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Mi'kma'ki / Mi'gma'gi
Confederated Districts of Wabanaki
Pre-contact–1867 (as a State)
Flag of Mi'kma'ki
Seven Districts of Mi'kma'ki excluding Taqamkuk
Seven Districts of Mi'kma'ki excluding Taqamkuk
Status Confederation
Capital Mniku, Unama'kik
Common languages Mi'kmawi'simk
Demonym Mi'kmaq
Government Sante' Mawio'mi / Mi'kmawey Mawio'mi
Kji Sagamaw  
• unknown-1611
Henri Membertou
• 1792-1818
Francis Peck
• 1818-1842
Michael Tooma
• 1842-1869
Frank Tooma Jr.
• pre-1500
• 1500
• 1750
• 1900
• 2016
Currency Wabanaki Wampum
Today part of  Canada

Mi'kma'ki or Mi'gma'gi is the traditional and current territories of the Mi'kmaq people. It is shared by an inter-Nation forum between Mi'kmaq First Nations and is divided into seven geographical and traditional districts, with an eighth representing Taqamkuk today. Mi'kma'ki is one of the confederate countries within Wabanaki.

Each district was autonomous, headed by a Sagamaw, who would gather alongside Wampum readers and knowledge keepers called Putu's, a women's council and the Kji Sagamaw, or Grand Chief, to form the Sante' or Mi'kmawey Mawio'mi (Grand Council).[1] The seat of the Sante' Mawio'mi is at Mniku in Unama'kik and still functions as the capital today in the Potlotek reserve.

Following contact, Mi'kma'ki was colonized by the French Acadian and British Nova Scotia colonies and their competing claims for the land. Siding with the French, the Mi'kmaq fought alongside other Wabanaki troops during the global wars between 1688-1763. The European powers divided Mi'kma'ki in the treaties of Utrecht and Paris (1763). The British claimed Mi'kma'ki as their possession by conquest and the defeated Mi'kmaq signed the Peace and Friendship Treaties to end hostilities and encourage cooperation between the Wabanaki countries and the British and ensure the survival of the Mi'kmaq people whose numbers had dwindled to a few thousand from disease and starvation. The power held within Mi'kma'ki faded further after the Confederation of Canada united the colonies and Canada passed the Indian Act, and the loss of autonomous governance.

Today, the Sante' Mawio'mi functions solely as a spiritual and dialogue forum, with oversight held by the Government of Canada through Mi'kmaq First Nations instead of Mi'kma'ki and the Kji Sagamaw. The traditional lands' sovereignty has never been ceded by the Mi'kmaq,[4] although legal arguments have been made that the Peace and Friendship treaties legitimized the takeover of the land by Britain.


Mi'kmaq camp in Unama'kik in 1857

Traditionally each district had its own independent government. Those governments were composed of a chief and a council. The council included the band chiefs, elders and other important leaders. The role of the councils was similar to those of any independent government and included to edict laws, establish a justice system, divide the territory for hunting and fishing, make war and search for peace.

The overarching Grand Council Sante Mawiomi was composed of the keptinaq (captains), the district chiefs. The Grand Council also included elders, putus (historians reading the belts) and a Council of women. The Grand Council was headed by a grand chief who was one of the district chiefs, generally the Unama'kik chief. Succession was hereditary. The seat of the Grand Council was generally on Cape Breton Island.[5]


The seven districts (names are given in the Franci-Smith orthography with the Listuguj orthography in brackets) are:

Sometimes an eighth district is added: Taqamkuk (Gtaqamg).

See also[edit]


  • Paul, Daniel N. (2000). We Were Not The Savages: A Mi'kmaq Perspective on the Collision Between European and Native American Civilizations. Fernwood Publishing. 
  1. ^ a b McMillan, Leslie Jane (December 1996). "Mi'kmawey Mawio'mi: Changing Roles of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council From the Early Seventeenth Century to the Present" (PDF). Dalhousie University: 219. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  2. ^ Harold Franklin, McGee Jr (13 August 2008). "Mi'kmaq". Historica Canadian. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Mi'kmaw Time Line". Cape Breton University. Retrieved 26 September 2017. 
  4. ^ Paul 2000, p. 160.
  5. ^ "Mi'kmaq". Intercontinental Cry. Retrieved 2 December 2016. .