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As N.S. regional chief takes office, her headdress tells a story of her passions

Andrea Paul, the regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Nova Scotia, explains the Mi’kmaq hieroglyphics on the headdress made for her induction into her new position in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday Nov. 30, 2023. Paul is the first woman to hold the position in Nova Scotia. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Tutton) Andrea Paul, the regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Nova Scotia, explains the Mi’kmaq hieroglyphics on the headdress made for her induction into her new position in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday Nov. 30, 2023. Paul is the first woman to hold the position in Nova Scotia. (Source: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Tutton)
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DARTMOUTH, N.S. -

A Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq leader swore the oath of her new office on Thursday, wearing a headdress with hieroglyphics that evoke her life and passions.

Andrea Paul, the recently elected regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations for the province, explained during her induction ceremony the symbols were laden with meaning, including reminders of her time as chief of Pictou Landing First Nation.

One symbol indicates the water, another the Mi'kmaq people as a whole, both suggestive of her successful battle to stop the decades-long dumping of effluent from the Northern Pulp mill in the Boat Harbour lagoon near her community.

Another hieroglyph symbolizes the act of "listening," a skill that Paul says will be the key to her new role representing her people.

The headdress with 13 feathers -- one for each community -- was woven two weeks ago by basketry artist Shanna Francis of Membertou First Nation, who had asked Paul for the messages she wanted to convey.

The first woman to hold the position, Paul swore an oath to "support the well-being and the best interests of the chiefs of Nova Scotia," while in office for the next three years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2023.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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