October – A month for celebrating abundance and relationships
Posted on October 1, 2023
October is the month to celebrate Indigenous Peoples relationships with the land and the Crown.
In 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed the validity of the Treaty of 1752, signed between “Jean Baptiste Cope, Chief Sachem of the Tribe of Mick Mack Indians, Inhabiting the Eastern Coast of Said Province,” and Peregrine Thomas Hopson, Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia – in its ruling of the court case, James Matthew Simon v. the Queen. This ruling not only validated Aboriginal Treaty rights, but also confirmed the unique relationship which exists between the Indigenous Peoples and the Crown. Since 1752 many other treaties between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown were entered into as sovereign nations.
In 1986, the Mi’kmaq Nation observed October 1st and every year thereafter as Treaty Day to commemorate the unique and special relationship that exists between the Mi’kmaq and her Majesty. The Mi’kmaq Nation’s territory is vast and occupies 5 out of 10 Canadian provinces adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean. The federal Crown has begun referring to the day as National Indigenous Peoples Day. This day has been celebrated as a statutory territorial holiday in the Northwest Territories since 2001 and in Yukon since 2017. It is not, however, currently considered a statutory holiday across the rest of the country.
October is also the month First Nations in Canada harvest their crops and hunt game in preparation for the winter months to come. Through our ceremonies and cultural practices, First Nations sustain their Indigenous ways of living and knowing.
First Nations Education Administrators Association Board and staff encourage its membership and their communities to promote Indigenous history and culture within their curricular and education activities. Celebrating the gifts of food, fish, and game with traditional preservation methods honors our ancestors and teaches our youth how to respect and prosper though connection to the land.
Union of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq. 2023. “Treaty Day Background”. www.unsm.org/treaty-day