JAMES A. MICHAEL
First Mi'kmaq Admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar
Courtesy of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society
PORTRAIT UNVEILING CEREMONY
The Law Courts, Halifax, NS
June 11, 2008
Having his portrait hung at the The Law Courts as the First Mi'kmaq lawyer to be admitted to the Bar was a great honor for Jim, and a point of pride for our People. However, one might ask "Why did it take until 1993 before a Mi'kmaq was finally admitted to the Nova Scotia Bar"? Could the long exclusion be related to the racism that once abounded in this Province, and still exists to the extent that the province continues to honor an evil man who tried to exterminate our ancestors, Governor Edward Cornwallis? Having Halifax's Cornwallis Park renamed Peace and Friendship Park, and the Governor's statue removed, would be a very fitting monument to the courage displayed by Jim, and other Mi'kmaq, in achieving their goals in spite of Nova Scotia's racial exclusion barriers. Daniel N. Paul
James A. Michael, was born to Joe and Elizabeth (Gehue) Michael in Truro, Nova Scotia. He was raised on the Indian Brook Reserve, and is a member of the Shubenacadie Band. He currently holds the Director position at the Treaty and Aboriginal Rights Research Centre at Indian Brook Indian Reserve, Shubenacadie Band, a position he has held for the past 15 years. His primary duties, besides directing the organization’s operations, revolve around preparing outstanding Mi’kmaq land claims, treaty issues, and aboriginal title issues for negotiation, or litigation.
In 1984, Michael graduated from Nova Scotia’s East Hants Rural High, where he received the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Dalhousie University, and in 1992 graduated from the University’s Law School. He articled with the Halifax, Nova Scotia, firm of McInnes Cooper & Robertson.
During the years 1996-2003, James was a member of the Chiefs’ Committee on Claims – a national level advisory body on land claims issues. He has made numerous presentations at the provincial and national levels on treaties and land claims, including, but not limited too the Polar Commission and the Algonquin Conference. He has served two terms on the Shubenacadie Band Council.
In his spare time he enjoys karate, and over the years has represented the reserve in both fastball and hockey tournaments. He is married with one daughter