HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia will grant a posthumous pardon Thursday to the first elected Mi'kmaq grand chief who became a passionate advocate for treaty rights after being convicted of illegal hunting.

Gabriel Sylliboy will receive only the second posthumous pardon in Nova Scotia history, after black civil rights pioneer Viola Desmond.

The province said it will also apologize to Sylliboy, who died in 1964, at a ceremony Thursday at Government House in Halifax.

Sylliboy was born in 1874 at Whycocomagh, Cape Breton.

He was convicted of hunting illegally in 1927, but took his fight to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, claiming treaty rights as his defence.

He lost, but the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the Mi'kmaq people's treaty rights decades later.