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Mi'kmaq Settlement - Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
mid-1800s

MI'KMAQ FIRST NATION

A short history: Maritime First Nations

There are only two First Nations in the Maritimes, Maliseet and Mi'kmaq, not 29. The Maliseet First Nation has six Maritime Communities, and one in Maine; the Mi'kmaq First Nation has 23 Maritime Communities, and five in other jurisdictions: Newfoundland (1) Quebec (3) Maine (1) These communities, with the exception of the two in Maine, have been organized into Bands under Section 2 of the Indian Act. The two Maine communities have been recognized by the United States government.

To refer to each First Nation community as a First Nation is incorrect, it only serves the best interests of Canada. Canada tried to fortify this usage by ignoring First Nation affiliation by placing them under an Aboriginal label under this now defunct address: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/at/mp/mp_e.html. All Bands were listed without regard to First Nation affiliation, and the Website header stated "Atlantic Region Aboriginal Communities." One wonders why the header didn't read "Atlantic Region First Nation Communities." The government has now changed this (2009) and it now list each First Nation Community outside the Aboriginal label.

I believe the reason for the way they had originally listed First Nations under the Aboriginal heading is that the Canadian government is fundamentally opposed to seeing the country's First Nations reconstituted as they existed prior to it using Section 2 of the Indian Act to fragmentize them. I'll use the Mi'kmaq First Nation fragmentation experience as an example of how the government accomplished the deed.

Up until the mid 1950s, the time when the bands in the Maritimes were organized under the Indian Act, as per the provisions of Section 2, the Mi'kmaq enjoyed free movement to any Mi'kmaq First Nation Communities they selected. For instance, (fictional) if John Paul's family wanted to move from Burnt Church to Shubenacadie, or any other Mi'kmaq First Nation community, they simply did so. Because of this, there was a sense of community among the Mi'kmaq, our people considered themselves members of one big family.

However, after the Mi'kmaq Bands were organized under the Indian Act, this ideal situation changed drastically. The Canadian government used Section 2 to divide and conquer. It did so by putting up artificial walls around each Mi'kmaq First Nation community by legislation, which made them into separate independent units. Now, if John Paul's family wants to move from Burnt Church to another Mi'kmaq community, the family must first apply for membership in that community. If the council of the community to which they want to move refuses their application they can't move. Incredibly, there doesn't have to be a reason for refusal, it could be for any reason, or no reason, and there is no appeal. The procedure is so stringent that in many cases it's worst than the troubles that a Canadian citizen would encounter trying to migrate to the United States, or an American trying to migrate to Canada.

Why the barriers? It is truly strange that a First Nation person, who wants to move to another community within his/her First Nation, has to surmount legal barriers erected by the Canadian government before he/she can do so. It becomes mind boggling when one takes into consideration that such restrictions on movement of people between communities within their own Nation are only found in police States. However, it should be noted that in such States the State applies the restriction upon it's own people, not upon people in another jurisdiction. This situation is discrimination at its worst because it only applies to First Nations Peoples in a society where otherwise free movement is permitted. The truth of this is witnessed by the fact that Canadian citizens living in any Canadian province can move to another Canadian province without encountering any legal restriction. Ditto for American citizens, they can move from state to state without legal barriers. But the Mi'kmaq, and other First Nation Peoples across this country, are barred by Canadian law from doing so within their respective First Nation communities. A repulsive violation of the human rights of Canada's First Nation citizens by the country's politicians.

The time has come for Canada's First Nation People to demand that Canada remove the artificial divisions it legislated to fragmentize First Nations. Then, each First Nation can reunite. However, I should mention, that among the biggest fears that both Canada and the United States have is Tribal reorganization. It would lead to each united First Nation speaking with a truly united voice when demanding justice and respect for our human, Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, instead of the 600 plus fragmented whispers we use at present.

The following is Section 2 of the Indian Act:

2. (1) In this Act, "band" means a body of Indians

(a) for whose use and benefit in common, lands, the legal title to which is vested in Her Majesty, have been set apart before, on or after September 4, 1951, [This statement implies that First Nations' aboriginal interests in their lands are protected by Section 91(24) of the British North America Act.]

(b) for whose use and benefit in common, moneys are held by Her Majesty, or

(c) declared by the Governor in Council to be a band for the purposes of this Act.... "council of the band" means

(a) in the case of a band to which section 74 applies, the council established pursuant to that section [Indian Act election and Band Council procedural sections].

(b) in the case of a band to which section 74 does not apply, the council chosen according to the custom of the band, or, where there is no council, the chief of the band chosen according to the custom of the band.

Mi'kmaq First Nation Communities

Nova Scotia

Acadia First Nation Acadia
Annapolis Valley First Nation Annapolis Valley
Bear River First Nation Bear River
Eskasoni First Nation Eskasoni
Glooscap (Horton) First Nation Glooscap
Membertou (Sydney) First Nation Membertou
Millbrook (Truro) First Nation Millbrook
Paq'tnkek (Afton) First Nation Paq'tnkek
Pictou Landing First Nation Pictou Landing
Potlotek (Chapel Island) First Nation Potlotek
Shubenacadie First Nation Shubenacadie
Wagmatcook (Middle River) First Nation Wagmatcook
Waycobah (Whycocomagh) First Nation Waycobah

New Brunswick

Buctouche First Nation Buctouche
Eel Ground First Nation Eel Ground
Eel River Bar First Nation Eel River Bar
Elsipogtog (Big Cove) First Nation Elsipogtog
Esgenoopetitj (Burnt Church) First Nation Burnt Church
Fort Folly First Nation Fort Folly
Indian Island First Nation Indian Island
Metepenagiag (Red Bank) First Nation Metepenagiag
Pabineau First Nation Pabineau

Newfoundland

Miawpukek (Conne River) First Nation Miawpukek
St George's Bay Mi'kmaq St George's Bay Mi'kmaq

Prince Edward Island

Abegweit First Nation Abegweit
Lennox Island First Nation Lennox Island

Quebec

Gesgapegiag (Maria) First Nation Gesgapegiag
Gespeg (no reserve) First Nation Gespeg
Listuguj (Restigouche) First Nation Listuguj

Maine

Aroostook Band Aroostook Band

Click the following to find Websites for Maliseet First Nation Communities Maliseet First Nation Communities

If not shown on their Websites, click the following to acquire contact information for Mi'kmaq First Nation communites:
Nova Scotia, http://pse5-esd5.ainc-inac.gc.ca/fnp/Main/Search/FNListGrid.aspx?lang=eng
New Brunswick,http://pse5-esd5.ainc-inac.gc.ca/fnp/Main/Search/FNListGrid.aspx?lang=eng
Prince Edward Island,http://pse5-esd5.ainc-inac.gc.ca/fnp/Main/Search/FNListGrid.aspx?lang=eng
Newfoundlandhttp://pse5-esd5.ainc-inac.gc.ca/FNP/Main/Search/FNMain.aspx?BAND_NUMBER=47&lang=e.
Quebechttp://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/at/mp/mp_e.html

Please visit the following URL to get a wider perspective on how Indian Affairs mismanaged the Indian Trust Funds belonging to the Mi'kmaq First Nation Communites in Nova Scotia:
http://www.danielnpaul.com/NovaScotiaMi'kmaqBands.html

Click to read about Mi'kmaq Culture

Please visit the following URL to see a map of Mi'kmaq territory:
Map - Mi'kmaq Territory

To view a list of pre-Columbian American Indian Food - North and South America click: Food Sources and Cuisine

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