During the first half of the 18th century the British negotiated a number of ‘peace and friendship’ treaties that involved Nova Scotia/Acadia and the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet:
- 1713: By the Treaty of Utrecht (ending the War of the Spanish Succession), France ceded Acadia/Nova Scotia to Britain but the exact boundaries were vague and a continuing source of conflict between the two imperial powers and the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet. The British, in effect, had little control outside the Nova Scotia mainland.
- 1725-1726: Treaty signed in 1725 at Boston (at right) and ratified in 1726 at Annapolis Royal (below), ‘Articles of Submission and Agreement,’ ended Mi’kmaq-Maliseet War that involved New England and Nova Scotia. It would form the foundation of treaties that followed (1749, 1752, 1760/61). By the 1725-1726 treaty, historian Leslie Upton has written “…the British promised not to molest the Indians or interfere with them in their hunting, fishing and planting grounds, nor in the exercise of their religion…in return the Indians acknowledged that the Treaty of Utrecht had made King George ‘the rightful Possessor of the province’ and submitted to him in as ample a manner as they had formerly done to the King of France… the treaty could obviously mean different things to different men; since the Indians did not consider they had ever sub mitted to the king of France, their promise to observe a similar allegiance to the king of England was somewhat less than the English might have desired.” Although the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet supposedly acknowledged King George’s “jurisdiction and dominion over… Nova Scotia or Acadie…” they refused to declare themselves in submission to the British monarchy and opposed any encroachment by the British in the province. Europeans and Mi’kmaq and Maliseet had differed views on ‘land use/ownership’
- 1748: Treaty of Aix la Chapelle ended the War of Austrian Succession, known in North America as King George’s War; Fortress Louisbourg returned to France.
- 1749: Shortly after arrival in Halifax, Edward Cornwallis attempted to renew the 1726 treaty with the Mi’kmaq and Maliseet.
- 1752: Peregrine Hopson (who succeeded Cornwallis as Governor) signs Treaty of 1752 (Articles of Peace/ Friendship) with Jean Baptiste Cope of the Shubenacadie Clan
- 1760/61: With the Seven Years War coming to an end, British and Mi’kmaq agree on terms of peace and “bury the hatchet” in Halifax (near corner present day Barrington Street/Spring Garden Road)
- Historian William Wicken, who has testified as an expert witness on how the treaties are interpreted (the written text of the treaties in relation to the oral context in which they were created), notes that the Mi’kmaq, “…argue that their oral understanding of the treaties is different from the written text.”
Geoffrey Plank, An Unsettled Conquest: The British Campaigns against the People of Acadia, University of Pennsylvania Press 2001
John Grenier The Far Reaches of Empire War in Nova Scotia 1710-1760, University of Oklahoma 2008
Stephen Patterson “Indian-White Relations in Nova Scotia 1749-1761: A Study in Political Interaction,” Acadiensis 23 1993
Daniel N. Paul, We Were Not the Savages, Fernwood Publishing, 2006
William Wicken, Mi’kmaq Treaties on Trial: History, Land and Donald Marshall Junior, University of TorontoPress 2002
Leslie Upton, Micmacs and Colonists Indian-White Relations in the Maritimes, 1713-1867, UBC Press 1979