Partial Timeline History of the First Nations People in the Atlantic Canadian Provinces

Mi'kmaq family of nine people are standing together

Norsemen made first contact with the Indians of Newfoundland.

Henry St. Clair, a Scotsman, is believed to have landed in Guysborough Harbour and travelled to Pictou and Stellarton, NS.

Christopher Columbus landed in the Caribbean and claimed that he discovered the New World.

Acadia and Newfoundland visited by John Cabot, merchant and explorer under the orders of Henry VII of England. Cabot took formal possesion of the land in the name of King Henry VII.

Gaspar Corte Real, slave trader, captured several natives, some were believed to be Mi’kmaq. Corte Real’s ship was lost at sea, although two of his ships returned to Portugal safely.

Mi’kmaw Grand Chief Membertou was born.

Jacques Cartier sailed with two ships to North America under the orders of King Francis I. Cartier traded furs with the Mi’kmaq and this is the first recorded incident of trade with the Europeans.

Bull Sic Dilexit, issued by Paul III, in 1437 stated that Indians should not be deprived of their liberty, property or in any way be enslaved.

The Descelieers Mappemonde (map) showed the discovered areas in North America as well as the native fauna and Native people.

Marquis de la Roche-Mesguoes recieved a commission from King Henri IV authorizing him to colonize North America.

Marquis de la Roche built a colony on Sable Island using 40 convicts to supply labour.

Samuel de Champlain travelled to North America on an exploration voyage. Pierrede Giva, Sieur de Monts, Governor of Acadia, received Royal permission to colonize Acadia.

The First Jesuit Missionary Abbe Jesse Fleche arrived at Port Royal.

Marc Lescarbot’s first contact with the Mi’kmaq. He wrote the earliest accounts of detailed Mi’kmaq life. The first part-white, part-native babies are born in Canada. Neither culture accepts them as their own. From the very beginning they are outcasts, neither fish nor fowl.

French colonists evacuate Port Royal. While the French are gone, Grand Chief Membertou took responsiblity for the encampment until the return of the French in 1610.

The Concordat with the Vatican was signed. It affirmed the Mi’kmaq’s right to choose Catholism, Mi’kmaq tradition or both. Mi’kmaq Grand Captain Pesamoet spent a year in France and he realised a large number of French people would be settling in Acadia. It was therefore necessary to form good relations with them. This meant accepting and defending the Catholic religion. Also in this year, Chief Membertou was the first North American to be baptized. Membertou along with 21 members of his family were baptized by Abbe Jesse Fleche as a sign of alliance and friendship.

The English burn Port Royal.

Sir William Alexander obtained a grant from King James I from England for all of Acadia. The territory that Mi’kmaq called home was named Nova Scotia.

St. Anne’s chapel was established by Vimont and Vieux Point. St. Anne was adopted by the Mi’kmaq as their Patron Saint.

Capuchins established a school at Lahave for Mi’kmaw children.

Pope Urban VIII issued a statement that the Indians should not be enslaved or deprived of their property or liberty. The Treaty of Germaine-en-Laye. The French get Acadia and Nova Scotia.

The Royal Navy starts to patrol the Bay of Fundy to prevent the Mi’kmaq and the Acadians from joining forces.

Father Chretien Le Clerq began his work Gaspesia. He was the first to use hieroglyphic characters to teach Mi’kmaq. Also in this year, the memoirs of Charles Aubert de la Chesnay, a business man from New France, contained the first written reference to the term Mi’kmaq. The Mi’kmaq called themselves “El ‘nu”, meaning “The People”.

The “Submission and Agreement of the Eastern Indians”, including those at St. John River and eastward, was signed at Portsmouth.

Gaulin established a mission at Antigonish in order to induce the Mi’kmaq to settle and farm the land.

A church was approved for the Mi’kmaq at Antigonish.

Construction of Fort Louisbourg began.

The Indian War began in 1722 and lasted until 1726. Gaudlin established a mission on Bras D’Or Lake. Phillips banned the sale of arms and ammunition to the Indians.

Treaty with the Mi’kmaq and the Maliseet signed in Boston. It was the first of several Treaties to be signed between the British and the Mi’kmaq to establish a peaceful alliance.

The 1726 treaty was ratified and confirmed by all the Mi’kmaw tribes in Nova Scotia during talks at Port Royal.

Pierre Maillard arrived at Louisbourg and began work on Mi’kmaw grammar.

Mascarene requested that Gorhams Rangers keep the Mi’kmaq under control.

Edward Cornwallis was appointed Govenor of Nova Scotia. He brought 2,000 settlers (of the poorest quality) who founded the settlement of Halifax. Also in this year, a Treaty was signed with the Indians at Chebucto and St. John, renewing the Treaty of 1725. Additionally, in the continuing campaign in Chignecto, Cornwallis’ instructions include a reward of 10 Guineas for scalps of Mi’kmaw men, women and children. The Lords of Trade disagreed with this total extermination policy. The Mi’kmaw military began to decline after they lost the support of the French.

Treaty between Peregrine Thomas Hopson, Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia and Jean Baptiste Cope, Chief Sachem of the Mi’kmaq, signed in Halifax. Grand Chief Cope was assured that Britain intended to make peace, provide trading posts, protect the land and the way of life of the Mi’kmaw people. This treaty designated October 1st as the date on which the Mi’maq people would recieve gifts from the British to “renew their friendship and submissions”.

Thomas Wood and SPG Missionary started work on a Mi’kmaw grammar dictionary and Bible. Also in this year and up until 1756, Lawrence issued a proclamation ordering hostilities to be committed on the Mi’kmaw Indians.

A Mi’kmaw by the name of Paul Laurent requested hunting lands for the Mi’kmaw people.

Louisbourg fell to the British for the last time. This was a vital turning point in Mi’kmaq resistance to the British presence. In this year Lawrence issued a proclamation inviting immigrants to Nova Scotia and promising them land grants and no rent for 10 years.

Mi’kmaw Chiefs discussed terms of peace with the British.

Treaty of Peace and Friendship, signed on Governor Belschem’s farm. The ‘Burying of the Hatch Ceremony’ celebrated the successful conclusion of the treaties. Royal instructions were issued to Governors instructing them to enter into Treaties with the various tribes. Such Treaties were to be honored and enforced without exception.

Belcher’s Proclamation stated that His Majesty was determined to maintain the just rights of the Indians to all lands reserved or claimed by them.

The Royal Proclamation brought the management of Indian Affairs under central direction. It was an attempt to prevent the illegal seizure of Native lands by the incoming British settlers.

A plan for future management of Indian affairs was created.

Treaty signed between Americans and delegates of St John’s and Mi’kmaw tribes. This Treaty, signed at Watertown, stated that the Mi’kmaw Nation and America would help one another against any enemy. Most of the Mi’kmaw people did not agree with this arrangement, therefore this Treaty did not last.

The final Treaty between the Mi’kmaq and the British was signed. The Mi’kmaq ceased to be a military threat.

Loyalist refugees from New York fled to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The Mi’kmaw population was now outnumbered and no longer considered to be a threat to the British. They were forcibly placed on reservations.

The Colonial Government of Nova Scotia granted licenses of occupation to several Mi’kmaw Bands which were merely confirmation of the existance of settlements already established.

Charles Morris was commissioned to carry out an extensive survey of lands assigned to the Mi’kmaq.

Schools for Mi’kmaq children were started.

Slavery of blacks in Upper Canada is deemed illegal and stopped.

The Jay Treaty between the United states and Great Britian was signed. The Mi’kmaw people were allowed to cross the international boundary without any hinderance.

A committee was formed to study the plight of the Mi’kmaq. Slavery of blacks is finally deemed illegal in Lower Canada and stopped.

The Nova Scotia Goverment allocated 10 Indian reservations.

Jean Mande Sigogne compiled a book of Mi’kmaq translations.

Lt. Governor John Wentworth ordered a census be taken of the Mi’kmaq population.

Charles Morris was ordered to submit a plan for tracts of land which were to be given to Mi’kmaw Indians.

The Mi’kmaq of St. Georges Bay, Newfoundland built their own schooner.

Silas T. Rand, Baptist Minister, compiled a Mi’kmaq dictionary.

Grand Chief John Denny was born. Denny was the last Mi’kmaw Grand Chief to acquire his title by succeeding his father.

Abraham Gesner, the Indian Commissioner, settled 14 families at Shubenacadie.

An Act of Lower Canada defined the term “Indian” and established the criteria for eligibilty for Indian status.

The criteria for Indian status in the 1850 Act was revised to state that Indian ancestary would be through the male line. If a native woman married a non-native, her children could not claim native status.

The Nova Scotia Government enacted legislation for the purpose of taking title of all lands reserved for the exclusive use of Indians and to hold it in trust for them.

An Act passed which allowed squatters to buy land on which they were trepassing. This allowed settlers to obtain land set aside for the Mi’kmaq.

Samuel P. Fairbanks, Commissioner of Crown Lands and Indian affairs, prepared a schedule of lands set apart for the Mi’kmaq.

The Indian Act was created.

The Indian Act establishes the Department of Indian Affairs. In order to become a Canadan Citizen, Natives had to relinquish their Indian status.

Father Pacifique tranlated prayers into Mi’kmaq.

The Mi’kmaw flag (Métis Flag) was first raised in Restigouche, Quebec on October 4th, and in Halifax in 1901.

Over 150 Nova Scotian Mi’kmaw men signed up for service during World War I, even though they were not Canadian Citizens.

Gabriel J. Sylliboy became the first elected Grand Chief at the ceremony in Chapel Island.

Reg. V. Sylliboy became an important precedent setting case in which the Treaty of 1752 held not to give the Mi’kmaq of Cape Breton Island immunity from the Lands and Forests Act.

The Residential School in Shubenacadie opened. It closed in 1967. It was used as a means of speeding up the process of assimilation.

Over 250 Nova Scotian Mi’kmaqs signed up for service during World War II -Again, even though they were not Canadian citizens.

The Indian Affairs Branch introduced centralization programs in Nova Scotia. The aim of centralization was to relocate the Mi’kmaq to reserves located at Eskasoni and Shubenacadie.

The Veterans Act grant was used to buy housing for veterans returning from the War.

Over 60 Nova Scotian Mi’kmaq enlisted for service in Korea.

Revisions were made to the Indian Act which removed the ban against performing traditional ceremonies as well as the clause forbidding Indians from entering public bars.

The Canadian Government finally grants Citizenship to Indians.

Eight of eleven Mi’kmaq bands in Nova Scotia took over control of their own affairs, including the management of band funds.

The Canadian Government permitted Indians to vote in federal and provincial elections without any loss in their status under the Indian Act.

The Union of Nova Scotia Indians was formed. Trudeau introduced the “White Paper Policy” which was an attempt to force native people to adopt the values and culture of Canadians of European descent. It would eliminate special status for native people and repeal the Indian Act. The Citizen Plus, also known as the “Red Paper” was presented to Prime Minister Trudeau. It was a response by the Indian Chiefs of Alberta rejecting the provisions of the White Paper.

The federal government begins funding native groups and associations to conduct research into treaties and Indian rights.

The White Paper Policy was withdrawn.

The Micmac Association of Cultural Studies and the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association were formed.

The Acadia Band became the 12th Band in Nova Scotia.

The Micmac Association of Cultural Studies iniated a new writing system for Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw.

The Native Council of Nova Scotia was formed by the non-status Mi’kmaq and Metis.

The Mi’kmaw Grand Council and USNI presented, under their Aborignal Rights, a position paper to the Minister of Indian Affairs.

The Francis/Smith writing system became the official writing system for the Mi’kmaw language in Nova Scotia.

The Constitution Act recognized existing Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Treaty and Aborignal Rights where recognized under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The treaty also officially recognizes the Metis Nation.

Mi’kmaq Petroglyphs are found carved on a hillside in Bedford, Nova Scotia.

In James Matthew Simon vs. the Queen, a Supreme Court ruling held that the 1752 treaty was still valid and enforceable. Mi’kmaq Family & Children’s Services was established to serve the Native communities of Nova Scotia. Also in this year, Bill C-31 went into effect. This bill permitted the re-installment of 8,000 individuals to Indian status.

The Grand Chief of the Mi’kmaq announced that October 1st would be known as “Treaty Day” to commmerate the relationship between the Mi’kmaq and Her Majesty. On October 28th of this year, the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall Jr. Prosecution was established by the Executive Council of Nova Scotia by Order in Council. Additionally, the Confederacy of Mainland Micmacs was established by the band councils of six mainland Nova Scotia First Nations.

Meech Lake Accord recognized Quebec as a “distinct society”, a right denied to First Nations People.

The Dalhousie Law School Programme for Indigenous Blacks and Micmacs was established.

This year brought the first publication of the Micmac Nation News, which would later become the Micmac-Maliseet Nations News. Additionally, the Marshall Inquiry Report highlighted the inadequacies of the Nova Scotia justice system in regards to the Mi’kmaw people.

The Micmac Heritage Gallery opened its doors in Halifax.

The Mi’kmaw Cultural Alliance was established at Hants East Rural High School.

A Policing Agreement was signed by the Nova Scotia and Federal Governments with the Union of Nova Scotia Indians.

The Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia and Ronald J. Irwin, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, signed an accord which would allow Mi’kmaq jurisdiction over education.

The Minister of Indian affairs issued department policy which recognized an inherent right to self-government.

The Royal Commission on Aborignal Peoples’ releases 5 volumes on their findings after 4 years of collecting information and 1 year of assembling.

Eastern Woodland Metis Nation Nova Scotia (EWMNNS) is established in Yarmouth County, NS.

By November, there are 8 Circles of the EWMNNS established. Canadian Aboriginal Veterans are finally recognized with their own unique Service Medal.

The EWMNNS signs treaty with Ontario Metis Allegiance Port McNicoll and Metis Womens Circle Hamilton Ontario. This makes the Eastern Woodland Metis Nation Nova Scotia the only Metis organization within this province to be recognized by O.M.A.P. as the Provincial Council for the Atlantic provinces.

The EWMNNS receives its first grant from Provincial and Federal Governments for Crime Prevention.

The EWMNNS receives its second grant from Provincial and Federal Governments for 2nd phase of Crime Prevention. On May 20th, Wayne Gaudet MLA (incumbent for Liberal Party) introduces a resolution to the House of Assembly in Halifax for the Government to meet with representatives of the Eastern Woodland Metis Nation Nova Scotia to discuss provincial recognition of the Nation.

EWMNNS received third grant from Federal and Provincial Governments for Crime Prevention. June 1st. EWMNNS attended the first annual PowWow at H.M.C.S. Dockyards hosted by the Military. Our Metis sash was draped down the front of the Eagle Staff by Chief Mary Lou Parker. June 21st. Aboriginal day was held in Quinan, a sunrise ceremony was held, a Metis Wedding was performed by Grand-Chief Tim Parker,our youngest Metis member was Baptised by our Spiritual Guidance councillor, Emile Gautreau.The Grand council all were inducted as Elders.EWMNNS recieved third grant from Federal and Provincial Governments for Crime Prevention.

On March 3, Grand Council members attend a reception at the Government House in Halifax at the request of Lieutenant Governor Mayann Francis. Welcoming speech was read by Chief Mary Lou Parker of EWMNNS.

EWMNNS recongized by Aboriginal Affairs NS and Human Rights NS.