Mi’kmaq winter holidays
December 17, 2017 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Which winter holidays do the Mi’kmaq First Nations people of Nova Scotia celebrate?

I recently wrote a song about the Halifax Explosion that was (unintentionally) from the perspective of the white settlers. One of the songwriting groups I participate in is having a holiday season songwriting challenge, and I’d like to write a song in honor of the First Nations people who were displaced from their homes in the wake of the Explosion.

Based on a cursory Google search I learned that some Mi’kmaq are observant Catholics, but I couldn’t find anything else about their religion or spirituality, including the holidays they celebrate. Can anyone help me?
posted by pxe2000 to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
While this doesn't directly answer your question, I'd respectfully urge you to consider whether you are the right person to tell this story, and that other ways of honouring Mi'kmaq culture, such as donating to Mi'kmaq organizations dedicated to sustaining their language and culture, may be more appropriate.
posted by ITheCosmos at 2:12 PM on December 17, 2017 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: I do tithe to Mi’kmaq women’s organizations and have raised money for them throughout the holiday season.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

It strikes me that the Explosion was a result of ever-increasing development and exploitation that Europeans had been forcing upon the Mikmaq for centuries. The Explosion was not only a literal destruction of life and the environment, but represented the destruction of entire cultures. If I were writing this song, it would be a song of mourning. We (settlers) do not even know what to mourn because we destroyed it before we even knew it existed. I would write about that.

Upon reflection: Do contact the Mikmaq organizations and people you are in contact with already and ask for their recommendations. However do realize that they may be very sensitive to sharing this information with outsiders.
posted by shalom at 2:42 PM on December 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to give some further background:

I wanted to write this from the perspective of a Scottish settler who saw that the Mi’kmaq were ignored/lost in the shuffle after the Explosion wiped out Tufts Cove, and who reaches out to members of the displaced community in the wake of the Explosion. My family were Scottish settlers, and I feel comfortable writing from that perspective.

When researching the Explosion I saw how the Mi’kmaq were left out of the history of the Explosion that I knew (I grew up in Boston and it was taught in American history), and I began donating to a Mi’kmaq women’s organization in Halifax. Additionally, I organized a small clothing drive for them. I would be writing this in addition to the other outreach I’ve done.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:43 PM on December 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I write fiction and when I research non-Western cultures, I lean heavily on scholarly books and articles. It is difficult to find current, reliable sources for a popular audience, let alone authoritative information online. That said, be aware of bias in scholarly works, even in newer titles, and always return to the knowledge and wishes of the contemporary community you're writing about.

Here's a bibliography from Canadian Heritage. You can probably get access to these titles through interlibrary loan via your public library, or perhaps at a local academic library:
posted by toastedcheese at 5:07 AM on December 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

This CBC link seems relevant: http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/halifax-explosion-mikmaq-catherine-martin-1.4427386
posted by Jasper Fnorde at 11:11 AM on December 20, 2017

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