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Mi'kmaq (Canada)

Last modified: 2012-08-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: mi'kmaq | micmac | canada | first nations | cross | star | crescent |
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Mi'kmaq Introduction

The Mi'kmaq are an Indigenous People of the north-eastern woodlands of North America, including: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick (eastern, northern, and southern), Québec (Gaspé Peninsula), Newfoundland, (western, southern, and eastern), Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, and Maine (north-eastern). Mi'kmaq land is known as Míkmákik.

The Mi'kmaq were one of the first Indigenous People of North America to make contact with European visitors, the Norse in 1000 A.D., Basque fishermen in 1372 A.D., Prince Henry Sinclair in 1398 A.D., Bristol fishermen in 1490-93 A.D., Giovanni Caboto in 1497 A.D., Gaspar de Corte-Real in 1500 A.D.

The Mi'kmaq continue to fight for recognition of their sovereignty, which was never surrendered.

Today there are about 25,000 Status Mi'kmaq living on and off Reserves in Canada and the U.S.A., and about another 25,000+ Non-Status Mi'kmaq.

Useful Terms:

Mi'kmaq - [Nationality] (plural) "The Allies" or "My Kin/Friends"

Míkmaw - [Nationality] (singular) "The Allies" or "My Kin/Friends"

Awitkatultík - [Nation] "Many People Living In One House"

Mi'kmaq Nation - [Nation] Interchangable with "Awitkatultík"

Santé Mawiómi - [Government] "Holy Gathering" or "Grand Council"
Maqtewékpaqtism, 29 May 2001


Mi'kmaq National flag

[Mikmaq national flag] image by Maqtewékpaqtism

The Mi'kmaq National flag has three colors, white, red, and blue, signifying the three divine persons, The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit.

The cross signifies Christ who was crucified on the Cross.

The letters: N,A,M,T are very significant:

  • N - Nin (I or Me)
  • A - Alasotmoinoi (being a Catholic)
  • M - Mento (gisna gil mentoin (devil))
  • T - Tooe ot Tooa (get out - go out)

Nin Alasotmoinoi gil Mento Tooe (I am a Catholic, you are a devil, get out)

  • SA - means Saint Anne (Patron Saint of the Mi'kmaq since 1730).
  • MIGMAG - Mi'kmaq (The Allies)
  • LNOG - L'núk (The People)

The flag was first raised in Listukujk (Listuguj, P.Q.) on October 4, 1900 and in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, N.S.) in 1901.
Maqtewékpaqtism, 29 May 2001


Mi'kmaq Grand Council flag

[Mikmaq state flag] image by Maqtewékpaqtism

Commonly referred to as the Santé Mawiómi flag or the Grand Council flag.

The meaning of the Mi'kmaq Nation Flag:

  • Wapék (White) - Denotes the purity of Creation
  • Mekwék Klujjewey (Red Cross) - Represents mankind and infinity (four directions)
  • Nákúset (Sun) - Forces of the day
  • Tepkunaset (Moon) - Forces of the night
Maqtewékpaqtism, 29 May 2001

[Mikmaq state flag] image by Daniel Markstedt, 16 October 2010

I recently got this message regarding the image of the Mik'maq Grand Council flag I drew for Wikipedia:

"[The Mi'kmaq Grand Council] flag is not supposed to be displayed laying on its side but needs to be rotated vertically; so the Cross is standing upright and the Crescent Moon on the upper left, and the Star on the upper right. You see, here in my Mi'kmaq Nation the only time the Flag is displayed on its side, as in your Picture, is when it is draped over the coffins of the dearly departed."

Message was from Apukjij, a member of the Mi'kmaq reserve of Eskasoni First Nation, NS, Canada
Daniel Markstedt, 16 October 2010

This makes sense given the design of the flag. However, just for the record, this flag is quite common in Mi'kmaq communities in Nova Scotia, and is always seen flying horizontally. I have seen it like that as recently as September 2010 in both the Millbrook Reserve near Truro, and the Waycobah First Nation offices in Whycocomagh, Cape Breton Island. It also occasionally appears on the front licence plate holder on cars (unused in NS), where it needs to be horizontal.
Rob Raeside, 17 October 2010


Smáknisk flag

[Smáknisk flag] image by Maqtewékpaqtism, 29 May 2001

The Smáknisk (Soldier, Shield-Bearer, or Warrior) flag uses the ancient Komqwejwíkasikl (hieroglyphic) symbol for a Smáknis in the center of the flag.
Maqtewékpaqtism, 29 May 2001


Warriors flag

[Warriors flag] image by Maqtewékpaqtism

This flag was introduced by Mi'kmaq Smáknisk (Warriors) returning from the Oka Crisis. It resembles the Kanien'kehá:ka Rotiskenraké:te (Mohawk Warriors) flag, with the only the mans head in the center being altered.


Natuaqanek flag

[Natuaqanek flag] image by Maqtewékpaqtism

This is the flag of Natuaqanek (Eel Ground, N.B.) community.
Maqtewékpaqtism, 29 May 2001


Designed by Metepnákiaq (Red Bank, NB) artist Philip Young, and was adopted by Natuaqanek in the mid-1980's.

The circle represents unity and strength of Mi'kmaq people. The 4 directions represent the 4 seasons and 4 stages of life. The color red represents strength and power, yellow represents the sun, blue represents the water and the sky, and green represents the natural colors of nature.
Mark Dedam, August 1, 2002


Elsipogtog Band

[Elsipogtog Band flag] image by Eugene Ipavec, 2 October 2005
Source: Halifax Chronicle Herald

In the 1 October 2005 edition of the Halifax Chronicle Herald was a photograph with the caption:

Steve Simon, Korean War verteran and Mi'kmaq elder, carries the flag of his band, Elsipogtog, formerly Big Cove, N.B., as he and other march in Halifax on Friday.

Although the flag is not entirely visible in the photo, it appears to be a 1:2 length (or longer), the upper 3/5ths white, the bottom 2/5ths blue, green and red bars (the blue bar does appear narrower), and on the white field a large rising sun showing three full rays and two half rays on the "horizon".
Rob Raeside, 1 October 2005


Mi'kmaq National flag proposal

[Mikmaq proposal]
by Maqtewékpaqtism

This symbol was carved into a rock in Kejimikújik when Awitkatultík (Mi'kmaq Nation) was formed, when the original seven districts became one Nation. It is a symbol of the uniting of the Mi'kmaq People into one Nation.

  • Seven Hills - The original seven Sakamowit (Districts) of Míkmákik
  • Lluiknek Klujjewey (Seven Crosses) - The original seven Sakamow (District Leaders)
  • Nakúset (Sun) & Tepkunaset (Moon) - Together Represent Kisúlkw (The Creator)
Maqtewékpaqtism, 29 May 2001