Peace and friendship offering in honour of Treaty Day

Click to play video: 'Mi’kmaw Friendship Centre hosting celebrations to honour Mi’kmaq people' Mi’kmaw Friendship Centre hosting celebrations to honour Mi’kmaq people
WATCH: The Mi’kmaw Friendship Centre is hosting a four days long celebration to honour Mi’kmaw people, and on Friday, a communal salmon dinner has taken place in honor of Treaty Day. Amber Fryday has more. – Oct 1, 2021

The day after marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Nova Scotia is observing Treaty Day. The day is to mark the original accords between the British Crown and East Coast Indigenous people.

The hosts of the weekend celebration, the Mi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre, provided a complimentary salmon dinner to honour the relationship and the contribution of the Mi’kmaw people in the province. The first lucky 500 people received a salmon steak, vegetables, a roll and juice.

The salmon was prepared at the friendship centre with salmon that was caught by Mi’kmaq fishermen from the Listuguj First Nation in Quebec.

“I’m so very proud between yesterday and today to see people out here learning from us, who are honouring our treaty day,” said Debbie Eisan, the community events manager at the friendship centre and an Elder in Residence. She is native Ojibwe from northern Ontario.

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“I joined the military and I spent 36 years in the Navy and retired on a Friday. I took my siblings off and started working at the friendship centre on a Monday, and I’ve been there ever since.

“The people here in Nova Scotia are so open to learning and so open to embracing our culture. And that’s what it’s about. And you know, one of my favourite people is Senator Murray Sinclair. And he said, education got us into this mess and education will get us out. And it’s all about learning from each other.

“It’s all about being allies and respect for each other, but also respecting and acknowledging the residential school survivors and especially those who didn’t make it.”

Read more: Halifax marks National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with weekend of events

Garrett Gloade, the master of ceremonies for the weekend of reconciliation, said the reason the dinner was free is because it is in the name of peace and friendship and “this is what we do as Mi’kmaw people.”

Gloade, who is from Millbrook First Nation, says Treaty Day is an extremely important day for him.

“One thing that we need to remember: these treaties were signed in peace and friendship due to the fact that our people, the Mi’kmaq, my ancestors, did not surrender and they would not surrender because they knew their whole livelihood of who they were. They were not going to give up.”

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Luna Morais attended the event on the Halifax Waterfront with some friends and felt very grateful to receive the offering of peace and friendship.

“I think it is a heartfelt gesture on behalf of the Mi’kmaw people to feed people in times when they have been hungry without food and without drink and they open their hearts to everyone and they feed. That’s the most important thing about the food,” said Morais.

Read more: Mi’kmaw artists using traditional beading to raise money for clean drinking water

Angela Doyle Faulkner is a direct descendant of one of the chiefs who signed the Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1752 and says Treaty Day is a very emotional day for Indigenous people.

“We were the first people and this is a day to come together and have a gathering like we’re having here today and a feast and hopefully this will be a change to our future.”

Saturday, celebrations continue on the Halifax Waterfront, finishing the three-day-long festivities with Family Day.

“I really look forward to tomorrow with the children because that’s where we start educating, as is with children and teaching them about different cultures and the respect for different cultures and the way that we need to all treat each other with kindness,” said Eisan.

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The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

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