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Nova Scotia celebrates Treaty Day with a day of cultural and traditional events

A spirit of community was on full display with cultural and traditional events across Nova Scotia focused on reflection, heritage, and togetherness.

Shubenacadie, the second largest First Nation community in Nova Scotia, organized a full day of events dedicated to cultural practices in the forms of games and education.

“Education was how they tried to destroy us and now we’re using education to make us even stronger. We’re utilizing all of the things they did to try and destroy us and we’re putting a Mi’kmaq twist on it,” said Eleanor Michael, community member from Sipekne’katik.

Treaty Day in Nova Scotia is a celebration marketing an agreement signed in 1952 between Indigenous people and federal government to foster its relationship.

“It’s an agreement that we continue our friendship. It’s called the friendship treaty,” explained Michael.

The celebration focused on promoting awareness about Mi’kmaq culture and heritage through food, music, and educational programming including language.

“I would like to see more Mi’kmaq being spoken. It’s sad. We’re a big population and I can practically count the speakers on my fingers,” said Mi’kmaq language professor Curtis Michael.

He said it’s a dying language, however, events celebrating Treaty Day is the beginning of a lifetime for learning for the next generation.

“I’d like to see our children in this community and other communities where they don’t speak to at least know a little more than what my friends or family knew when we were kids,” added Michael.

The community participated in a number of games and competition, all traditions of the past.

For the elders in the community, seeing the next generation reclaim their culture is profoundly touching.

“I’m so proud. I’m just overwhelmed. They are getting their jingle dresses and wearing their regalia,” said Sarah Sack with great pride.

Sack recalls organizing the first powwow that happened in the community following the signed agreement. She said she was told then it would not be widely attended by the community, but as more powwows were held where the Arbor now stands, more people attended.

“The first one we had about four people but then as we had more of them, more people from communities across Nova Scotia started to come,” she said.

Meanwhile in Halifax, the events included a flag raising ceremony at government house. Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor, Arthur J. LeBlanc, said it is time to honour Mi’kmaq history and culture.

A day full of unity and recognition of a rich culture that is strong and alive.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

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