Conne River Reserve, as most people know it, or Aosamiaji’jij Miawpukek Reserve, as it is officially known, was established by orders-in-Council P.C. 1987-1293 and P.C. 1987-1294 on June 25, 1987.
Our community takes its name from Conne River, once a great river for salmon fishing. Our community is built upon the southern banks of the small estuary at its mouth.
The ancient name of our community is Miawpukek, which is L'nui’simk for “Middle River”.
The history of Miawpukek goes back much farther than 1987. Our oral history say the reserve was actually established in 1870 when the Newfoundland Surveyor General, Alexander Murray, surveyed it.
Miawpukek was a well-established Lnu'k occupation site even before 1870. We Lnu'k believe we have always been in Ktaqmkuk. Lnu'k occupied all of Baie d’ Espoir long before any Immigrating Nations’ peoples even set foot on Ktaqmkuk, (the L'nu name for Newfoundland).
Our ancestors came to Ktaqmkuk in time out of memory either by way of the Strait of Belle Island from Labrador or by way of the Cabot Strait from Unama’kik.
In 1922 the ethno historian Frank G. Speck wrote, “Throughout Newfoundland the Indians (Mi’kmaq) refer to their predecessors as SAYEWDJKIK (Sáqwéjíjk), the “Ancients”, speaking of them as though they were the first inhabitants of the Island. Some of the older Micmac-Montagnais even claim that the Sayewdjkik antedated the coming of the Beothuk. Ignoring such testimony, I think we may conclude that the term simply refers to the earlier Micmac colonists from the mainland, whose numbers were few and whose isolation rendered them distinct in some respects in culture and possibly in dialect. These people are believed to have been true Micmac and to have had a complete native nomenclature for the prominent places in the island. Some of the older Indians recall hearing about the last of these Sayewdjkik in the person of an old blind woman who died in Sydney many years ago. Although over one hundred years of age, she was conveyed in a canoe by her relatives, at her own request, over a large part of Newfoundland, giving the various lakes, rivers and mountains their proper names according to the ancient terminology…The Sayewdjkik families are said to have become completely merged with the later comers from Cape Breton and Labrador. (Speck 1922:123-24).
He also wrote his informants asserted that they had crossed the “Cabot Strait” by canoe: “The route lay between Cape North (of Cape Breton) and Cape Ray on the South-western coast of Newfoundland, a distance of sixty miles, land being dimly visible in fine weather. This bold journey was ordinarily accomplished in two days, they say.” On a calm night a party of canoeists would set out for Tuywegannmikuk (Temporary Goal Island) or as it is called today St. Paul's Island. From here a party of “three sturdy canoe men” continued the journey to Cape Ray. “Landing here, they would await calm weather, then build an immense beacon fire on the highlands to serve both as a signal for advance and a guide for direction through the night.” The rest of the party would thus complete the journey.
On July 18, 1999 Saqamaw Mise’l, along with Donny Benoit, Gerard Jeddore, Andrew Joe, Ricky Jeddore and Sulia'n Joe landed at our holy site of Chapel Island, Unama’kik (Cape Breton) having paddled a birch bark canoe, SAPE’UTKWJU’SN, from Cape Ray, Ktaqmkuk.
This trip was planned and made to both commemorate and prove that such journeys were indeed made by our forefathers. We built the canoe using traditional methods, materials and tools.
In 1602 sailors on an English ship commanded by Bartholomew Gosnold saw six Lnu;k traders in a Basque Chaloupe of New England coast. The Lnu'k knew about Newfoundland and mentioned Placentia.
By 1616 Father Pierre Biard, Jesuit priest, was estimating that there were 10,000 Lnu'k from Chouacoet to Newfoundland.
There is an interesting story attributed to John Guy, who was in Ktaqmkuk in 1610. He wrote: “They haue two kinds of oars, -- one is about fower foot long, of one piece of firre, -- the other is about ten foot long, made of two pieces, one being as long, big, and round as a halfe pike, made of beeche wood, the which by likelihood, they make of a Biskaine oare; the other is the blade of the oare, which is let into the end of the long one, slit, and whipped very strongly. The short one, they use as a paddle, and the other as an oare.”
Immigrating Nations’ historians say Guy was describing items (oars/paddles) he saw in a Pi’tawkewaq (Beothuk) occupation site. Of course any L'nu will tell you, the second item Guy was describing was actually a L'nu summer Eel Spear!
The Immigrating Nations’ records available thus far have many references in the 17th century of our people’s presence in Ktaqmkuk, but mostly as warriors and allies of Ni’kmaq Françoise (Our French allies). We were indeed allies and friends to the Françoise. Unlike the English who called us savages and sought to take everything from us physically and mentally, the Françoise called us Sauvages (Of the country), treated us as equals, lived with us, married into our families.
records are peppered with accounts of our people on the South Coast from 1707
onward but records uncovered to date only mention our presence in Lapite’spe’l
(Baie de Espoir) around 1765. (Lap
ite’spe’l actually refers to Lampidois
A 1744 map has the first reference to Conne where it is written as Conega. By 1755 it is being shown as B. Connaigre. It is only by 1807 that we actually see “Conne River” marked on a map.
around the time Cook pulled his ship ashore for repairs at one of the many Ship
Coves on the South Coast of the island, about 300 of our people landed in Lap
Cook apparently found no “settlements” between Burgeo and Lap ite’spe’l.
The Immigrating Nations’ records say the “Nova Scotia Indians arrived” at Lap ite’spe’l
on their way to St. Pierre. We of course say, our people knew about Lap ite’spe’l
beforehand or else why would they head for there.
In 1784 on August 26, 80 more Lnu'k men, women and children visited St. Pierre for 3 weeks, enroute to Baie d’ Espoir to settle. Similar reports dot the Immigrating Nation’s peoples’ records throughout the 18th century. A century when they attempt to differentiate us from our Pi’tawkewaq relations, concoct tales of our hostility to the Pi’tawkewaq and begin saying we are only “visitors” and transients from Unama’kik and not aboriginal to the area.
Speck actually postulates 1801 as a possible date for the time when according to the stories he was told, some Pi’tawkewaq were adopted into our families. Indeed long before the world heard about the capture of Demasduit and the killing of her husband, our people knew of it in Miawpukek. Oral history tells us how that when Demasduit was being forcibly kidnapped in front of her people, her husband approached the Peytons with a raised branch. He said his people and our people along with the whites were like the three limbs of the branch. The three limbs of the branch lived together. He asked if two of the branches, the English and Ln'uk could be free and live together, why couldn’t the third branch, the Pi’tawkewaq, also be allowed to be free to liive the same way. The white storytellers of course turned that branch into a large club and gave it as an excuse to kill him.
In the Council Minutes for Cape Breton dated September 9th, 1794, at Sydney (Cape Breton Island), there is the following note:
“Lieutenant Governor informed the Board that on the evening of the seventh instant [September], he received information that nine Indian families were arrived in this harbour [Sydney] from Newfoundland. His regard for the inhabitants of Sydney induced him immediately to require a watch and warden of six men to be assembled. One Louis Christoph, who seemed to be a principal person amongst them, said that he was a Native Indian of Cape Breton, that he left the Island ten years ago [in 1784]. That two years since his father died on this Island [Cape Breton? Newfoundland?], that he is now returned in company with nine families consisting of 60 persons, 17 of which are grown, that they have brought with them some dry fish, furs and featehrs to sell, that it is their intention to become residents on this Island [Cape Breton] and they pray for such assistant (sic) as the Governor, if you please, to grant them to enable them to begin their hunting. He further says that they are descended from the Native Indians of this Island [Cape Breton]. That their place of residence in Newfoundland was the Bay St. George, and that there are ten other families, relations of the Indians of this Island, intending to come here next spring. Old Indian Tomma and two of his sons declared that they knew the father of Christopher (sic) very well and they believe the whole, which had been related by Christopher. Joseph Tomma said that he went last year  to Newfoundland and prevailed upon these families to come with him to this island [Cape Breton]. And on being asked at whose request he did this he replied that it was at the request of his father, Old Tomma. Then said on behalf of the Indians they all desired to be considered as neutrals who intended to fold their arms on all wars between England and France and that they hoped none of the subjects of England would be suffered to inhabit lands around Lake George [a branch of Bras d'Or Lake in the centre of Cape Breton]”.
And in some church records in St. Pierre are the following records:
Jacques Heli baptized in St. Pierre. His mother brought him from Conne River.
Jacques b. 08/11/1784, né 08/10/1748 Baie du Désespoir (Terre-Neuve) de Jean et mère INCONNUE, p. CABOSSE Jacques, m. LE ROI Joséphine
De? et Isabelle DOUCET, Marie-Josette b. 08/11/1784, née 20/09/1784 à la Baie du Désespoir (Terre-Neuve), p. TROYNA Guillaume, m. LOPE Joseth.
When Saqamaw Maurice Lewis arrives in Miawpukek in 1815 (at age 13) there are only two families living here, the Jeddores. (Holy Cross Annals). One of these would have been Peter Jeddore, father of Nicholas and a direct male descendent of Saqamaw We’jitu and maybe Saqamaw Isidorius.
there was a very large population of our people in Lap
Charles A. Martijn writes in a letter from Quebec, 24 February 1997 and reproduced here in its entirety.
Last week I came across the following article, in French:
ROUSSEAU, Jacques, 1962: <<Le dernier des Peaux-Rouges>>. Les Cahiers des Dix, No.27, pp.47-76.
It is about the Beothuk. In it the author includes as an appendix a letter written on 10 November 1819, by a French naturalist named Auguste-Jean-Marie Bachelot de la Pylaie, who carried out botanical studies on the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, and also in the St. Alban’s and Conne River area. I thought that its contents might be of interest to you.
He had gone to Bay Despair [Baie du Desespoir), Newfoundland, Miquelon on a small boat owned by someone called Brittaut [or Brillant, the name is difficult to decipher in the original letter, according to a footnote by the author, M. Rousseau]. The botanist met two canoes of Mi’kmaq in “Chipkow” [St. Alban’s, which in those days was called Ship Cove, according to Father Pacifique in his 1934 article on Mi’kmaq place-names in Newfoundland, p.143. Pacifique gives the Mi’kmaq name as Gomig”]. The botanist noted that one of them was a chief [name not provided] who had been married by the parish priest of Saint-Pierre to a Mi’kmaq woman [also unnamed] from Bay St. George, after the woman he originally wanted to marry decided against it at the last moment. Could this have been Maurice Lewis, do you know?
The botanist mentions going to Conne River, which he calls “conne”, and which he derives from a French word La Corne the Horn. [It may have been just a guess on his part, but perhaps he was right. Do you know anything about this? Had there been Frenchmen previously in that area? He describes the church as standing alone, larger than the other buildings (apparently square in shape?), and as being built on the alluvial terrace at the mouth of this inlet called La Corne. He states that the Indian cabins (“cabanes”) were abandoned and open.
The botanist also recounted a story told to him by Brittaut, the sailor who had brought him over from Miquelon. It appears that the father of this Brittaut (or Brillant) had once come in his boat to Bay Despair [end of the 18th century?]. He met there an Indian who came aboard and presented him with some small game. In return, the father gave him some bread and “firewater”. When night came the Indian went back ashore. He fell asleep intoxicated on the beach and was drowned when the tide came up. The next day some Indians came on board to question the father about what had occurred. They examined the body together. The Indians kept repeating: “Brother, he is dead”. Briffaut’s father finally made some kind of disparaging joke which his hearers did not appreciate. [It is given in Latin as “anum confla istius, ut resurgat”, the exact meaning of which escapes me (“He choked on his own vomit”)]. The Indians then fashioned an enormous “trumpet” out of birch bark and made a loud noise with it. [This sounds like the kind of “horn” or “megaphone” Eastern Canadian native people still use to “call” moose). It was heard by other Indians who were camped at Chipkow (St. Alban’s). Everyone came over in their canoes (the figure of 200 is given, but whether by this he meant canoes or people is not clear). The father said that the atmosphere was tense. No doubt the people were upset and indignant about what had happened. Next day he was allowed to leave and to return to Miquelon. I guess you can read several things between the lines. Do you know of any oral tradition about this incident?
As well, the botanist speaks of a person called Louis, whom he declared to be the Mi’kmaq chief at St. George’s Bay. This must have been Louis Gougou, who is named in several archival documents, including the parish registers of Saint-Pierre, and at one point had a Naskapi youth working for him (SEE: T. Pierronet. 1800: <<Specimen of the Mountaineer, or Sheshatapooshshoish, Scoffie and Micmac Languages>>. Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Serie 1, Vol.6, pp.16-33, Boston. (At p.16)]. Louis Gougou is described as wearing an embroidered costume, with epaulets (shoulder-pieces), and was said to have accumulated money. Also, because of his frequent association with French and English fishermen, he was described as having European manners. His house was made from wooden planks, European-style, and he possessed some items of furniture. He had the reputation of being a good carpenter for building boats, and his schooner, which he had constructed himself, was said to be worth 1000 French francs. He played the violin, but in an inhabitual way, and did so at Indian dances.
Mi’kmaw oral history also says Birchy Island/Point in Gomig was a sacred place for our people. It was the place our women went to bear their children.
The church described would have been the first churches built in Lapite’spe’l. Mi’kmaq have a long history of building churches. It was always a demand the local priest made of our people.
In a letter dated July 30, 1822 by Rev John Walsh, Bonavista, he gave excerpts of a conversation with a Mi’kmaw woman at Trinity. They were from Cape Breton. They had a chief in Cape Breton. They have a priest in Cape Breton. 20 years ago…Mi’kmaq in Unama’kik send to Quebec for priest, and Bishop say; “You build chapel, and me send you priest, so we build chapel, and den we get priest”.
In 1822 records show the presence of a non native family across the gut from Conne River at a place still known today as “Collier’s”: According to Henry Camp in his report on the salmon fishery, 1873, “This fishery [at Conne River] appears to have been granted to Samuel and John Collier, by a Naval Captain in the last century and sold by them [with] their other establishments and fishing rooms to Messrs. Newman & Co. In 1822 [Michael] Collier holds it from Newman & Co., in fact had their nets also at a nominal rent on hire” (JHA: 1874, also in Encl. of Nfld./Lab.)
In 1908 Governor Macgregor wrote that Miawpukek was “settled” around 1848: “I saw one woman of ninety years of age, Sarah Aseleka (Possibly Sarah Angelique Joe/Paul), perhaps the only Mi’kmaw of pure blood in the settlement. She was born at Bay St. George, and came to Bay d’ Espoir some three score of years ago when the Mi’kmaq first settled in this bay.
The 1950 issue of the Holy Cross Annals of St. Alban’s parish a writer writes: “It is leaned from a reliable source) that the first child was born in Conne River about 125 years ago (1825) and was baptized by a traveling priest”.
When Rev. Edward Wix visited Bay d' Espoir in April of 1835 and noted that near Conne River were ``the wigwams of two Indian families of the Banokok tribe, or Six Nations, from Canada.'' (Nfld. Ency.)
While Wix was here, he also consecrated the Mi’kmaq burial site at Weasel Island.
On that visit Wix also “… met with an interesting Indian, (Saqamaw Jean Michel Agathe) from Conne River, five miles hence; his ascetic acts, and acts of real humanity, had acquired for him a character of holiness, and a great influence over his tribe. He was, at this time, under a self imposed vow, not to break silence during the Fridays of Lent: accordingly, though the arrival of strangers was, of course, most exciting, and might have been expected to throw him of his guard, he exhibited a degree of impassiveness and of nervous control (as he lay smoking his short blackened pipe, with his feet towards the central fire,) which were quite wonderful. I really imagined that the man was dumb. His imperturbability was the more surprising as he had it in his power, I found afterwards, by merely opening his mouth, to have exposed an act of rascality which had been practiced upon him by a person present, who, had he left, as he was expected to have done, before dawn the next day, might have escaped detection.
Later that same year on August 8, Bishop Fleming Bishop Fleming visited Miawpukek but only found 28 people here. He had expected 2 to 3 hundred, but someone (Wix) had told them a priest wouldn’t be coming and they left the area. At the entrance of the Conne River, “Imagine to yourself, he writes, “a large collection of tents, irregularly placed, constructed of long poles stuck in the ground, and which, coming together at the top are tied with birch strips, the whole kept in a circular form by means of hoops inside and covered with the bark of trees, such is the Indian Wigwam. At the entrance of the river, a sandbank runs across, leaving barely room for a vessel to enter the basin and on this peninsula bank are set those conical tents or Wigwams. At our approach, the inhabitants fled, but having on board the vessel a banner on which a cross was displayed, I immediately had it displayed on the masthead, and the confidence of that tribe was restored, they returned from the woods and their joy at seeing us manifested itself in a thousand innocent extravagancies”.
“This tribe consists of 72 people, the simplicity of their manners is truly interesting and the piety, the air of recollection which they show in their devotions, their attachment to their religion, their veneration for its ministries are edifying in the extreme”.
In 1851 Gisborno mentions that at Jipu’ji’j (Little River) there lived a white trader named Robert McDonald, married to a “squaw” (Mary Rose Basque).
In 1853 when William Barnes settled in St. Veronica’s there was already a Mi’kmaw family living on cleared land in the area. This was the family of Noel Mathews, who still has land at Indian Point just outside the community and for which Mattis’ Island/Point was named. James P. Howley surveyed the Matthews’ land in 1888.
Incidentally Peter Jeddore remembers that Howley used to come to Miawpukek almost every Se’tta’newey Kekina'muo'kuom Day (St. Ann’s Day). Howley could speak Mi’kmaw and liked to sing hymns along with the people. “He was in Conne. He used to go along, make no odds, we meet, he talk Mi’kmaq. Wouldn’t say an English word. Talk Mi’kmaq all time. He used to wear a whisker about that long. Heavy bearded man. He come from…He live in St. John’s, see. He used to come here see. Most every St. Ann’s Day he come. Visit we see. And he wus ‘long with old people singing see. He used to sing to.”
A census in 1857 states “Conne River seems to be the largest. Census stats show the following Mi’kmaq populations: Conne having 57 Indians. 24 males and 28 females in Codroy. 1 male and 2 females in Quirpon and Cape Norman. 1 female and 3 male in Gander Bay.
On July 21, 1860 Saqamaw Maurice Louis succeeded Saqamaw Jean Michel Agathe. When Saqamaw Maurice received his leadership from Second Grand Chief at Sidney, NS. Ktaqmkuk officially became a district of its own, the 8th district within the Mi’kmaq Grand Council.
On June 10 1862, according to the news from wandering Indians it was supposed that about the second of January 1862 in the woods about 12 miles from civilization, that nine persons perished from hunger. A funeral service was held for these persons in Sandy Point, Bay St. George. They are: Francois (Matthews?) aged 48; Marie his wife aged 46; Their children three boys and four girls: Marie aged 26, Julienne aged 13, Christine aged 3, Etienne aged 16, Francois aged 8, one boy no name, one girl no name. They were all Indians. A brother of the father brought the news. There are many tales of such an incident centered on an area known to our people as Scaffold Hill.
In 1863 the Royal Gazette reports there was a permanent, resident, white European population in Baie d Espoir) by at least the 1860s and it was reported in 1863 “people here are generally very comfortable. Large quantities of wood and timber are being got out of St. Pierre.... Deer have been plentiful since November, and large numbers have been killed by the Indians” (Royal Gazette: Feb. 12, 1863 in Encl. of Nfld./Lab).
In 1864 the first burial ground at Miawpukek was consecrated. Up to this time, our people buried our dead at Weasel Island. 1951 Holy Cross Annals, page 51
Saqamaw Noel Jeddore, our traditional Saqamaw, who was forced into exile by Fr. Saint Croix, was born December 18, 1865 at the Indian Point in Head of Baie d’ Espoir. His father Nicholas Jeddore and family owned the land in that flat area below Foodland.
The economic relationship of the Indians and Whites in Conne River was described in 1868 when a fisheries officer reported that the Indians “numbering about fifty... earn their livelihood by cutting wood, making hoops and staves and hunting. The skins etc. are bought by an Englishman and sent to St. Pierre by schooner.” The officer also reports that the salmon. Fishery station owned by Newman and Hunt had produced from fifty to seventy barrels of fish (JHA: 1868; 1869). (Encl. of Nfld./Lab).
In 1869 a census reports 22 families in Conne, 5 whites married to Indians. 8 male Indians in Codroy Ship Cove first appears in the Census in 1869, with a population of 39. Murray began his first exploration. 1 Indian in Lamaline.
The Census, 1869, reports that there were 88 Indians at Conn River and five whites married to and resident among them. The population of Baie d’ Espoir (which meant other sites within the bay excluding Miawpukek and Ship Cove (Gomig – Qunqwej) and not the whole bay itself) is reported at 43. Ship Cove appeared in the 1869 Census for the first time. It stated a population of 39.
In 1869 in preparation for establishing our reserve Alexander Murray compiled a list of the names of people who would be potential recipients for grants of land at Conne River. The names on that list were: Maurice Lewis, Joseph Bernard, Mathew John, Bernard John, Nicholas Gidor (Jeddore), Peter Gidor (Jeddore), Daniel Boombou (Bumble), Daniel Berntim (?), Mathew Brazil, Joseph Brazil, Lewis John, Beneheimen (Benjamin) Lewis, Noel Joe, John Michial (Mitchell), Solome Bobit, Edward Bobit, Noel Lewis, Joseph Lewis, John Burke, George Benet (Benoit), Peter Strait (Stride), John Mikitonal (Mac/McDonald), Joseph Paul, Peter Joe and Peter John. (This information, from Murray’s notebook, copied by Robert Cuff, November 1998)
May 27 - 1870 - Minutes of the Executive Council note "a grant of land [be given] to the Indians of Conne River, Bay d' Espoir; - The Council concurred in the propriety of the application and referred the matter to the hon. Surveyor General with the view of carrying its object into effect”.
The names that appeared on the land allotments of the reserve in 1870 were: Stephen Joe (1); Saqamaw Joe Bernard (2); Common (3); Noel Matthews (4); Nicholas Jeddore or Joseph Jeddore (5); George Hoskins or Noel Jeddore (6); Bernard John (7); Ellen Stride (8); Nicholas Jeddore (9); Stephen Jeddore (10); John McDonald Sr. (11); Louis John Sr. (12); Peter Stride (13); John Denny Jeddore (14); Peter John (15); Louis John Jr. (16); Stephen Bernard (17); John McDonald Jr. (18); William Drew or Peter John (19); Matthew Burke (20); George Collier or John Benoit (21); Benjamin Benoit (22); James McDonald by permission of Chief or John Hinks (23); Edward Poulette (24); Noel Louis or Reuben Louis (25).
The several non-natives that appeared were either in a relationship with Mi’kmaw women or as in the case with James McDonald, in a financial relationship. James McDonald was hired by Nicholas Jeddore to do the books for his sawmill business. The area around Plot #23 is still known today as McDonalds’.
Nicholas Jeddore had three wives, Mary Jane McDonald, Margaret Lewis and Mary Ann Benoit. Mary Ann was the widow of Benjamin Frank Joe and it is to Nicholas and Mary Ann that a majority of Miawpukek Mi’kmaq traces their ancestry.
When Miawpukek reserve was established in 1870 the census noted 22 families in Conne, 5 in Ship Cove, 3 in Head of Bay, 1 Head of Conne, 1 in Burnt Woods and 1 in St. Veronica’s.
In 1871 Capt. Malcolm, fisheries on the HMS Danoe mentions that some 20 Indians live at Conne River. Head of Bay d’ Espoir had a population of 40. “There is a settlement of Indians; their number varies, as they are often changing their abodes, sometimes 20, at others not over three families. There is one white family settled here. This place has some little trade in furs, hoops of casks, fancy wood, hay, herring and salmon”.'
Vincent Paul Benoit, brother in law to Nicholas Jeddore along with Paul’s son Lawrence shows up at Head of Baie d’ Espoir in 1871 near where Nicholas lived. Their family had a farm where J and G store is now located.
On October 3, 1872, the year Canada was born, our people are being reported as “… very saucy the past three or four years; some one has been telling them they have exclusive right to both land and water in Conn, in fact they have a license to hold the south side of Conn, about two and a quarter miles in length and thirty-three chains deep. (Cuff: as reproduced in Journals of the House of Assembly 1873, p792).
In 1875, two years after the Wounded Knee massacre in the USA and a year after Gabriel John Sylliboy of Unama’kik, who would later become the first Mi'kmaq Grand Chief to be elected to his lifetime position, was born, census records show 12 families in Conne, 8 in Ship Cove, 3 in Head of Bay, 1 Burnt Woods, 1 St Veronica’s and 1 St. Joseph’s.
1875 saw the start of survey for cross Newfoundland railroad. The Mi’kmaq hired as guides from Miawpukek were, Stephen Jeddore, Frank Bernard, Peter John, Noel Bernard, Joseph Bernard, Noel Louis Sr., Noel Louis jr., Edward Poulette and John Barrington.
A road at the east end of the reserve got its name and is called to this day, after the wife of John Barrington – Mary Hawco’s.
Between 1876 and 1914, the caribou population in Ktaqmkuk was nearly decimated by non-natives. As a result much of the Mi’kmaq culture relating to the dependence on caribou was lost. A new culture would replace it centered on the moose, which were introduced to the island in 1885.
In 1880 the first permanent settlers, the Organs, arrived in E’se’katik (Cock-n-Hen/St. Joseph’s Cove).
Peter Jeddore reported in an interview in 1967 that when he was born in 1882 our people still lived in Wikuoml (Wigwams) and that these Wikuoml were located at St. Ann’s Point and Sandy Point.
The 1891 census showed the following population umbers for the Lapite’spe’l area:
1891: Great Jervis 91 Stanley's Cove 27, Birchy Cove 7 Quilliere 7, Bay du Nord 42 Bay du Est 38, Goblin 22 Lamble's Passage 41, Ship Cove 178 Head of Bay 70, Conne River 77 Aaron's Cove 15, Little River 10 Diamond Point 5, Bramble's Head 32 Raymond's Point 36, Fox Island 15 Harbour Galley 9, Patrick's Harbour 17 Scouce Cove 10, Green Point 7 Sugar Loaf 7, Island Cove 3.
The 1894 McAlpines Directory listed the following heads of household of Miawpukek:
Benoit Benj, Benoit George, Brazil Joseph, Burke Matthew, Drew Henry, Jedhore N'chlas, Jedhore Joseph, Jedhore John D, Jedhore N'chlas, Jedhore St'phn, Jedhore Newell, Joa Stephen, John Bernard, John Peter, John Bernard, Lilly John, Louis Reuben,
McDonald John, McDonald John, Michael Peter, McDonald Thos, Straight Peter,
1898 was reported as having a very severe winter. Extreme glitter. There was a very large caribou migration from Tolt to Conne River and west to Burgeo and many Caribou killed on roads in the community of Conne.
The population of Miawpukek in 1904 according to McAlpine’s Directory were: Benjamin, Benoit John, Bernard John, Bernard Joseph, Bernard Stephen, Burke Matthew, Collier George, Collier John, Collier Michael, Collier Samuel, Collier Thomas, Collier William, Drew William, Inks (Hinks) John, Jeddore John, Jeddore Joseph, Jeddore Nichols, Jeddore Noel, Jeddore Stephen, Joe Peter, Joe Stephen, John Louis, John Peter, John William, Louis Rueben, Matthews John, McDonald William, McDonald Frank, McDonald George, McDonald J SR, of Thos, McDonald James, McDonald Jn, of Jn, McDonald John JR, McDonald Robert, McDonald Samuel, McDonald Thomas, Morris John, Strait (Stride) Peter.
When Governor William McGregor visited Miawpukek in 1908, he listed the following inhabitants of our First nation:
Head of Family Family Condition of Members of Family.
Stephen Joe 05 Self, wife, 3 children.
Stephen Bernard 05 Self, mother. 3 children.
Noel Matthew 15 Self, wife, 11 children.
Nicholas Jeddore 06 Self, wife. 3 children.
Noel Jeddore 09 Self, wife; 7 children.
Bernard John 02 Self, wife.
John 06 Self; sister, a brothers.
Joseph Jeddore 03 Self, wife, 1 brother.
Stephen Jeddore 07 Self, wife, 6 children.
John McDonald, Sr. 02 Self, wife.
John D. Jeddore 02 Self, wife.
John McDonald, Jr. 07 Self, wife, 5 children.
William Drew 04 Self, wife, 2 children.
Matthew Burke 04 Self, wife, 2 children.
John Benoit 09 Self, wife, 7 children.
Ben Benoit 12 Self, wife, 10 children.
John Juks 07 Self, 6 children.
Edward Poullett 04 Self, wife, 2 children.
Rueben Louis 04 Self, sister.
Thomas McDonald 04 Self, wife, 6 Children.
Peter Joe 05 Self, wife, 3 children.
John Martin 03 Self, wife, 1 child.
Total Mi’kmaq on the reservation 133.
Living, off the Reservation were-
Head of Family. Family. Condition of Members of Family.
William McDonald 8 Self, wife, 6 children.
Gone to Glenwood.
Lewis John 5 Self, wife, 3 children.
Peter John 1 Self.
Louis John 1 Self.
Living on the Reservation 123
Living near the Reservation 8
Gone from the Reservation to Glenwood 7
The first School in Miawpukek opened on January 17, 1908. Ann Matthews was first teacher. She was replaced with Michael McDonald (taught for 12 years. 1923) by St. Croix who subsequently appointed only English teachers. Ann went to New York and trained as a nurse. She later worked as nurse on the Restigouche reserve in Quebec.
When John Kendell became the first white settler at Lynch Cove early in the 1900s, he purchased land to establish a sawmill business from a Micmac (Mi’kmaw) woman, Jennifer Hinks (Jennie Drew/Hinks), then living at Conne River. Morrisville is later renamed Morrisville, after Newfoundland’s twelfth Prime Minister Edward Morris. (Encl. of Nfld./Lab)
On September 28, 1913 September 28. First mission held at St. Ann’s Church by two redemptorist Missionaries, Rev, Daniel Holland and Rev. Jos. McCandlisk.
In 1914 Speck recorded Mi’kmaw trapping areas in Ktaqmkuk, referred to as “Ntuylwomi” by the Mi’kmaq.
On July 26, 1919 a year after the League of Indians of Canada was founded and a scheme to centralize Mi’kmaq in NS first arose and a year before Duncan Campbell Scott, Head of Indian Affairs in Canada, would state...”I want to get rid of the Indian. Our object is to continue until there is not a single Indian in Canada that has not been absorbed”, Saqamaw Gietol (We’jitu) Noel Jeddore was blessed as Saqamaw by Rev. P. F. Adams and Rev. S. St. Croix, PP.
1920 is the approximate date when a wire bridge sent by the government to Miawpukek for installation over Southeast Brook, ended up instead at the Southeast Brook in Milltown/Head of Baie d’ Espoir.
The 1921 census give the following figures:
Great Jervis, 111, Stanley's Cove, 36, Bay du Nord, 11, Goblin, 33, St. Alban's, 437, Milltown, 108, Conne River, 121, Raymond's Point, 39, Roti Point, 5, Harbour Galley, 20, Swangers Cove, 11, The Tickle, 10, Morrisville, 59, Head Of Bay, 164, Push Through, 229, Burnt Woods, 12, St. Joseph's Cove, 58, Head of Conne, 14
In 1925 Saqamaw Noel Jeddore is forced into exile by Fr. St. Croix to Eskasoni, Unama’kik. Many of his people follow him into exile, never to return to their homes in Ktaqmkuk.
In 1930 there were 27 houses in Conne. Michael John (Ken John’s), Uncle Thomas McDonald (Lucy Jeddore), Grand Father Noel Jeddore (Ricky Jeddore), Father Peter Jeddore (Tammy Drew), Uncle Lawrence Jeddore, Grandfather John Howse, Uncle Joe Jeddore (Ralph John), Uncle Noel Lewis, Uncle Paul Nicholas Jeddore, Uncle John Denny Jeddore, John Benoit (Anthony John), Peter John (Wilfred John), Abe Stride (Gerard Stride), Matt Jeddore (Leonard John), On Point [was] George Benoit, Joe Bernard, Paul Benoit, Stephen Joe and Andrew Joe; Up on the road, Mattie Burke (Gene Benoit); Cove, Joe Paul’s, John Hinks, George Benoit (Damien Hinks), Paul Benoit (Catherine Hinks), Andrew Benoit; Burnt Woods, Frank Benoit, Son of Benjamin Benoit, original owner, John McDonald and Frank McDonald. (John N. Jeddore, unpublished manuscript).
In 1932 the first moose were harvested by Miawpukek Mi’kmaq. All three was shot by Mickey John and Lukey Marshall somewhere around Jipu’ji’j Qospemk (Little River Pond) it was in the spring with snow on the ground.
Population at Colliers and McDonalds 1935
Population at Conne River 1935
BENOITT, (Reuben ?)
BENOITT, John J.
BENOITT, (Casabianca ?)
JEDDORE, John N.
JEDDORE, Paul N.
JEDDORE, John D.
JEDDORE, (Paschal ?)
BENOITT, (Ephraim ?)
BOBBETT, (Matthew ?)
DREW, John J.
BENOITT, (Laurcen ?)
BURKE, Mary (K ?)
BURKE, (Corsena ?)
Population of Burnt Woods, 1935:
HARDING, Owen, Head
HARDING, Blanche, Wife
HARDING, George, Son
HARDING, Zita, Dau
HARDING, Helena, Dau
McDONALD, Simeon, Stepson
COLLIER, Alphonsus, Head
COLLIER, Angela, Wife
COLLIER, Pauleen, Dau
COLLIER, Lorina, Dau
COLLIER, Marcella, Dau
BENOITT, Frank, Head
BENOITT, Mary, Wife
BENOITT, Jacob, Son
BENOITT, Benjamin, Son
BENOITT, James, Son
BENOITT, Francis, Son
BENOITT, Bede, Son
BENOITT, Elizabeth, Dau
BENOITT, Valentine, Nephew
BENOITT, Benjamin, Brother
McDONALD, Michael, Head
McDONALD, Alice, Wife
McDONALD, Albert, Head
McDONALD, Alban, Brother
McDONALD, Freeman, Nephew
McDONALD, Frank, Head
McDONALD, Caroline, Wife
McDONALD, Michael, Son
McDONALD, Veronica, Dau
McDONALD, Simon, Son
McDONALD, Mary, Dau
McDONALD, Agnes, Dau
McDONALD, Stella, Dau
McDONALD, Donald, Son
On June 25, 1941 Ktaqmkuk Lnu'k who left home to work overseas in the forestry left for overseas on the S.S. Burgeo; 84 in number:
0176, Larry Paul, Badger
0812, Gregory John, Conne River,
1352, Louis John, Glenwood, Home Guard
2580, Albert McDonald, Burnt Woods, Conne River
2582, Michael Francis McDonald, Burnt Woods, Conne River, Home Guard
2583, Luke Marshall, Conne River
3322, John Benoit, Conne River (Joined up in Corner Brook), Home Guard
3347, John Drakes, Conne River, Home Guard
3348, John Joe Drew, Conne River, Bay d 'Espoire
3351, Joseph Hinks, Conne River, Home Guard
3361, John Nicholas Jeddore, Conne, Bay d' Espoire, Home Guard
3362, Michael Joe, Conne River
3363, William Joe, Conne River
3364, Lewis E. John, Conne River
1945 is the approximate time when Vincent Hynes brought first motor vehicle into Miawpukek. This was also the first vehicle in Baie d’ Espoir.
In 1953 the population of Conne is 300 souls. We have a Post Office and a two-room school. Agnes Collier (now Agnes Benoit) is Principal, Ethel Dollimont (now Ethel Joe) is her assistant. There are 50 students.
In 1961 movies come to Miawpukek. Freddy Willmott starts showing movies in Aunt Bec’s old house.
In 1963 Diesel generated electricity is provided to Miawpukek.
In 1965 the new St. Ann’s school opens.
In 1966 the population of Miawpukek is 432.
On August 18, 1967 in an article in the Evening Telegram, Peter Jeddore, Unofficial Saqamaw of Miawpukek, speaks out issues on behalf of his Miawpukek Mi’kmaq.
On May 22, 1972 Miawpukek is incorporated as The Local Improvement District of Conne River. In March Melvin Jeddore and Martin Jeddore go to Assembly of Nova Scotia Indians to see what’s available from government for Mi’kmaq communities.
On March 24, 1973 the Conne River Native Council was formed. On Nov 19. At meeting in Conne Joe Rousseau announces Conne River “recognized” as Native community by NLSD, opening door for federal funds to be spent in the community.
July 27, 1975 saw the official opening of Conne River sawmill.
In 1976 the population of Miawpukek is 526. Children have to go to St. Alban’s to complete high school.
Hourly wages Conne River Native Enterprises: Manager 5.25, Millhand 3.00, Logger 3.00, Carpenter 3.25, Secretary 2.75.
In June 1977, Saqamaw Billy Joe acknowledged by community as Traditional Saqamaw, filling a position last filled by Saqamaw Noel Jeddore.
In 1979 the first graduating grade twelve class from St/ Ann’s School.
1980 Populationn Stats:
St. Alban's, 1968, Conne River, 588, Milltown/Head of Bay, 1376, Morrisville, 233, St. Joseph;s Cove, 145, St. Veronica's, 99.
December 23, 1982, traditional Saqamaw William Joe and Elder Martin Jeddore killed in automobile accident. Martin Jeddore was one of the first organizers of the Miawpukek Mi’kmaq.
January 7, 1983 Saqamaw Mise’l selected as Traditional Saqamaw.
April 21, 1983, Thursday. 31 Mi’kmaq occupy Joe Goudie’s office (8:15-11:30 AM). 23 face charges.
April 22 to April 30: The Fast (Hunger Strike).
June 28, 1984. Miawpukek Mi’kmaq are registered under the Indian Act as “Indians” under Orders-in-Council P.C. 1984-2273 and P.C. 1984-2274.
December 11, 1985. Federal cabinet agrees Miawpukek to be officially recognized as reserve. Province is reluctant to agree and serious discussions do not begin until November 1986. We are notified officially on Feb 4, 1986. Reserve established June 25, 1987.
1986. Miawpukek Tribal Police organized, first as a “Security” force for First Nation.
Fur prices 1987: Beaver $12 to $35; Otter $20 to $70, Red Fox $15 to $45, Cross $30 to $75.
April 12, 1988. The “Troubles” (“The Politics”) begin.
June 13, 1990: 24-year-old Shayne McDonald elected as Administrative Saqamaw of Miawpukek and the “Troubles” finally come to an end.
June 4, 1992: Geraldine Kelly, daughter of Traditional Saqamaw Billy Joe, elected as Administrative Saqamaw.
June 4, 1994.Traditional Saqamaw Mise’l reselected as Administrative Saqamaw.
August 2, 1994: Shayne McDonald, First and only aboriginal lawyer of Miawpukek and Ktaqmkuk called to the Newfoundland Bar.
October 1996. Tammy Drew graduated as CGA.
June 1999. Miawpukek Sawmill closed down.
July 1997. 1st Annual Miawpukek Powwow.
December 1999: Registered Indian Population Miawpukek - 2034.
April 21, 2001. Miawpukek Pride christened as Miawpukek First Nation embarks on a new business enterprise in the fisheries.
May 2001: Population as per 2001 census: 860 people.
(c) Phil Jeddore, 2003