|Grand Council Flag of the Mi'kmaq Nation. Although the flag is meant to be displayed hanging vertically as shown here, it is quite commonly flown horizontally, with the star near the upper hoist.|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Canada (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec), United States (Maine)|
Christianity, Míkmaq Traditionalism and Spirituality, others
|Related ethnic groups|
other Algonquian peoples
The Míkmaq (English //; Mi'kmaq: [miːɡmax]) are a First Nations people, indigenous to Canada's Maritime Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec. They call this region Mi'kma'kik. Others today live in Newfoundland and the northeastern region of Maine. The nation has a population of about 40,000 (plus about 25,000 in the Qalipu First Nation), of whom nearly 11,000 speak the Míkmaq language. Once written in Míkmaq hieroglyphic writing, it is now written using most letters of the standard Latin alphabet.
The Grand Council (also known as Santé Mawiómi) was the traditional senior level of government for the Mi'kmaq people until the Indian Act was created (1876). After implementation of the Indian Act, the Grand Council adopted a more spiritual function. The Grand Council was made up of representatives from the seven district councils in Mi'kmai'ki.
On September 26, 2011 the Government of Canada announced the recognition of Canada's newest Mi'kmaq First Nations Band, the Qalipu First Nations in Newfoundland and Labrador. The new landless band has accepted 25,000 applications to become part of the band. The number of applications received by the application deadline on November 30, 2012 exceeded 100,000. The majority of these have yet to be processed. Its members are recognized as Status Indians, joining other organized Mi'kmaq bands recognized in southeast Canada.
The ethnonym has traditionally been spelled Micmac in English, but natives have used different spellings: Mi’kmaq (singular Mi’kmaw) by the Míkmaq of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, Miigmaq (Miigmao) by the Míkmaq of New Brunswick, Mi’gmaq by the Listuguj Council in Quebec, or Mìgmaq (Mìgmaw) in some native literature. Until the 1980s, "Micmac" remained the most common spelling in English.
Although still used, for example, in Ethnologue, this spelling has fallen out of favour in recent years. Most scholarly publications use the preferred native spelling of Mi'kmaq, as the spelling Micmac is now considered to be "colonially tainted". The Míkmaq prefer to use one of the three current Míkmaq orthographies when writing the language.
Lnu (the adjectival and singular noun, previously spelled "L'nu"; the plural is Lnúk, Lnu’k, Lnu’g, or Lnùg) is the self-recognized term for the Míkmaq of New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Maine, meaning "human being" or "the people".
Various explanations exist for the origin of the term Míkmaq. The Mi'kmaw Resource Guide states that "Míkmaq" means "the family":
The definite article "the" suggests that "Mi'kmaq" is the undeclined form indicated by the initial letter "m". When declined in the singular it reduces to the following forms: nikmaq - my family; kikmaq - your family; wikma - his/her family. The variant form Mi'kmaw plays two grammatical roles: 1) It is the singular of Mi'kmaq and 2) it is an adjective in circumstances where it precedes a noun (e.g. mi'kmaw[sic?] people, mi'kmaw treaties, mi'kmaw person, etc.)
However, there are other hypotheses:
The name "Micmac" was first recorded in a memoir by de La Chesnaye in 1676. Professor Ganong in a footnote to the word megamingo (earth), as used by Marc Lescarbot, remarked "that it is altogether probable that in this word lies the origin of the name Micmac." As suggested in this paper on the customs and beliefs of the Micmacs, it would seem that megumaagee the name used by the Micmacs, or the Megumawaach, as they called themselves, for their land, is from the words megwaak, "red", and magumegek, "on the earth", or as Rand recorded, "red on the earth," megakumegek, "red ground," "red earth." The Micmacs, then, must have thought of themselves as the Red Earth People, or the People of the Red Earth. Others seeking a meaning for the word Micmac have suggested that it is from nigumaach, my brother, my friend, a word that was also used as a term of endearment by a husband for his wife... Still another explanation for the word Micmac suggested by Stansbury Hagar in "Micmac Magic and Medicine" is that the word megumawaach is from megumoowesoo, the name of the Micmacs' legendary master magicians, from whom the earliest Micmac wizards are said to have received their power.
Members of the Mi'kmaq First Nation historically referred to themselves as Lnu, but used the term níkmaq (my kin) as a greeting. The French initially referred to the Míkmaq as Souriquois" and later as Gaspesiens or (through English) "Mickmakis". The British originally referred to them as Tarrantines.
The Mi'kmaq territory was divided into seven traditional "districts". Each district had its own independent government and boundaries. The independent governments had a district chief and a council. The council members were band chiefs, elders, and other worthy community leaders. The district council was charged with performing all the duties of any independent and free government by enacting laws, justice, apportioning fishing and hunting grounds, making war, suing for peace, etc.
In addition to the district councils, there was also a Grand Council or Santé Mawiómi. The Grand Council was composed of "Keptinaq", or captains in English, who were the district chiefs. There were also Elders, the Putús (Wampum belt readers and historians, who also dealt with the treaties with the non-natives and other Native tribes), the women council, and the Grand Chief. The Grand Chief was a title given to one of the district chiefs, which was usually from the Mi'kmaq district of Unamáki or Cape Breton Island. This title was hereditary and usually went to the Grand Chief's eldest son. The Grand Council met on a little island on the Bras d'Or lake in Cape Breton called "Mniku", on a reserve today called Chapel Island or Potlotek. To this day, the Grand Council still meets at the Mniku to discuss current issues within the Mi'kmaq Nation.
Pre-contact culture 
Mi'kmaq people lived in structures called wigwams. Saplings, which were usually spruce, were cut down and bent over a circle drawn on the ground. These saplings were lashed together at the top, and then covered with birch bark. The Mi'kmaq had two different sizes of wigwams. The smaller size could hold 10-15 people and the larger size 15-20 people. Wigwams could be either conical or domed in shape.
Food and hunting 
The Mi'kmaq were semi-nomadic. During the summer they spent most of their time on the shores harvesting seafood; during the winter they would move inland to the woods to hunt. The most important animal hunted by the Mi'kmaq was the moose which provided food, clothing, cordage, and other things. Other animals hunted/trapped included deer, caribou, bear, rabbit, beaver, and others. The weapon used most for hunting was the bow and arrow. The Mi'kmaq made their bows from maple. The Mi'kmaq people would store lobsters in the ground for later consumption.The Mi’kmaq ate fish of all kinds, like salmon, sturgeon, porpoises, whales, walrus, seals, lobster, squid, shellfish, and eels, as well as seabirds and their eggs. The Mi'kmaq also ate moose, caribou, beaver, porcupine and small animals, like squirrels. 
Hunting a moose 
The moose was the most important animal to the Mi'kmaq. It was their second main source of meat, clothing and cordage, which were all crucial commodities. The Mi'kmaq usually hunted moose in groups of 3 to 5 men. Before the moose hunt, the Mi'kmaq would starve their dogs for 2 days to make them fierce in helping to finish off the moose. To kill the moose, they would injure it first, by using a bow and arrow or other weapons, and after it was down, they would move in on it and finish it off with spears and their dogs. The guts would then be fed to the dogs. During this whole process, the men would try to direct the moose in the direction of the camp, so that the women would not have to go as far to drag the moose back. A boy became a man in the eyes of the community after he had killed his first moose. It was only then that he had earned the right to marry.
On June 24, 1610, Grand Chief Membertou converted to Catholicism and was baptised. He concluded an alliance with the French Jesuits which affirmed the right of Mi'kmaq to choose Catholicism and\or Mi'kmaw tradition. The Mi'kmaq, as allies with the French, were amenable to limited French settlement in their midst.
Colonial wars 
In the wake of King Phillips War, the Mi'kmaq became members of the Wapnáki (Wabanaki Confederacy), an alliance with four other Algonquian-language nations: the Abenaki, Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, and Maliseet.
The Wabanaki Confederacy were allied with Acadia. Over a period of seventy-five years, there were six wars in Mi'kma'ki (Acadia and Nova Scotia) in which the Mi'kmaq fought to keep the British from taking over the region (See the four French and Indian Wars as well as Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War). While France lost military control of Acadia in 1710, and political claim by the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht (apart from Cape Breton), the Mí'kmaq on the other hand never conceded any land to the British.
In 1715 the Mi'kmaq were to learn that the British now claimed their ancient territory as their own, by the Treaty of Utrecht that the Mi'kmaq were no party to. They formally complained to the French commander at Louisbourg for the French king transferring the sovereignty of their nation when he did not possess it. They were only then informed that the French had claimed legal possession of their country for a century, on account of laws decreed by kings in Europe, that no land could be legally owned by any non-Christian, and that such land was therefore freely available to any Christian prince who claimed it. Mi'kmaw historian Daniel Paul observes that "If this warped law were ever to be accorded recognition by modern legalists they would have to take into consideration that, after Grand Chief Membertou and his family converted to Christianity in 1610, the land of the Mi'kmaq had become exempt from being seized because the people were Christians. However, it's hard to imagine that a modern government would fall back and try to use such uncivilized garbage as justification for non-recognition of aboriginal title."
Along with Acadians, the Mi'kmaq used military force to resist the founding of British (Protestant) settlements by making numerous raids on Halifax, Dartmouth, Lawrencetown and Lunenburg. During the French and Indian War, the Mi'kmaq assisted the Acadians in resisting the British during the Expulsion of the Acadians. The military resistance significantly was reduced with the French defeat at the Siege of Louisbourg (1758) in Cape Breton.
The Treaties 
The Mí'kmaq signed a series of peace and friendship treaties with Great Britain. The first was after Father Rale's War (1725). The nation historically consisted of seven districts, which was later expanded to eight with the ceremonial addition of Great Britain at the time of the 1749 treaty. Chief Jean-Baptiste Cope signed a Peace Treaty in 1752 on behalf of the Shubenacadie Mi'kmaq. With the signing of various treaties, the 75 years of regular warfare ended with the Burying the Hatchet ceremony (Nova Scotia) (1761).
According to historian John G. Reid, the treaties of 1760-61, while they contain statements of Mi'kmaw submission to the British crown, what is known of the surrounding discussions, combined with the strong evidence of later Mi'kmaw statements, indicates that a friendly and reciprocal relationship was the real intent. The Mi'kmaw leaders who came initially to Halifax in 1760 had clear goals that centred on the making of peace, the establishment of a secure and well-regulated trade in commodities such as furs, and an ongoing friendship with the British crown. In return, they offered their own friendship and a tolerance of limited British settlement, although without any formal land surrender. To fulfill the friendly and reciprocal intent of the treaties, further British settlement of land would need to be negotiated and, in exchange for accommodating the existing British settlements, presents would be given to the Mi'kmaq. (There was a long history of Europeans giving Mi'kmaq people presents to be accommodated on their land, starting with the first colonial contact.) The documents summarizing the peace agreements failed to establish specific territorial limits on the expansion of British settlements, but they assured the Mi’kmaq access to the natural resources that had long sustained them along the regions’ coasts and in the woods.
The intent of the treaties began to erode with the arrival of the New England Planters and United Empire Loyalists. This migration into the region created significant economic, environmental and cultural pressures on the Mi'kmaq. The Mi'kmaq tried to enforce the treaties through threat of force. At the beginning of the American Revolution, many Mi’kmaq and Maliseet tribes were supportive of the Americans against the British. They participated in the Maugerville Rebellion and the Battle of Fort Cumberland in 1776. (Mí'kmaq delegates concluded the first international treaty, the Treaty of Watertown, with the United States soon after it declared its independence in July 1776. These delegates did not officially represent the Mi'kmaq government, although many individual Mi'kmaq did privately join the Continental army as a result.) In June 1779, Mi’kmaq in the Miramichi attacked and plundered some of the British in the area. The following month, British Captain Augustus Harvey, in command of the HMS Viper, arrived in the area and battled with the Mi’kmaq. One Mi’kmaq was killed and 16 were taken prisoner to Quebec. The prisoners were eventually brought to Halifax, where they were later released upon signing the Oath of Allegiance to the British Crown on 28 July 1779.
As their military power wained in the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Mi'kmaq people made explicit appeals to the British to honour the reciprocal intent of the treaties and the duty of the British to give "presents" to the Mi'kmaq for occupying Mi'kma'ki. In response, the British offered charity or, the word most often used by government officials, "relief". And relief always came with strings attached: the Mi'kmaq must give up their way of life and begin to settle on farms and their children were to be sent for education to British schools.
21st Century 
On August 31, 2010, the governments of Canada and Nova Scotia signed an historic agreement with the Mi'kmaq Nation, establishing a process whereby they must consult with the Mi'kmaq Grand Council before engaging in any activities or projects that affect the Mi'kmaq in Nova Scotia — which covers most, if not all, actions these governments might take within that jurisdiction. This is the first such collaborative agreement in Canadian history including all the First Nations within an entire province.
Míkmaq First Nation subdivisions 
Míkmaw names in the table are spelled according to several orthographies. The Míkmaw orthographies in use are Míkmaw pictographs, the orthography of Silas Tertius Rand, the Pacifique orthography, and the most recent Smith-Francis orthography, which has been adopted throughout Nova Scotia and in most Míkmaw communities.
The pre-contact population is estimated at 3,000-30,000. In 1616, Father Biard believed the Míkmaq population to be in excess of 3,000, but he remarked that, because of European diseases, there had been large population losses during the 16th century. Smallpox, wars and alcoholism led to a further decline of the native population, which was probably at its lowest in the middle of the 17th century. Then the numbers grew slightly again, before becoming apparently stable during the 19th century. During the 20th century, the population was on the rise again. The average growth from 1965 to 1970 was about 2.5%.
In the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador, October is celebrated as Míkmaq History Month and the entire Nation celebrates Treaty Day annually on October 1. This was first signified in the year, 1752, with the Peace and Friendship Treaty (also called the Treaty of 1752) signed by Jean-Baptiste Cope of Shubenacadie and the king's representative. It was stated that the natives would be given gifts annually,"as long as they continued in Peace."
In Mi'kmaq mythology, evil and wickedness among men causes them to kill each other. This causes great sorrow to the creator-sun-god, who weeps tears that become rains sufficient to trigger a deluge. The people attempt to survive by traveling in bark canoes, but only a single old man and woman survive to populate the earth. When looking at the Mi’kmaq people’s oral traditions there are three types: myths, legends, and folklore. Myths are used to tell the stories of the earliest possible time, that would include creation stories. Other myths account for the organization of the world and society, the myth of how men and women were created and why they are different from one another is a good example of this. Because of their power to describe how things should be, myths are very important to the Mi’kmaq. Legends are the second and they are oral traditions related to particular places. Legends can involve the recent or distant past, but are most important in linking people and the land. The last one is folktales, which are stories that all the people take part in it. Folktales are known to be fictional, they are useful for providing moral or social lessons to youth, or just for amusement. Folktales were also used by the Mi’kmaq people for long winter nights sitting around the fire and because of this a good storyteller was highly prized by the Mi'kmaq people. 
- See also: Glooscap
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2011)|
Notable Míkmaq 
- Marie Ann Battiste - first Mi'kmaq person to obtain a PhD (1984)
- Pamela Palmater, professor at Ryerson University
- Dr. Daniel N. Paul, CM, ONS, Mi'kmaq Elder, author (We Were Not the Savages), Mi'kmaq tribal historian, columnist, human rights activists (See www.danielnpaul.com)
- Grand Chief Gabriel Sylliboy, Grand Chief of the Mi'kmaq Nation
- Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, activist (1946–1976)
- Donald Marshall Jr.
- Rita Joe, poet
- Thomas Clair, actor who appeared in The New World
- Lee (Harvey) Cremo, musician (1938–1999)
- Lionel Little Eagle Pinn, Kitpoviosee, Writer
- Alice Azure, poet
- Alan Syliboy, Renowned Mi'kmaw Artist
- Chad Denny, ice hockey player for the Lewiston MAINEiacs and Atlanta Thrashers draftee
- Ashton Bernard, ice hockey player for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and New Jersey Devils draftee
- Sandy McCarthy, played for the Calgary Flames ice hockey team
- Everett Sanipass, played for the Quebec Nordiques ice hockey team
- Donald Marshall Sr., Grand Chief
- Benjamin Sillyboy, Grand Chief
- John Denys Jr., Grand Chief
- Jerry Lonecloud
- Noel Jeddore, Saqmaw forced into exile (1865–1944)
- Henri Membertou, kji-saqmaw/puowin (c.1525-1611)
- Chief Noel Doucette (1938–1996)
- Noel Knockwood, Mi'kmaq Grand Council member and spiritual leader of the Mi'kmaq People
- L'kimu, legendary Mi'kmaq Chief
- Randi O'Brien, 2009 Aboriginal Achievement Award Winner
- Desiree Poirier Lessard, founder of the community Good News, Good Deeds
One spiritual capital of the Míkmaq nation is Mniku, the gathering place of the Míkmaq Grand Council or Santé Mawiómi, Chapel Island in Bras d'Or Lake of Nova Scotia. The island is also the site of the St. Anne Mission, an important pilgrimage site for the Míkmaq. The island has been declared a historic site.
See also 
- Canada Post French Settlement Series
- Military history of Nova Scotia
- List of Grand Chiefs (Mi'kmaq)
- Grand Council (Mi'kmaq)
- Treaty Day (Nova Scotia)
- Burying the Hatchet ceremony (Nova Scotia)
- Flags of the World
- Qalipu First Nations Official Website http://qalipu.ca/membership-programs-and-services/membership/
- Http://www.thewesternstar.com/News/Local/2013-01-17/article-3158443/Protest-against-Qalipu-application-process-planned-for-Monday/1. Western Star, 13 Jan. 2013. Web. 3 Mar. 2013.
- Indigenous Languages Spoken in the United States
- Statistics Canada 2006
- Sheppard, Brendan. "Update on Enrolment Process" Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band., 17 Jan. 2013. Web. <http://qalipu.ca/>.
- Press Release, September 26, 2011 "Government of Canada announces creation of Qalipu Mi'kmaq First Nation Band", Market Watch, 26 September 2011
- Qalipu First Nations Official Website http://www.qalipu.com/default.asp
- Emmanuel Metallic et al., 2005, The Metallic Mìgmaq-English Reference Dictionary
- Anne-Christine Hornborg, Mi'kmaq Landscapes (2008), p. 3
- "It is now the preferred choice of our People." Daniel Paul, We Were Not the Savages, 2000, p. 10
- The Nova Scotia Museum's Míkmaq Portraits database
- Mi'kmaw Resource Guide, Eastern Woodlands Publishing (1997)
- cited in Paul to Marion Robertson, Red Earth: Tales of the Micmac, with an introduction to their customs and beliefs (1965) p. 5.
- Relations des Jésuites de la Nouvelle-France
- Lydia Affleck and Simon White. "Our Language". Native Traditions. Retrieved 2006-11-08.
- The allied tribes occupied the boundaries the French named Acadia against the British. The tribes ranged from present-day New England in the United States to the Maritime Provinces of Canada. At the time of contact with the French (late 16th century), they were expanding from their maritime base westward along the Gaspé Peninsula /St. Lawrence River at the expense of Iroquoian-speaking tribes, hence the Míkmaq name for this peninsula, Kespek ("last-acquired").
- Daniel Paul, We Were Not the Savages pp 74-75.
- Historian William Wicken notes that there is controversy about this assertion. While there are claims that Cope made the treaty on behalf of all the Mi'kmaq, there is no written documentation to support this assertion (See William Wicken. Mi'kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Jr. University of Toronto Press. 2002. p. 184).
- John Reid. Nova Scotia: A Pocket History. Fernwood Press. 2009. p. 23
- Plank, Unsettled Conquest. p. 163
- http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?id_nbr=2486; Sessional papers, Volume 5 By Canada. Parliament July 2 - September 22, 1779; Wilfred Brenton Kerr. The Maritime Provinces of British North America and the American Revolution. p. 96
- Among the annual festivals of the old times, now lost sight of, was the celebration of St. Aspinquid's Day, known as the Indian Saint. St. Aspinquid appeared in the Nova Scotia almanacks from 1774 to 1786. The festival was celebrated on or immediately after the last quarter of the moon in the month of May. The tide being low at that time, many of the principal inhabitants of the town, on these occasions, assembled on the shore of the North West Arm and partook of a dish of clam soup, the clams being collected on the spot at low water. There is a tradition that during the American troubles when agents of the revolted colonies were active to gain over the good people of Halifax, in the year 1786, were celebrating St. Aspinquid, the wine having been circulated freely, the Union Jack was suddenly hauled down and replaced by the Stars and Stripes. This was soon reversed, but all those persons who held public offices immediately left the grounds, and St. Aspinquid was never after celebrated at Halifax. (See Akins. History of Halifax, p. 218, note 94
- Reid. p. 26
- Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia, Province of Nova Scotia and Canada Sign Landmark Agreement
- 'Government of Canada Announces the Creation of the Qalipu First Nation Band' by Marketwire http://www.marketwatch.com/story/government-of-canada-announces-the-creation-of-the-qalipu-mikmaq-first-nation-band-2011-09-26
- Press Release September 26, 2011 http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/26/idUS146921+26-Sep-2011+MW20110926
- Dickshovel - Micmac
- Treaty of 1752|http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/al/hts/tgu/pubs/pft1752/pft1752-eng.asp
- Canada's First Nations - Native Creation Myths
- CBCnews. Cape Breton Míkmaq site recognized
- Bock, Philip K. 1978. "Micmac." pp. 109–122. In Handbook of North American Indians. Vol. 15. Northeast. Bruce G. Trigger, editor. Smithsonian Institution Press.
- Davis, Stephen A. 1998. Míkmaq: Peoples of the Maritimes, Nimbus Publishing.
- Magocsi, Paul Robert (ed.). Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1999.
- Paul, Daniel N. 2000. We Were Not the Savages: A Míkmaq Perspective on the Collision Between European and Native American Civilizations, Fernwood Pub.
- Prins, Harald E. L. 1996. The Míkmaq: Resistance, Accommodation, and Cultural Survival (Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology), Wadsworth.
- Rita Joe, Lesley Choyce. 2005. The Míkmaq Anthology, Nimbus Publishing (CN), 2005, ISBN 1-895900-04-2
- Robinson, Angela 2005. Tán Teli-Ktlams
itasit (Ways of Believing): Míkmaw Religion in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia. Pearson Education, ISBN 0-13-177067-5.
- Whitehead, Ruth Holmes. 2004. The Old Man Told Us: Excerpts from Míkmaq History 1500-1950, Nimbus Publishing, 2004, ISBN 0-921054-83-1
- Wicken, William C. 2002. Míkmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land, and Donald Marshall Junior, University of Toronto Press.
Documentary film 
- Our Lives in Our Hands (Míkmaq basketmakers and potato diggers in northern Maine, 1986) 
- British Radio Documentary on the Mi'k Maq Community at Millbrook nr Truro Recorded by Terry Mechan June 2012 
Maps showing the approximate locations of areas occupied by members of the Wabanaki Confederacy (from north to south):
Western Abenaki (Arsigantegok, Missisquoi, Cowasuck, Sokoki, Pennacook
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Micmac|
- First Nations Profiles
- Qalipu First Nation
- Micmac History
- Míkmaq Portraits Collection
- Míkmaq Dictionary Online
- The Micmac of Megumaagee
- Míkmaq Learning Resource
- "Micmacs". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources