Nova Scotia Archives

Mi'kmaw Community Gatherings

Sport and Performing Arts

Especially in the early 1900s, the Mi'kmaq were renowned for their participation in outdoor sports and in indigenous expressions of the performing arts. Michael Thomas, for example, was the first of several Prince Edward Island Mi'kmaq runners to achieve prominence in that sport; at the height of his career, he was the best distance runner in eastern Canada, winning marathons in Prince Edward Island (1909, 1910) and in Halifax (1910, 1911). In 1912, he won the 10-mile Halifax Marathon in front of 35,000 spectators, for an unprecedented third consecutive year.

Barney Francis, another Prince Edward Island Mi'kmaq, was inspired by Thomas. Francis registered an upset victory in the one-mile race at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Halifax in 1923, where his time of 4:32:1/5 broke a Maritime record which had stood for fifteen years.

Traditional expressions of indigenous performing arts were also strong within the Mi'kmaq community. Helen Creighton's work from the 1940s and 50s, for example, captured the Mi'kmaq as they sang or chanted traditional songs and laments, or retold their legends and beliefs.

Capitalizing on European fascination with indigenous culture, some Mi'kmaq also ventured into commercial performances. Advertising handbills from the early 1900s describe Alexander Paul as a "master of the violin," whose abilities enabled him to render difficult music "with a sweetness seldom heard." Chief Peter Glode, born in Kejimkujik, Queens County, became popular on the lecture circuit in the eastern United States where, assisted by his wife and daughter, he addressed his audiences on First Nations' culture, dance and song.


Results 1 to 7 of 7 from your search: Sports and Performing Arts



Mikmaq200803963
"Guides Meet 1938 at Lake William, N.S."
Date: 1938
Photographer: anonymous
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives Photo Drawer - Sports - Guides Meet

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Mikmaq200214118
"Indian, Nyanza, 1948"
Date: 1948
Photographer: anonymous
Reference no.: Helen Creighton Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-178, Album 14, no. 118

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Mikmaq200100125
Programme of violin concert
Date: 1900
Printer: Block Printing Co., Limited.
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives MG 100 vol. 189 #9a

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Mikmaq200100126
Programme of "Indian concert by Chief Peter Glode"
Date: 1900
Printer: anonymous
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives MG 100 vol. 189 #9b

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Mikmaq200100127
"Good old Barney Francis of Charlottetown, P.E.I., who established a new Maritime record for the mile run and won a place on Canada's Olympic Team."
Date: 1923
Photographer:
Reference no.: Nova Scotia Archives The Sunday Leader, Halifax, N.S., 14 Oct. 1923

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Mikmaq200214120
"Indian Reservation, Shubenacadie, 1948"
Date: 1948
Photographer: Helen Creighton
Reference no.: Helen Creighton Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-178, Album 14, no. 120

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Mikmaq200214122
Chief William Paul, Martin Sack, Ben Knockwood, John Knockwood
Date: 1948
Photographer: Helen Creighton
Reference no.: Helen Creighton Nova Scotia Archives accession no. 1987-178, Album 14, no. 122

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