About Saint Mary's
Treaty Day at Saint Mary's
30 September, 2016
On Saturday, October 1, Saint Mary’s University will mark Treaty Day, and the beginning of Mi'kmaq History Month, by raising the Mi’kmaw flag on campus.
Treaty Day commemorates a series of peace and friendship treaties signed between the Mi’kmaq and the British Crown in the 18th century, including the Treaty of 1752, which not only guaranteed Mi’kmaq the right to hunting and fishing resources but also established October 1 as a day for Mi’kmaw representatives to visit Halifax and receive gifts.
In 1985, a landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling in the case of R. vs. James Simon upheld the validity of the 1752 treaty. The following year, then-Grand Chief of the Mi’kmaq Nation, Donald Marshall Sr., invited all Mi’kmaq “to observe [October 1] as Treaty Day to commemorate the unique and special relationship that exists between the Mi’kmaq and her Majesty.”
Today, Treaty Day commemorates the original treaties signed between the Crown and the Mi’kmaq Nation, as well as later court rulings that have upheld those treaties—and the basis of peace and friendship upon which they were initially conceived.