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Grand Council. From Early Times to Modern Days. Political Unit Mi’kmaq Governance: The Changing authority of the Grand Council. The Mi’kmaq Grand council was the sole form of government before contact with the Europeans.

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Grand Council

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grand council

Grand Council

From Early Times to Modern Days

political unit mi kmaq governance the changing authority of the grand council
Political UnitMi’kmaq Governance: The Changing authority of the Grand Council
  • The Mi’kmaq Grand council was the sole form of government before contact with the Europeans.
  • Changes in the role of the Grand Council are the result of efforts of the British Crown and federal government to impose its system upon Mi’kmaq people.
political unit
Political Unit
  • The Grand Council is the traditional aboriginal government of the Mi’kmaq nation.
  • It draws it membership from all parts of Mi’kmaq territory,
  • Has both political and spiritual authority and continues to be the sovereign government of the Mi’kmaq today.
  • It unites the seven districts of Mi’kma’ki, and entered into treaties with England and the Concordat of 1610 with the Pope.
political unit1
Political Unit
  • There are local chiefs, selected according to clans living within each district, who in turn elect a captain or district chief, to represent the entire district at the Grand Council. ( Sante’Mawiomi…..holy gathering )
there were three leadership positions on the grand council
There were three leadership positions on the grand council:
  • Grand Chief – head of state of the Mi’kmaq nation.
  • Grand Captain – head of the council
  • Putu’s – wampum reader, guards the laws of the nation and remembers treaties entered into with other nations.
  • Smagn’ss – soldier or shield bearer, serves as protector of the people.
the role of the grand council today consists of the following
The role of the Grand Council today consists of the following
  • Ensure culture and language is maintained and preserved
  • Form a strong voice on behalf of the Mi’kmaq
  • Educate non-Indian people about what being Mi’kmaq means.
  • Educate Mi’kmaq people.
the modern grand council
The Modern Grand Council
  • The Indian Act and the introduction of the elected chief and council, the role of the Grand Council has changed.
  • Grand council now focuses on spiritual needs of community.
  • Meets 2-3 times a year, usually around religious holidays.
  • The captains who serve under the grand chief are selected for life.
  • New captain occurs when a captain dies or there is a need for additional captains.
  • The selection process involves the grand chief, the local priest and other concerned individuals.
  • Offering Mi’kmaq prayers to the sick and dying
  • assisting a bereaved family with the funeral arrangements.
  • Captains duties vary depending on the need of their reserve.
  • The Grand Council also works with such groups as Micmac Association for Cultural Studies (MACS) and the Union of Nova Scotia Indians to address cultural issues in the community
  • The Grand Chief often presides as honorary chairperson at meetings and may travel outside of the province as a spiritual or cultural representative for the Mi’kmaq people
  • Grand Council and the position of Grand Chief are non-political but they are still viewed with great respect in the Mi’kmaq community