2018 Treaty Day Poster

In 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the Treaty of 1752 was still strong and called upon Her Majesty to honour the Treaty and others made with the Mi’kmaw nation.

In 1986, the then Grand Chief Donald Marshall Sr. proclaimed every October 1st as Treaty Day. It commemorates the key role of treaties in the relationship between the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq and the Crown. The annual ceremony reaffirms the historic presence of the Mi’kmaw who have occupied the land for thousands of years. The Mi’kmaq Nation and the crown also exchange gifts to mark each October 1st.

By celebrating Treaty Day, we are giving thanks to the Mi’kmaw and the Crown for signing treaties of peace and friendship.

People continue to gather in Halifax on October 1st to participate and enjoy various cultural events in celebration of Treaty Day. It is a reunion for many Mi’kmaq and a time for people to learn a part of Nova Scotia’s 12,000 year-old history.

Union of Nova Scotia Indians

The Union of Nova Scotia Indians (UNSI) played an integral role in the establishment of Treaty Day and Mi’kmaq History Month. The UNSI is a tribal organization that has been in existence in Nova Scotia for over 40 years. It held its first meeting on July 12th, 1969 and ratified its constitution on September 13th, 1969 during its first annual general assembly. UNSI was formally incorporated under the Nova Scotia’s Societies’ Act on July 3, 1970.

The organization came into existence to provide a unified political voice for the Mi’kmaw people of the province in the face of a proposed federal government policy to assimilate Canada’s First Nations people into mainstream society. The 1969 White Paper was widely viewed by the First Nations’ leadership as the government’s deliberate attempt to introduce a policy of cultural and political genocide.

Faced with the prospect of extinction, a group of Mi’kmaw leaders formed the Union of Nova Scotia Indians to provide political leadership for the Mi’kmaw Nation. The Union of Nova Scotia Indians operates under its original terms of the Memorandum of Association that was registered in 1970 and its present by-law that was adopted in July 1992 and amended during its 28th annual assembly held in Waycobah in July 1997.


Grand Council Members

Grand Council – Sante’ Mawio’mi
Taken from the Fourth Edition Mi’kmaw Resource Guide)

Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Mi’kmaw Nation was a self governing Nation whereby important decisions were contemplated through the body of the traditional Mi’kmaw government -the Mi’kmaw Grand Council.  This structure found its basis at the village level, whereby a local chief presided over the council of Elders of his village or band and was responsible to carry out the decisions of his group of elders.  Although local chiefs did not hold an official position within the Sante’ Mawio’mi, their concerns were brought forth by the District Chiefs. The district chief presided over his area’s council of local chiefs, with the responsibility of settling issues that might cause serious conflict among the districts, or between Nations such as Treaty signing or alliances or in time of war. The Sante’ Mawio’mi was comprised of representatives from each of the seven Nikanus (District Chief), Kji-Keptin (Grand Captain), the Putu’s (Recorder/Secretary) and the Grand Council Leader, the Kji-Saqmaw (Grand Chief).  All discussions within the council were based on consensus and included mutual respect and trust as a code of governance.

Today, the Sante’ Mawio’mi plays a significant and critical role in the Mi’kmaw Nation, ensuring that our culture and language is maintained, preserved, and encouraged.

Grand Council ~ Sante’ Mawi’omi ~

  • Kji-Saqmaw Ben Sylliboy – Whycocomagh – We’koqma’q
  • Kji-Keptin Antle Denny – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik
  • Putus Victor Alex – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik
  • Keptin Lloyd Augustine – Burnt Church – Eskinuopitijk – Sikniktewaq
  • Keptin Roger Augustine – Eel Ground – Natuaqanek – Sikniktewaq
  • Keptin Stephen Augustine – Unama’ki- Sikniktewaq
  • Keptin Colin Bernard – Millbrook -We’kopekwitk – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Dean Christmas – Membertou – Maupeltuk – Unama’ki
  • Keptin John W. (Tiny) Cremo – Whycocomagh – We’koqma’q – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Michael Denny – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Oliver (Sappy) Denny – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Walter Denny Jr. – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Donald Francis – Pictou Landing – Puksaqte’kne’katik
  • Keptin Joseph Googoo – Whycocomagh – We’koqma’q – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Melvin Jeddore – Conne River – Miawpukwek – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Mis’el Joe – Conne River – Miawpukwek – Unama’ki
  • Keptin John D. Johnson – Chapel Island – Potlotek – Unama’ki
  • Keptin James Johnson – Millbrook – We’kopekwitk – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Leo Johnson Jr. – Eskasoni – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Russel Julian – Indian Brook – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Keith Julian Sr. – Millbrook – We’kopekwitk – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Gary Knockwood – Indian Brook – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Noel Knockwood – Indian Brook – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Ron Knockwood – Enfield – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Reginald Maloney – Indian Brook – Sipekne’katik
  • Keptin Stephen Marshall – Chapel Island – Potlotek – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Alfred (Fred) Metallic – Restigouche – Listukujk – Kespe’k
  • Keptin Gary Metallic – Restigouche – Listukujk – Kespe’k
  • Keptin Melvin Paul – Membertou – Maupeltuk – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Benedict Pierro – Wagmatcook – Wagmitkuk – Unama’ki
  • Keptin John Prosper – Whycocomagh – We’koqma’q – Unama’ki
  • Keptin John R. Prosper – Bayfield, Pictou Landing – Puksaqte’kne’katik – Piktuk
  • Keptin Martin Sappier Jr. – Pictou Landing – Puksaqte’kne’katik – Piktuk
  • Keptin John Joe Sark – Johnson River – Epekwitk
  • Keptin Ronald Stevens Sr. – Wagmatcook – Waqmitkuk – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Athanasius Sylliboy Jr. – Eskasoni -Eskisoqnik – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Norman J. Sylliboy Jr. – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik – Unama’ki
  • Keptin Tom Sylliboy Sr. – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik – Unama’ki
  • Police Jordan Francis – Eskasoni – Eskisoqnik – Unama’ki
  • Police Frankie Googoo – Whycocomagh – We’koqma’q – Unama’ki

The Grand Chief and Captains of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council hold an honorary position in many Mi’kmaw committees and organizations. They are consulted in groups, which affect the whole Mi’kmaw communities.