The importance of the treaty relationship with the Mi’kmaq and the achievements and leadership of elders and youth were celebrated on Treaty Day, today, Oct. 2.
“Treaty Day is a time to reflect on the importance of our special relationship and engage in conversations about how to make it even stronger in the future,” said Premier Stephen McNeil, who is also the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
“It is a day to renew promises and an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of Mi’kmaw elders and youth.”
Celebrated for the last 31 years, the Mi’kmaq and the provincial government have been coming together to collaborate and share lessons learned during Treaty Day. Some of the Treaty Day activities Monday included a flag raising at Government House, a prayer service, a veteran’s march and an awards ceremony.
“Treaty Day is an annual affirmation of our shared rights and responsibilities as allies, embedded within the treaties of peace and friendship signed by our ancestors,” said Grand Chief Ben Syliboy. “These treaties bind us together and remind us of the importance of co-operation and dialogue moving forward, and that we are all treaty people.”
At today’s ceremony, awards were presented to elders and youth from Mi’kmaw communities across the province. The winners for 2017 are:
— Chief Noel Doucette Memorial Youth Education Award – Christian Francis, Pictou Landing, Pictou Co.
— Chief Noel Doucette Memorial Youth Education Award – Jonas Jay Cope, Millbrook, Colchester Co.
— Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Elder Award – Joan Denny, Membertou, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
— Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Elder Award – Mary Janet (Young) Abram, Millbrook, Colchester Co.
— Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Scholarship (graduate)– Velvet Paul, Sipekne’katik, Hants Co.
— Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. Memorial Scholarship – (undergraduate) Kendyl Sylliboy, We’koqma’q, Inverness Co.
— Sister Dorothy Moore Education Scholarship – Kim MacDonald, Wagmatcook, Victoria Co.
— Sister Dorothy Moore Education Scholarship – Kristen Cremo, Eskasoni, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
— Sister Dorothy Moore Education Scholarship – Micheline Young, Eskasoni, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
— Sister Dorothy Moore Education Scholarship – Raylene Denny, Membertou, Cape Breton Regional Municipality
Work on treaty education continues after the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Mi’kmaq leaders on Treaty Day 2015. The MOU outlined the sharing of Mi’kmaq history in public schools, among the public service and with the general public.
“Through awareness and understanding we create an environment where reconciliation can be fostered. We are committed to this important work and strengthening our treaty relationship,” said Premier McNeil.
Treaty Day began in 1986 with the signing of a proclamation by then Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. October is Mi’kmaq History Month in Nova Scotia.