Mi'kmaq history and people: October
Mi’kmaq History and People: Wikewikús (October)
Pjila'si (welcome). October has always been known as the start of autumn here in Taqamkuk (Newfoundland). The leaves turn pretty bright colours and the temperatures begin to drop. It is a very important changing of seasons for the Mi’kmaq people as well. We know it as Wikewikús (October) which translates as fattening animal time. Groups of Mi’kmaq at this time would traditionally move inland to hunt caribou and beaver.
We also celebrate Kisaknutmamkewey Na'kwek or Treaty day as do all first nations across this great land. October was proclaimed as Mi’kmaq History Month beginning in 1993 by the Santé Mawiómi Grand Council and the Government of Nova Scotia. There are number of historic events, some recent and some that go back a along time, that are worth mentioning. Here is listed some important events that occurred in October that come to mind:
- October 2, 2003 – Elder Sylvester Joe Benoit dies at Western Memorial Hospital in Corner Brook. He is son of Johnny Alfred Benoit and Milli (Millicent) Chaisson. He left to morn his wife Edna May Benoit, 4 daughters and 6 sons. He is father of Jasen Benwah, founder of St. George's Bay Mi'kmaq website and Chief of Benoit First Nation.
- October 3, 1872, the year Canada was born, the Mi’kmaq are being reported as "… very saucy the past three or four years; some one has been telling them they have exclusive right to both land and water in Conne, (Newfoundland) in fact they have a license to hold the south side of Conne, about two and a quarter miles in length and thirty-three chains deep.” (Cuff: as reproduced in Journals of the House of Assembly 1873, p792).
- October 15, 1915 - Victor Benoit, seaman, son of Joseph "Joe-Mic" Benoit and Helen Damois, was lost along with four other members of the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve, who had formed part of the crew of the armed diifter Frons Olivar were lost when that ship struck a mine and was blown up the previous day in the North Sea. Victor is buried in Hamilton Road Cemetery which is a combined municipal and military burial ground situated in the coastal town of Deal, Kent, in South East England.
- October 19, 2001 - Ada Benoit of the Miawpukek First Nation, Newfoundland, becomes the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the Dalhousie University Nurse Practitioner Program.
- October 22, 1764 - Governor Hugh Palliser of Newfoundland wasfrustrated to learn that Chief Jeannot had obtained "passports" for his band of about 150 persons from Lt. Col. James Pringle atLouisbourg, had crossed over to Newfoundland, and from therehad gone to Saint-Pierre, 22 October (PANL 1765; PRO 1765; Bartels and Janzen 1990:81; Balcom and Martijn n.d.).
- October 26, 1975- Saqamaw Billy Joe leads a blockade of a forest access road in retaliation for provincial government’s unfair treatment in allocating timber rights. Provincial government upgrades road to secondary highway to make it legal to stop them.
- October 29, 2016 - Grand Opening of Mi'kmawei Mawio'mi - Mi'kmaw Centre in Degrau, NL as the regional Mi'kmaw cultural Centre for Benoit 1st Nation. A dream of Saqamaw Jes'n Penwa' since 2006 that has finally been build.
- October 30, 1928 - John James Tourout marries Catherine (Katie) Wheeler on the Port au Port Peninsula.
I encourage our people to know their history and culture. Especially our Youth who will be in charge of tomorrow, they will need to respect the tradition, beliefs and culture of our Mi’kmaq Nation in order to built a better future. Welálin (thank you).
Compiled by Saqamaw Jasen S. Benwah
Benoit 1st Nation
Cape St. George, NL.
October 5, 2005
Updated Nov 30, 2016
Website Copyright © 2005 Jasen Sylvester Benwah