Treaty Education creates opportunities for Nova Scotians to learn about the Mi’kmaq, their inherent Aboriginal and Treaty rights, and our shared history. It promotes an understanding of the Peace and Friendship treaties as historical and living documents.

Nova Scotia has several historic treaties with the Mi’kmaq dating back to the 1720s. The significance of the treaties is not only the words contained in the documents, but in the conversations and ceremonies that accompanied the negotiations, establishing meaningful relationships.

Background

Treaty Education is a vehicle for us to begin the long-term, generational journey toward reconcilation. Mi’kmaq and provincial government officials are working together to develop specific Treaty Education programs and services for the education system, the provincial civil service and the broader public.

These programs and services highlight the contributions of the Mi’kmaq. They help explain how the Treaties were significant building blocks for Nova Scotia and Canada and how we have all benefited from them.

Four key questions guide the work of Treaty Education Nova Scotia:

  • Who are the Mi’kmaq historically and today?
  • What are the Treaties and why are they important?
  • What happened to the Treaty relationship?
  • What are we doing to reconcile our shared history to ensure justice and equity?

Through building awareness and understanding Nova Scotians can together create an environment where reconciliation can be fostered.

Areas of Focus

Public Education

Increasing the knowledge and awareness of Nova Scotia students about the importance of our shared history and the Peace and Friendship Treaties is critical to the success of Treaty Education. In January, 2015 Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education committed to incorporate Treaty Education into public school curriculum and programming at all grade levels.

Professional development began in June 2016 for elementary school music teachers. In September 2016 the Mi’kmaw drum program began in most elementary schools in Nova Scotia. Students learn the Mi’kmaq Honour Song and the importance of the drum in Mi’kmaw culture. Ongoing work includes a curriculum project on Indian Residential Schools targeted for elementary grades and the addition of Treaty Education into the P-12 curriculum.

Nova Scotia Public Service

A more inclusive, culturally sensitive and equitably diverse public service is important. In October, 2016 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Commissioner Dr. Marie Wilson addressed 300 public servants at the Provincial Public Service Diversity Conference. Dr. Wilson also met with provincial Deputy Ministers to discuss the TRC’s Calls to Action.

Work continues to build awareness among senior public servants regarding Treaty Education. Efforts are ongoing to enhance diversity-related learning and development for public servants.

General Public

Treaty Education creates an opportunity for every Nova Scotian to learn about our shared history in the province and in Canada. We are all Treaty People and our relationship is based on peace and friendship.

Workshops have been held in Halifax, Antigonish and Membertou with Mi’kmaw elders and other knowledge holders to inform the work that will serve as the foundation for Treaty Education.

Work is underway on a variety of projects including: a calendar about Mi’kmaq culture; participation in a live APTN broadcast from Halifax and seven other cities nationwide on National Aboriginal Day to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday; and development of a Speakers’ Bureau of resource people to share information with the public.

Highlights

January 2015

Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education commits to incorporate Treaty Education into public school curriculum and programming at all grade levels.

March 2015

More than 50 people attend at Treaty Education Workshop in Membertou and put together a list of recommendations for consideration.

July 2015

Representatives from Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK), the Mi’kmaq education authority, and provincial government visit experienced treaty commissions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

October 2015

Province of Nova Scotia signs an agreement with the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia to implement Treaty Education. The signing, involving Premier Stephen McNeil, Chief Leroy Denny and Chief Bob Gloade, takes place on Treaty Day in Halifax.

November 2015

A collaboration between Treaty Education Nova Scotia, Engage Nova Scotia and Canadians for a New Partnership sees more than 300 people attend an event in Halifax called Building Relationships Through Education.

December 2015

A banquet takes place in Membertou to honour the 30th anniversary of the Simon case, a turning point for Mi’kmaw rights in Canada.

February, April 2016

Respected Mi’kmaw knowledge holders, teachers and scholars attend workshops in Antigonish and Halifax to inform the educational framework that will serve as the foundation for Treaty Education Nova Scotia.

September 2016

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development introduces a Mi’kmaw drumming program for elementary schools in Nova Scotia. Elementary music teachers receive professional development along with a drum so students in each school can learn the Mi’kmaq Honour Song and the importance of the drum in Mi’kmaw culture.

October 2016

Let’s Play Together book, a resource for parents/guardians, relaunches with a redesign to incorporate Mi’kmaq culture and community. It is distributed to all Mi’kmaq childcare centres, health clinics and the IWK Health Centre.

November 2016

Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant and Mi’kmaq Grand Chief Benjamin Sylliboy host a ceremony to commemorate our Treaty relationship at Government House to honour the treaty relationship between the Crown and the Mi’kmaq of Nova Scotia.

The annual Chiefs & Cabinet meeting, held at the Nova Scotia Archives, begins with an opportunity for the Chiefs and Ministers to see the original treaty documents.

December 2016

The Public Service Commission hosts a blanket exercise with public servants to increase awareness about the effects of colonialism in North America, while focusing on the narratives of the Mi'kmaw Nation and the Peace and Friendship relationship in Atlantic Canada.

Ceremony to Commemorate our Treaty Relationship at Government House

November 23, 2016

The Samqwan Boyz, of Millbrook First Nation, sing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song to mark the historic event.

The Samqwan Boyz, of Millbrook First Nation, sing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song to mark the historic event.

A TV monitor at Government House displays one of the Peace and Friendship treaties that was recently digitally remastered by the Nova Scotia Archives during a ceremony to Ceremony to Commemorate Our Treaty Relationship at Government House on November 23, 2016.

A TV monitor at Government House displays one of the Peace and Friendship treaties that was recently digitally remastered by the Nova Scotia Archives during a ceremony to Ceremony to Commemorate Our Treaty Relationship at Government House on November 23, 2016.

Elder Doug Knockwood shakes Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant’s hand at a Ceremony to Commemorate Our Treaty Relationship held at Government House.

Elder Doug Knockwood shakes Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant’s hand at a Ceremony to Commemorate Our Treaty Relationship held at Government House.

Elder Doug Knockwood, Premier Stephen McNeil, Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, Her Honour, Mrs. Joan Grant and Sister Dorothy Moore following the conclusion of the Ceremony to Commemorate our Treaty Relationship held at Government House.

Elder Doug Knockwood, Premier Stephen McNeil, Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, Her Honour, Mrs. Joan Grant and Sister Dorothy Moore following the conclusion of the Ceremony to Commemorate our Treaty Relationship held at Government House.

Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, speaks during a Ceremony to Commemorate our Treaty Relationship held at Government House.

Grand Chief Ben Sylliboy, of the Mi’kmaq Grand Council, speaks during a Ceremony to Commemorate our Treaty Relationship held at Government House

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey presents a memory stick containing the digitally remastered Peace and Friendship Treaties to a member of Samqwan Boyz of Millbrook First Nation who performed the Mi’kmaq Honour Song during a ceremony to Ceremony to Commemorate Our Treaty Relationship held at Government House on November 23, 2016.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey presents a memory stick containing the digitally remastered Peace and Friendship Treaties to a member of Samqwan Boyz of Millbrook First Nation who performed the Mi’kmaq Honour Song during a ceremony to Ceremony to Commemorate Our Treaty Relationship held at Government House on November 23, 2016.

Drum Day Event

October 17, 2016

Students from Truro Elementary School participate in a Drum Day event on October 17, 2016 by playing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song. Traditional hand drums are being made available to all public elementary school music rooms.

Students from Truro Elementary School participate in a Drum Day event on October 17, 2016 by playing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song. Traditional hand drums are being made available to all public elementary school music rooms.

Students from Truro Elementary School participate in a Drum Day event on October 17 by playing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song. Traditional hand drums are being made available to all public elementary school music rooms.

Students from Truro Elementary School participate in a Drum Day event on October 17 by playing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song. Traditional hand drums are being made available to all public elementary school music rooms.

Jeff Lynds, Principal of Truro Elementary School; Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey; Millbrook Chief Robert Gloade; Jude Gerrard, Treaty Education Consultant, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development; Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince and Gary Adams, Superintendent of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, were among the dignitaries participating Truro Elementary School participate in a Drum Day event on October 17, 2016.

Jeff Lynds, Principal of Truro Elementary School; Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey; Millbrook Chief Robert Gloade; Jude Gerrard, Treaty Education Consultant, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development; Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince and Gary Adams, Superintendent of the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, were among the dignitaries participating Truro Elementary School participate in a Drum Day event on October 17, 2016.

The musical score and words for the Mi’kmaq Honour Song, performed during a Drum Day event at  Truro Elementary School.

The musical score and words for the Mi’kmaq Honour Song, performed during a Drum Day event at Truro Elementary School.

Students at Truro Elementary School perform the Mi’kmaq Honour Song at a Drum Day event.

Students at Truro Elementary School perform the Mi’kmaq Honour Song at a Drum Day event.

Millbrook Chief Robert Gloade talks to Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince at the Drum Day event.

Millbrook Chief Robert Gloade talks to Communities, Culture and Heritage Minister Tony Ince at the Drum Day event.

Treaty Education Memorandum of Understanding signing

October 1, 2015

Premier Stephen McNeil, Chief Leroy Denny and Chief Robert Gloade sign a memorandum of understanding on Treaty Education in Halifax on Treaty Day, October 1, 2015 as other officials look on.

Premier Stephen McNeil, Chief Leroy Denny and Chief Robert Gloade sign a memorandum of understanding on Treaty Education in Halifax on Treaty Day, October 1, 2015 as other officials look on.

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