Grand Parade at 5:30 pm, followed by Patio Lanterns concert featuring Indigenous artists https://discoverhalifaxns.com/patiolanternsfestival/
- Virtual events hosted by The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. A schedule of virtual events can be found here: https://nctr.ca/education/trw/general-public-schedule/
- Webinar series: Downie Wenjeck Foundation https://downiewenjack.ca/national-day-for-truth-and-reconciliation/
- Halifax library resources and reading lists for families https://www.halifaxpubliclibraries.ca/local-and-family-history/mikmaw-history-culture/
- Read David Robertson piece for CBC to learn why and how all Canadians have a responsibility to talk to their kids about the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. https://www.cbc.ca/parents/learning/view/all-canadians-have-responsibility-to-talk-their-kids-about-mmiwg-heres-how
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) provided those directly or indirectly affected by the legacy of the Indian Residential Schools system with an opportunity to share their stories and experiences. https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1450124405592/1529106060525
- Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/principles-principes.html
For listening and viewing:
- “We are all Treaty People” illustrates the joint commitment from the Mi’kmaq community and the Province of Nova Scotia to deliver Treaty Education to all classrooms, grades, and schools; to the general public; and, to all public servants across Nova Scotia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TePIVr2bgCY&t=1s
- “The Stranger” is the first full chapter and song of The Secret Path. Adapted from Gord Downie’s album and Jeff Lemire’s graphic novel, The Secret Path chronicles the heartbreaking story of Chanie Wenjack’s residential school experience and subsequent death as he escapes and attempts to walk 600 km home to his family. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=za2VzjkwtFc&t=1s
- During Nocturne, a collection of artist will share animation film on the treaty relationship (Anotinette karuna, Michelle Sylliboy, Jessica Mensch, and Leigh Gillam). https://nocturnehalifax.ca/
- Mi’kmaq History Month website http://mikmaqhistorymonth.com/
- L’nui’suti, a free Mi’kmaq language app, was created in 2015 to promote the language, and gives non-speakers the opportunity to learn, using the Unama’ki dialect. The application also provides more resources to learn about Mi’kmaq culture and people. L’nui’suti app was developed by Blaire Gould, JR Isadore, Yolanda Denny, Faye Googoo of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey and Atlantic Canada’s First Nation Help Desk. https://kinu.ca/app/lnuisuti/
- Orange Shirt Day is a legacy of the St. Joseph Mission (SJM) Residential School (1891-1981) Commemoration Project and Reunion events that took place in Williams Lake, BC, Canada, in May 2013. https://www.orangeshirtday.org/
- Chanie’s Life Journey: This Story Map chronicles the life of Chanie Wenjack, and engages us in the ongoing conversation about truth and reconciliation. https://mbed.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=9c1620612f7243f89c2ae74512945a06#