Our Mi’kmaq distinctive culture, language, practices, knowledge, history, resources and uses, reveal a glimpse about our earliest contact relationships. There existed; far before European encounter, extensive contact and relationships between the Mi’kmaq and the other Indigenous Peoples of the North American continent. Our contact relationships extend thousands of miles inland from the east coast, and thousands of miles northerly and southerly along the Atlantic Coast.
There is also a well documented record of later period contacts and relationships between the Mi’kmaq People and the Peoples from the European continent of the past 1,000 years.
The many contacts bridge a people to people relationship and reveal an astute Mi’kmaq world view policy for relationships with other peoples. In recorded time, Mi’kmaq contacts and relationships are noted with: the Norse a 1,000 years ago; the Basque, the Norman, and the Portuguese fishers of the 1400’s; the Spanish of the
early 1500’s; the French fishers, explorers, adventurers, and fur traders of the mid-1500’s; the Missionaries and settlers of the early 1600’s; and the English traders and later colonists of the 1700’s. The emerging American Colonists (eventually establishing the nation of the United States of America in the late 1700’s) also formed
alliances with the Mi’kmaq. The Mi’kmaq also hold a very special relationship with the Holy See and the Vatican, confirming their relationship in 1610. Common to all these and many more contacts and relationships, there is recognition of a distinct People to People Nation to Nation relationship.
The history of these contacts and relationships recognize the distinctive culture, different world view, social, political and economic structures and values of the Mi’kmaq People and of the European Peoples. Clearly recognized from these contacts was the benefit of confirming common mutual interests by establishing positive
formal relationships of Peace, Friendship and Trade for the continuing interexchange of knowledge, resources, innovations and understanding.
Our contacts and relationships with the French and English is well documented with volumes of accounts, records, studies, conferences, meetings and numerous treaties. The English relationship with the Mi’kmaq People is confirmed in over 16 pre-confederation Treaties, continuing and existing for peace, friendship, trade
and recognition. These solemn Treaty covenants between the British Crown, the Americans and the Mi’kmaq exist and remain in force to this very day.