Government of Canada honours the national historic significance of the 18th century Mi’kmaq-French Alliance
From: Parks Canada
August 13, 2019 Rocky Point, Prince Edward Island Parks Canada Agency
In the 18th century, a political and military alliance developed between the Mi’kmaq and the French in Atlantic Canada. Through the alliance, both nations helped strengthen their respective positions within the region and slowed the British colonial expansion.
Yesterday, the Honourable Wayne Easter, Member of Parliament for Malpeque, in collaboration with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island, commemorated the national historic significance of the 18th century Mi’kmaq-French Alliance with a special plaque unveiling ceremony at Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst National Historic Site. The announcement was made on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna.
Developed from long-standing relationships and assisted by ties of religion and trade that started in the 1500s, the Mi’kmaq-French Alliance grew in the 18th century. Through the alliance, the French and Mi’kmaq created a relationship based on mutual need in trade and war. The 18th century Mi’kmaq-French Alliance reflected both Mi’kmaq and French understandings of diplomacy, including the ceremonial exchange of gifts, and provides an explicit example of how formal relationships were negotiated, annually renewed and how cultural understandings were accommodated in some parts of France’s North American empire.
The Government is committed to renewed relationships with Indigenous peoples, based on a recognition of rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership.
Parks Canada is committed to a system of national heritage places that honours the contributions of Indigenous peoples, their histories and cultures, as well as the special relationship Indigenous peoples have with traditional lands and waters.
The Government of Canada, through the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, recognizes significant people – including the history of Indigenous people – places and events, that shaped our country as one way of helping Canadians connect with their past.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to recognize the national historic significance of the 18th century Mi’kmaq-French Alliance. This alliance had a direct impact in the colonial wars of the Maritime region, as Mi’kmaq and French cooperation against the British slowed the growth of the colony of Nova Scotia and, until 1758, hampered British success in war. Historic designations like this one help bring people together to foster greater understanding of the histories and cultures of Indigenous communities. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about the Mi’kmaq, the foundation of Île Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island), and their important roles in Canada’s history.”
The Honourable Wayne Easter,
Member of Parliament for Malpeque
“Skmaqn—Port-la-Joye—Fort Amherst NHS is a beautiful place and its complex history has a great deal to teach us today. This is where Mi’kmaq and French leaders met almost 300 years ago, seeking to work for the common goals of their nations in difficult times. We are proud to see this important part of our shared history commemorated for future generations of Canadians.”
Chief Darlene Bernard
Lennox Island First Nation and Co-Chair Mi’kmaq Confederacy of PEI
- Known in Mi’kmaq as Skmaqn, or “waiting place,” Skmaqn–Port-la-Joye–Fort Amherst National Historic Site is where the Mi’kmaq met the French in the 18th century to formally renew their friendship and military alliance. The ceremonies included speeches, feasts, and the exchange of gifts
- The traditional territory of the Mi’kmaq includes present day Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the eastern coast of New Brunswick, and the Gaspé Peninsula around Chaleur Bay.
- Established in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on the historic importance of persons, places and events that have shaped Canada’s history.
- The Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada is celebrating its centennial year in 2019. National historic designations are of profound importance as they illustrate our country’s defining moments. Each of these designations contributes its own unique story to the greater story of Canada and helps us better understand our country and our identity.
Prince Edward Island Field Unit
Parks Canada Agency
Parks Canada Agency