Joe B. Marshall Receives Order of Nova Scotia
December 04, 2011
The highest honor the Province of Nova Scotia could bestow upon a resident was presented to Eskasoni’s own, Joe B. Marshall who received the Order of Nova Scotia on November 30, 2011 at Province House in Halifax.
For over 40 years, Joe B. Marshall has been on the leading edge of native rights initiatives since the 1960s. Marshall has dedicated his life to advocating for the rights of the Mi'kmaq. He is an aboriginal veteran, esteemed leader, role model, and mentor.
Mr. Marshall is the executive director and a founding member of the Union of Nova Scotia Indians, a tribal council created in 1969 to provide a unified voice for the Mi'kmaq people in Nova Scotia. The organization recently celebrated its 41st anniversary, a testimony to Mr. Marshall's vision and dedication.
Since 2004, Mr. Marshall has been Senior Mi'kmaq Advisor to the Mi'kmaq Rights Initiative, guiding the Mi'kmaq and the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs as they proceed through the negotiation of aboriginal and treaty rights with the Province of Nova Scotia and the federal government.
Mr. Marshall retired as Associate Professor of Mi'kmaq Studies and Political Science from Cape Breton University in 2005. While at the university, he was instrumental in the formation of the Mi'kmaq College Institute and the creation of Mi'kmaq Studies as a disciplinary subject.
Mr. Marshall was recently appointed to the Department of Natural Resources' Steering Panel by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs, demonstrating the respect with which he is held by Mi'kmaq leaders. The mandate of the panel is to oversee the development of a new strategy governing the province's natural resources.
Joseph Marshall is hard working, gentle, and soft spoken, but when he speaks, others listen. He is guided by the knowledge that his work is for our grandchildren's future.
"I guess you could say I spent the last 42 years or more of my life trying to help get a better life for Mi’kmaq people in Nova Scotia," he said. "I guess you could say they kept hearing my name come up because I was involved with a lot of issues, and so they decided to give me an Order of Nova Scotia."
Recognition of treaty rights helped fuel major changes, Joe B. Marshall says. "Many of these things are a group effort and there were a lot of people who worked hard to make sure Mi’kmaq rights and treaty rights were recognized and upheld over the years."
Following Mr. Marshall Order of Nova Scotia award, the community of Eskasoni held a special celebration in Mr. Marshall’s honor on December 4th at the High School Cultural Center where they held a feast and Mr. Marshall was presented with more accolades from Union of Nova Scotia Indians and Eskasoni Chief and Council and the community.
A special video of the Order of Nova Scotia ceremony was shown during the feast for the community members where he received a standing ovation from those in attendance. Special gifts were also presented to Mr. Marshall after the diner.
Mr. Marshall spoke to the audience and thanked the community for hosting this event on his behalf. In his address to the community, Mr. Marshall said the Mi’kmaq Nation has come a long way but we must continue fight for what is ours.
Mr. Marshall also has great concerns for the Mi’kmaq language and how it is important to the Mi’kmaq culture and Mi’kmaq identity, “Mi’kmaq culture is in the Mi’kmaq language. That is what we have to fight for, our language. I will always keep saying that keeping our language is very important and I will never stop.”
Mr. Marshall left a final message to the community, “What we most need in our community is to be strict with our children and make sure we push them to be educated. And we must remain strong in disciplining our children. Today we need it so bad. It will pay off in the future. They will have a good job and a good life.”
In a pictured frame presented to Mr. Marshall it said in Mi’kmaq, “Kiskuk ketu’-kinua’taqatiek ta’n tel-wla’luksi’k Joe B. wjit ta’n teli-apoqnmuksi’k ne’kaw. Nenuite’lmu’k Joe B. kiskuk wjit ta’n te’sik kisa’toq aqq wjit ta’n tel-knekk pekisuluksi’k. Ajiknaql koqqwaja’taqnminal kiskuk mita Joe B. melkuktikl ne’kaw. Wjit msit Mi’kmaq Mi’kma’ki aqq Essisoqnikewaq wela’liek tel-wl-lukowiek.
Wela’liek Joe B.