December 6, 2017 6:01 pm

Roses placed in Halifax harbour to honour Mi’kmaq lives lost in Halifax Explosion

On the National Day of Action on Violence Against Women, a Mi’kmaq prayer song was presented at Province House in downtown Halifax. Catherine Martin of Millbrook First Nation performed the song and it “represents the heartbeat of Mother Earth.”


With the warm smell of sweet grass swirling through the wind, members of the Mi’kmaq community who perished in the Halifax Explosion were honoured in an intimate ceremony on the Dartmouth shoreline on Wednesday.

“That day was probably one of the most horrific events in all of our Mi’kmaq history,” said Catherine Martin, of Millbrook First Nation.

Martin lost several family members a century ago on the morning of Dec. 6, 1917.

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Her great Aunt Rachel survived and lived to share the story of how the Martin family and many others, were forever changed by the events of that day.

“She says that on that day they went to school. Henry was killed, Louie was killed and she survived. She woke up in the blizzard the next day on the back of a door and was being carried by relatives and a Gaelic women was singing a lullaby to her in Gaelic and giving her chicken soup,” she said.

According to Martin, there were three coves on the shoreline of Dartmouth in 1917, all settled by Mi’kmaq.

“That’s just one story [the story of her Aunt Rachel] of many of the 27 families who were impacted on the three different coves here. Millers Cove, Wrights Cove, Peter Tony’s Cove, all along the Tuft’s Cove shoreline,” Martin said.

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Shorelines that will forever hold the spirit of those who were killed 100 years ago.

“I want people to remember through ceremony these incredible people who survived all of this but unfortunately lost many, many family members and so it’s a way to bring peace.”

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